Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing sounds that are not really there. If you are one of the nearly 50 million Americans in Cedar Park and around the country who suffer from this symptom, you know how annoying it can be. So, can light therapy be a good tinnitus treatment option?
Patients with tinnitus report hearing a wide variety of sounds, such as a ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing. The sounds can also in pitch from low to high.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Damage to the hair cells within the inner ear is the most common cause of tinnitus. The hair cells move in response to the pressure of a sound wave. When the hairs move, an electrical signal is sent through the auditory nerve to the brain, where it is interpreted as sound. If the hairs become damaged, they can randomly send electrical signals to the brain. The brain will interpret these signals as sounds, even though there is no external sound actually present.
The hair cells can be damaged by age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noises and earwax blockage. Other less common causes of tinnitus include:
- Meniere’s disease
- TMJ disorders
- An injury to the head or neck
- Acoustic neuromas
- Blood vessel disorders
More than 200 drugs are known to list tinnitus as a side effect. The most common drugs are antibiotics, cancer medications and diuretics.
Your audiologist will need to complete an audiological exam, a movement test and imaging test in order to determine the cause of your tinnitus. If no cause is identified, your audiologist will put together a tinnitus treatment plan focused on reducing the severity of the tinnitus and helping you cope with the noise.
Light therapy has been used for some time to treat a number of conditions, such as acne, psoriasis and depression. Recently, some doctors have been using it as a treatment for tinnitus. There are two kinds of light therapy: low level laser therapy (LLLT) and colored light therapy (CLT).
LLLT uses laser energy to help repair damaged tissue and rejuvenate cells so they return to their healthy state. The laser light is able to stimulate the mitochondria inside your cells to produce energy.
Colored light therapy is used to treat the bothersome noise associated with tinnitus. Staring at specifically tailored colors, usually blue, red and green, has been proven to help patients find relief from their symptoms.
To learn more about tinnitus treatment and if light therapy may work for you, contact your Cedar Park audiologist.