Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, can be one of the most frustrating medical conditions for people to live with. One in six Americans suffers from this syndrome, which when left untreated can lead to sleeplessness, depression and social isolation. While there is no cure for tinnitus, relief is now available in the way of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. This breakthrough treatment is offered by the expert medical team at Advanced Ear, Nose & Throat Associates in Atlanta, GA.
Is Your Condition Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a serious medical condition and not just a natural byproduct of the aging process. The ringing in the ears that marks this condition is not actually being “heard” by the ears. Instead, the uncontrolled sound is being generated deep within the individual’s brain, often without any genuine logic or consistency regarding loudness, pitch or duration.
It is important to remember that tinnitus is rarely a “stand-alone” disease. More often, the ringing is a symptom of another physical or behavioral disorder, many of which are highly treatable. Some 16 million Americans experience enough severity from their tinnitus that they seek medical treatment.
What Causes Tinnitus
Aging, of course, takes its toll on all parts of the body and is a leading cause of both tinnitus and hearing loss. In at least 50% of cases, the ringing of tinnitus is accompanied by some level of diminished hearing. However, the list of potential sources for tinnitus is extensive.
The simplest causes can be easy to remedy. These range from an excess of ear wax, which can be removed, or grinding of the teeth at night (bruxism) that can be remedied by a corrective dental tray. More complicated causes include long term damage that has been suffered around the neck, skull or jaw, among other locations. A full examination by an ENT (ear, nose throat) expert will correctly identify the source and lead to the correct treatment.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
For situations where practical measures cannot or do not bring relief from tinnitus, auditory experts are now able to create customized, long-term solutions that let people live freely and comfortably with their condition. Utilizing a combination of wearable technology, artificial intelligence software and decades of neuroscience research, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) can bring blessed relief to those that suffer from tinnitus.
TRT is a medically-supervised process that employs miniature hearing devices that are discreetly worn by the individual. These “hearables” are programmed to transmit an intelligently selected noise back to the individual’s own auditory system. This new “tone” is designed to suppress the unwanted tinnitus sound within the brain’s auditory centers, training the brain to work around the problem itself.
Why It Works
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) is able to work because of the “plasticity,” or adaptability, of the brain’s neural pathways. The human brain has the remarkable ability to adapt and change itself and its neural connections over time and through certain stimulations. The goal of TRT is to literally change the brain so that the noise is suppressed and ignored and the patient is no longer bothered by it.
These specialized devices work like hearing aids but perform more advanced auditory tasks. Working together with the ENT expert, the patient programs the character of the modulated sound that’s being sent back to the brain. From there, the brain’s auditory circuitry is trained, or hacked, if you will, to suppress the unwanted noise. Some of these hearables are designed to also help restore hearing loss, while others feature algorithms that are solely used for the Tinnitus Retraining Therapy.
Several specifics of the modulated sound, including the pitch and the volume, can only be programmed by the patient, as he or she is the only one that can hear the offending ringing noise. Working with the ENT expert, the selected tone is then mathematically transformed and sent back to the patient’s auditory system, where it has been treated by a complex algorithm that’s been based on many decades of clinical auditory research. Over time, the brain stops the sound from being debilitating.
Why See an Expert?
There are many reasons why tinnitus may turn into a life-altering problem. As a result, some solutions are best determined by highly specialized medical practitioners. For example, an orthodontist may be the ultimate best choice to find the right solution for teeth grinding, while an expert in jaw disorders, called a prosthodontist, may be needed to help correct TMJ — temporomandibular joint syndrome. TMJ is often a major culprit behind tinnitus.
The first specialist to see when tinnitus becomes problematic is an eye-nose-throat (ENT) doctor called an otolaryngologist. These specialists offer holistic expertise regarding all the potential root causes of tinnitus and can offer the best testing and advice for next steps for a patient.
What Are My Next Steps?
Tinnitus used to be a punishing condition that people simply had to learn to live with as best they could. Thanks to advances in medical technologies and artificial intelligence software, that’s no longer the case. Today’s auditory experts can offer cutting-edge solutions for tinnitus that are effective, long-lasting and non-stigmatizing.
If you suffer from tinnitus, know that you no longer have to. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy can offer life-changing results that will bring you back to the self you want to be. Schedule a consultation today with the ENT experts at Advanced Ear, Nose & Throat Associates in Atlanta, GA.