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Tinnitus and SSRI’s

Question:

I had extreme anxiety and had been taking Zoloft for years. It started making me feel sick and so I weaned off of it. Since then I have developed severe anxiety, jaw pain, tinnitus, neck, shoulder and upper back pain. I mean PAIN! I have tight, ropey muscles with many trigger points. I am really wanting to go back on Zoloft but I have read that it could make my tinnitus worse. It is a lot quieter than when it first started and it terrifies me of it getting louder again. I take a half a mg. of Clonazapam every day but I have built up a tolerance to it and it is not longer helping my pain. What are your thoughts on SSRI’s and people who already have tinnitus taking them?

Answer:

Dear Ms. Chapman,

Prior to getting back on the medication I suggest that you discuss your symptoms with your PCP.  There may be natural alternatives that work just as well for you that would not have as many side effects.  Doctors are not typically trained in non-pharmaceutical alternatives, so see who he would recommend you see if he is not.
It would also be prudent to have a physical therapist review your jaw, neck, shoulder and upper back pain, as those things in themselves may be exacerbating the tinnitus.  If you do decide to return to your medication be sure to do so under your physicians care, and watch for side effects along the way.
If you need further assistance let me know.  I’m here to help.

Dr. Barbara Jenkins, BCABA

Advanced Audiology, Inc.
Hearing and Tinnitus Center

 

Write a Letter to My Tinnitus – What Do I Write?

Question:

You asked me to give my Tinnitus a name and to write you a letter describing my feelings as if I was having a conversation with my Tinnitus…if I remember correctly. Please clarify what I am to write. Also, I came across an article recently that talked about many of the things you explained to me about my tinnitus. I would like to share it with you if you would be interested in reading it. I have been doing a lot of research trying to figure my tinnitus out…which led me to you. I so much appreciated the way you explained things to me in terms that I could understand. Thank you. Vern

Answer:

The letter is for you to express emotionally and mentally how your tinnitus has affected you and your life.  In the letter I would like you to write the low points that you think your tinnitus caused, and the effects that you think it is having (or had) on your life.  The letter should be just a few paragraphs, but I really put no limits on it as too short or too long.

We will use the letter in your next session with us, to help deconstruct its emotional ramifications and to understand the tinnitus more clearly.
Now…I would like the information that you have acquired, but I do not want you researching tinnitus any more.  Every second that you think about it and research it – you are telling your brain that the tinnitus is the most important thing in your life at that moment.  Very strong tinnitus reinforcement.  Not a good thing…
My best, and blessings,
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

 

Tinnitus coming from the neck as hissing

Question:

I am now 65 years old and have had tinnitus for about 8 months. It seems to be coming from my neck — not my ears. My ears hear it, but it comes from the neck, sometimes inside of the head, and when it comes it sounds like hissing or wind blowing. It comes and goes. Sometimes I don’t hear it at all. Other times it is terrible. I was not exposed to loud noise, have no physical impairments, no surgeries. I just noticed one day that my ears were sensitive and the next day I woke up to hissing in both ears. I would love to get rid of it. Unfortunately, I have misophonia, not hyperacusis. I used to live in an apartment where my neighbors were 2 young men who listened to heavy metal with a loud bass, so I cannot tolerate loud bass.

But, right now I want my tinnitus to be solved. I look forward to hearing from you.

I have tried acupuncture, been to doctors, and don’t have a hearing loss. It’s just a hiss — hiss — and when I wake up it’s at its worst or during stress.

Can you help me? I hope so. I look forward to hearing from you.

Teresa

Answer:

Dear Theresa,

I hope that I can help you, but to do so I would have to see you as it is almost impossible to diagnose the underlying causes, triggers and exacerbating factors associated with your misophonia and tinnitus.  Have you contacted a specialist in your area?
Both issues can be treated.  The success is based on your physiology and compliance to any program.  I am not sure where you are located, but hopefully it is not so far as to prohibit you from a visit.
My best, and I hope to hear from you soon,
Dr. Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

What are your thoughts on notch therapy?

Question:

Was wanting to get your thoughts on notch therapy. I know Signia offers a hearing aid with notch therapy. Does any of your patience use this type of hearing aid, if so what have the results been.

Thank you.
Rex Gellinger

Answer:

Dear Mr. Gellinger,

Notch therapy is best used for patient’s with tonal tinnitus (tinnitus that sounds like a pure tone or high pitch).  The device is of very good quality for both speech clarity and the science behind notch therapy is sound.  I have used this device on at least a 100 patients for hearing and found it to be very solid for the right patient.
If you and your audiologist think that this is the best treatment for you then I suggest it.  Just remember that sound therapy is only a part of the tinnitus protocol, not the entire treatment.
My best, and best of luck!
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

Is it safe to take Omega 3 fish oil without it causing tinnitus?

Question:

Is it safe to take Omega 3-fish oil to reduce inflammation and joint pain without it causing tinnitus.?Is there a safe dosage?

