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Tinnitus affects 12% of people over 50 years of age


Tinnitus, also called tinnitus, is defined as the perception of sound in the absence of a sound source. This may be objective when it is caused by sounds generated in the body and transmitted to the ear or subjective, caused by abnormal neural activity. "Objective tinnitus is rare, but subjective is a common disorder whose incidence increases with age, from 5% between 20 and 30 years, to 12% of those affected after 50 years of age," Dr. Bartholome Scola, Vithas International's voice and otolaryngology director, Vithas Medical Center, which has 19 hospitals and 29 medical centers in Spain.

As the expert points out, there are several risk factors for subjective tinnitus, such as hearing loss for any cause, including age, acoustic trauma, infectious diseases, ototoxic antibiotics and cytostatics.

As far as the severity of tinnitus is concerned, it is very variable and there are no objective tests that could quantify the extent of involvement outside the assessment of the person. "The patient usually refers to some discomfort when in a quiet environment, but sometimes they can change their quality of life, affect their ability to work intellectually, or prevent their sleep," says Dr. Scola.

At present, there is no mechanism of production of tinnitus and probably there are different pathological physiology. "Therefore, it is not possible to establish a unified approach and each case has to be handled individually. There are various management options that have proven themselves to achieve better tolerance and reduce discomfort."

As Dr. Scola explains, there are different ways to master tinnitus. "Occasionally, the treatment of the underlying disease that causes hearing loss relieves tinnitus, such as removal of kerumen or foreign body."

However, these quick ways to relieve tinnitus are not possible most of the time. In these other more frequent cases, management options may consist of the use of hearing aids to improve tinnitus with hearing loss in 50% of patients; tinnitus camouflage using noise generators; Tincture Rectification Therapy (TRT), which consists of a combination of treatments with sound therapy and pharmacological treatment always individually.

In addition, clinical cochlear implantation studies are currently being developed in patients with unilateral deafness and obstructive tinnitus. Similarly, cranial magnetic stimulation is in the research phase.

And although there is no therapeutic treatment today, a personalized approach can greatly improve the quality of life of the patient.

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