Tinnitus: current understanding and contemporary management

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Tinnitus is a debilitating condition that affects a broad range of patients. Despite thorough and extensive research, the cause of tinnitus has yet to be determined. Also, there has never been a single intervention identified that can consistently eliminate the symptoms of tinnitus. However, despite our inability to ‘cure’ tinnitus, there are many medical and behavioral strategies that may result in symptomatic relief. The purpose of this article is to review some of the previous information on tinnitus and to examine the recent research on the etiology and management of this condition.

Recent findings

Recent research into the etiology of tinnitus has demonstrated that genetics plays less of a role than previously thought. Although many medications can cause some relief of tinnitus, a number of well designed studies have failed to identify a single cure. For patients with severe tinnitus who have failed other treatments, such as dietary modification, herbs and nutrients, sound therapies (tinnitus retraining, Neuromonics, masking, and others), or centrally acting medications, transcranial magnetic stimulation has emerged as a viable treatment option.

Summary

Tinnitus is a common medical complaint and debilitating problem for some patients. It has a broad range of etiologies and even more potential treatments. This review is meant to inform the reader on the current options available to treat this condition.

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