In this article, I will explain five possible treatments for somatosensory tinnitus. Somatosensory tinnitus is tinnitus that can be modulated by your body movement or muscle tightening.

1. Reducing muscle tension in the somatosensory areas that exacerbate tinnitus is one method to reduce or eliminate symptoms. This form of treatment is used by bite splints for TMD patients. Stretching exercises are another way to reduce muscle tension. Cervical manipulation may reduce or eliminate tinnitus symptoms for somatosensory cases. For example, if an individual has enhanced tinnitus symptoms with somatosensory enhancement of the SCM, then therapy involving decompression can help in this matter.

2. Myofascial trigger points (MTP) are points of the body that, when external force is applied, may create or exacerbate tinnitus. Historically, a local anesthetic was applied to relieve symptoms. Various therapies today isolate the myofascial trigger points in an effort to inhibit their response: laser surgery, acupuncture.

3. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) treatment aims to inhibit the neuronal response from the somatosensory area that causes tinnitus. The nonclassical auditory pathways may be inhibited by such treatment (Textbook of Tinnitus, 2011).

4. Botulinum Toxin Type A (Bot A) is a antagonist (produces an inhibiting effect) neurotoxin used in somatosensory treatments. It is administered on the site of manual exacerbation of tinnitus symptoms.

5. At-home training exercises can be used to improve symptoms by habitually repeating the somatosensory movement that causes tinnitus or exacerbates it. For example, if compression of the left temporal area causes tinnitus, an at-home training exercise involves repeated compression of the left temporal area. The neural plasticity of these exercises are similar to vestibular based rehabilitation exercises, which help compensate for functional dizziness.

Dr. Ben Thompson, Au.D.

Dr. Ben Thompson, Au.D.

Dr. Ben Thompson is an audiologist in California and founder of Pure Tinnitus. Dr. Thompson has a comprehensive knowledge of tinnitus management. He completed his residency at University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and is a past board member of the California Academy of Audiology. Via telehealth, Dr. Thompson provides services to patients with hearing loss and tinnitus.

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