Monday, April 07, 2008

Tinnitus Treatment and Therapy FAQ

· What do you think of neuromonics?

I don't know. It seems to have identical results that I've experienced with using iPods and mp3 players. It just seems spendy to me. Why not use the iPod/mp3 player for the same period and see if that does the trick. (It probably will.) You can always utilize more expensive therapies later. I like to stick with what I know works.

· Should I have the ______ surgery for my tinnitus?

Before doing anything that can give you permanent the things that work. Except for tumor removal, I have never seen a client that needed surgery, experimental or otherwise, for tinnitus alone. It simply is a risk that is not likely necessary.

I wouldn't let anyone with a knife or needle near my head to "treat" tinnitus. Other things you bet. You have to dig all the way to the superior auditory cortex to get to the tinnitus for most people....

· What do you think of Xanax? Will I become addicted? Will it get rid of my tinnitus? Does Xanax cause tinnitus?

Did you know that your doctor can't prescribe Xanax to treat tinnitus? No can do. It's for treating anxiety which can be easily caused by tinnitus. Make sure you get that straight. Don't ask your doctor for a medication she can't prescribe for the wrong problem...Xanax is for anxiety.

For me, it was a miracle drug. It saved my life. (Me and thousands of others.) Took several months to "kick in" for me personally. Five or six. For most people I've worked with it takes about 1-3 months, and that makes sense. If a person has severe tinnitus or hyperacusis and there are no contraindications, it's the most logical starting point. One study shows about 3/4 of people using Xanax experience almost a halving in the noise volume at the end of the third month of usage. That's faster, on average, than any other option you have right now. It mirrors my experience with clients....I've read of addiction, devastation and destruction. I've yet to see it in thousands of clients. If you have profound tinnitus, Xanax (and medications like it) will probably save you from something far worse than the remote possibility of addiction.

Xanax doesn't appear to directly cause tinnitus to reduce in volume. What appears to happen is Xanax reduces the fear response and causes the body to be calm (or even tired). That calm "state" or "response" is ocnditioned to the tinnitus and eventually there is no need for the brain to attend to the sound. It becomes background and more often than not, the volume comes down as a secondary and not a primary effect.

Don't ask your doctor for Xanax for your tinnitus. She can't do that. Xanax is for anxiety reduction. Read that sentence again. Then your doctor can prescribe safely (for her, not you). Don't ask your doctor to do something that could get them in trouble. Xanax is for anxiety reduction.

Could you become addicted? I wish it would have been a consideration for the brother of one of my clients. Both had severe tinnitus. Their doctor wouldn't prescribe Xanax, the noise became so horrifying the man committed suicide. The woman (my client) went to bat for herself and worked with another doctor and me. Today she is almost completely silent. The risk of addiction is almost zero, the danger of suicide for many is ever present. And as noted earlier, Xanax without a support system, especially friends, family, medical... will help, but be realistic. The human animal needs connections with others and tinnitus takes time...and compassion. Addiction: As soon as my first client in 11 years has experienced it, I will announce it here.

Caveat: Whenever a doctor prescribes a medication to be "taken as needed," then you have the birth of potential addiction. Xanax should be taken regularly and consistently so addiction doesn't stand a chance.

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