Jefferson University Hospitals

Tinnitus

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If you are experiencing tinnitus, you know the symptoms can negatively affect your normal daily activities and cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. These symptoms can also lead to additional medical conditions, such as anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation and elevated stress. Often described as "ringing in the ears," it affects as many as 50 million people in the United States.

The first step is scheduling an appointment at the Jefferson Balance and Hearing Center to see one of our specialized otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat physicians). During this appointment you will have a diagnostic hearing test, as well as some measurements taken to identify at what pitch the tinnitus is, how loud it is and your general tolerance of sound. Your Jefferson otolaryngologist will perform a thorough medical evaluation to check for any cause of the tinnitus that can be managed medically.

Once tinnitus has been identified and measured, a Jefferson audiologist will meet with you for an in-depth tinnitus evaluation. During this time, you will learn about your hearing test results and discuss particular problems related to the tinnitus. The audiologist will design a treatment plan that may include recommendations regarding lifestyle modifications, referrals to other specialists (if needed), aural rehabilitation to address communication difficulties related to hearing loss or a more structured therapy.

There is no cure for this condition, and to date there have been limited therapeutic options in treating tinnitus. Our Center physicians understand how vitally important the ability to hear clearly has on the quality of your life. That is why our specialists stay on the leading edge of treating this condition.

In fact, Jefferson is the first hospital in Philadelphia to offer the FDA-cleared Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment. This therapy is proven to interact, interrupt and desensitize tinnitus by delivering a customized neural stimulus, embedded in clinically modified music, which engages the brain's emotional response center, the limbic system, and thereby reduces tinnitus-related disturbance.

Treatment typically occurs over an approximately six-month period, with daily use recommended for two or more hours per day, especially when tinnitus is most disturbing. It is very common to worry about tinnitus, which may cause increased stress or tension. Tension and worry can make the tinnitus worse, creating a negative feedback cycle. The tinnitus increases anxiety and the anxiety increases the perception of the tinnitus. Learning how to relax is a large part of the relief process.