Tinnitus is a hearing condition where you 'hear' sounds in your head that do not come from external sources. Sufferers list a range of different sounds, from buzzing, whistling, ringing, hissing to humming and it can range in severity in terms of sound and frequency. It can affect people of all ages, and also affects those that work in very noisy environments. The late Cilla Black suffered from tinnitus and always claimed it was from working as a hat check girl at Liverpool's Cavern nightclub in the 1960s.
What are my tinnitus treatment options?
Current treatment options are aimed at helping the sufferer to live with the condition. These include relaxation techniques, complementary therapy, counselling, sound therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT). Until now, tinnitus has been considered an incurable condition but a drug treatment breakthrough could soon be with us.
The charity Action on Hearing Loss recently identified five drugs aimed at treating hearing conditions such as tinnitus that are nearing the final stages of clinical testing. The new drugs are aimed at treating some types of tinnitus and also hearing loss associated with middle ear infections, loud noise exposure and anti-cancer drugs. It is thought that drugs could be available by 2020.
Chief executive of Action on Hearing Loss, Paul Breckell made this comment on the potential drug breakthroughs: “Currently 10 million people in the UK have a hearing loss, which will increase to 14.5 million by 2031. Remarkable progress has been made bringing us to a point where there are a number of promising new treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus being clinically tested – drug treatments are within touching distance.”
Many people live with tinnitus on a regular basis without treatment, but for some it can cause annoyance, distress and greatly impact on your ability to lead a normal life. During your consultation with ENT specialist Julian Hamann he can outline the treatment options that are available now to deal with this challenging ear condition.