Regards,
Brent Redstone

Answer:

Dear Mr. Redstone,

If you take a good naturally sourced Omega 3 with no fillers, it is just like eating a lot of fish, and should help tinnitus by improving your overall health.  I have never seen a case where Omega 3 caused or exacerbated tinnitus.  I like Life Extension products as they are one of the most pure formulas at a very reasonable price.  I recommend only purchasing directly from them, however, to assure they have been handled well with minimal storage.  Use the dosage recommended on the bottle or by your PCP.
My best,
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

 

What is the general price range for hearing aids?

Question:

I’m looking at our budget for next year and wondering what price range hearing aids might fall into.  I know you can’t be precise till a particular model is selected, but it would be helpful if you could tell me a general range I’m likely to encounter.  Is that possible? ~ Anonymous patient

Answer:

Hearing aids range in price from $6375 for the most advanced (per pair), which includes all services, evaluation, fitting, etc.  The low end of the new technology runs $2975 per pair, services included.  There are three levels in between these.  There is an even lower range of $2,375 or less, but then you are getting into older and more limited fidelity.
When selecting which to get, I always suggest you get the best you can afford.  You will be hearing out of these devices for 4 to 7 years or more, and you don’t want to compromise if you don’t have to.  Each level up has a faster more precise computer configuration, affording better hearing in noise, etc.
I hope that this helps you,
Have a blessed Christmas, and we will see you next year!
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

Rapid Elevation Decent and Sudden Onset of Tinnitus

Question:

My wife had a sudden onset of tinnitus while on a June, 2014 tram ride in Colorado in a rapid descent from 11,500 to 10,000 feet. It has been loud, screeching, 24/7 tinnitus since and she cannot sleep without zolpidem. We strongly suspect that her tinnitus was caused by some inner ear trauma (barotrauma?), a suspicion strengthened by her history of chemo and radiation therapy for breast cancer during 2009-10. All the experts we have spoken to thus far want either to treat TMJ (she doesn’t have this), do sound masking or give her Neurontin. Is it possible to find a solution to the core problem of barotrauma-induced tinnitus?

Answer:

Dear Mr. Stringham,

I’m so sorry for the difficulty you and your wife have had trying to get to the bottom of her tinnitus.
Her tinnitus was most definitely triggered by the decent, but here are most likely a combination of factors contributing to her chronic  tinnitus.  As soon as we find out which are in play, a solution for remediation can be developed. It would be best if she could come for a visit to our office so that we could better discern the underlying cause and contributing factors.  There are many treatments that may reduce her tinnitus, and it sounds like the sooner the better for your wife.
Call our office to see if there is an appointment soon that will work with your and your wife’s schedule.  I would definitely like you here as well if possible.
My best to you both,
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

Is tinnitus or hearing aids covered by any insurance?

Question:

Is tinnitus or hearing aids covered by any insurance and do you accept insurance for tinnitus or hearing aids?

~Rodger

Answer:

Dear Mr Glick,

Our tinnitus consultation is not covered by any insurance.  It is $285 for a 45 minute consultation with Dr. Jenkins.  If you need a hearing evaluation, that part is usually covered by all insurance.  Check your benefits to see if you need a referral from your physician first, however.
Hearing aids are covered about 15 to 20% of the time, and each insurance agency will have so many plans it is impossible for us to say.  It’s best for you to call the number on your card and ask.  If they say that you do have insurance we will get prior approval and verification as needed.
Call our office if you have more specific questions regarding your particular needs.   303-649-2122.  We hope to have the pleasure of seeing you soon.
Sincerely,
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

Vets Through Chocolate Bar Sales

Question:

Hi Dr. Barb,
Time for batteries for Pats hearing aides.
Just wondering if you are still sponsoring the Vets through the chocolate bar sales.
A Great program says my taste buds.
Dan Meinerz
President, Dr. Barbara Jenkins Fan Club

Answer:

Howdey Dan!

Just call with your credit card for the batteries if you want us to send them, or stop by and get “Chocolate” at the same time.
We usually start the “Support a Soldier” program November 1 through April due to melting issues other months.  We have the chocolate now though, so were planning on putting it out next week anyway.
Say “hi” when you are in.
Blessings,
Barbara
President, Dan Meinerz Fan Club 🙂

I have had tinnitus in my ears constantly for three months.

Question:

I have had tinnitus in my ears constantly for three months. It might be getting worse, I do stress about it. Went to an ears nose and throat doctor that was recommended highly, and he told me there was nothing I could do for it. I do not have hearing loss, or loss of hair. This is something that I do see living with for the rest of my life. I am sixty four. I haven’t been ill, I have no idea why it started. Cherie Dodds

Answer:

Dear Ms. Dodds,

There is always something that can be done for tinnitus.  He may have meant that there is nothing that HE can do for it.
If you are able to get to the Denver area, we could do full assessment to see the underlying causes, triggering factors and options for best treatment or remediation.  If you cannot get to the office I would like you to find a true tinnitus expert in your area so that you can get relief sooner rather than later.  There are so many causes and treatment options that each patient I see each day may end up with a different treatment plan.
If all else fails, we may be able to do a phone consultation.  They are never as good as in person, but they are a lot better than not getting the help you need.
By best and God’s blessings,
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA