Ketamine Therapy Provides Hope for Tinnitus Sufferers

Tinnitus (Chronic “Ringing in the Ears”)

In our experience, early treatment may be critical. The results of ongoing research indicate that Ketamine is most effective in individuals who have experienced onset of Tinnitus within the previous year.  We have seen approximately 25% of patients treated with Ketamine have had beneficial results.

To the millions of Americans who suffer from Tinnitus, a constant low or high-pitched ringing in the ears, it is more than an annoyance. Tinnitus is a psychological and emotional assault on the senses that taxes and exhausts those with this disorder. It can affect sleep and concentration, and can inhibit the ability and desire to interact socially.

Until now, Tinnitus treatments have focused on helping sufferers cope with the condition. Cognitive behavioral training is used to learn how to tune out the sound, and physical therapies help individuals learn to manipulate the pitch and tone of the ringing by clenching the muscles around the neck and ear. Standard medication therapies, in general, are minimally effective for Tinnitus relief.

However, recent Ketamine treatment studies show results that can help some Tinnitus patients.

Tinnitus sufferers usually have damage to McKusick hair cells inside the ear, or have damage along the auditory nerve pathways. This is often the result of traumatic injury, either from a single loud auditory event such as an explosion, or from ongoing exposure to loud sounds. It can also be a result of physical trauma to the ear, middle ear infection, or ear pressure variation injuries from activities such as scuba diving. Veterans are at particular risk for Tinnitus, as are individuals who work or play in loud settings, and who don’t wear proper ear protection: industrial journeymen, musicians and their fans— even people who attend children’s birthday parties. Audiologists have determined that the sound impact of balloon popping at close range is as loud as the sound of a gunshot.

The brain does not receive complete sound information after damage to the ear structure, so instead of interpreting lack of input as nothing, it fills in the gaps with continuous sound. The ringing is a form of auditory static.

Based on work in the 1990s, French researchers demonstrated that Tinnitus occurs after damage to the ear that causes an increase in the number of NMDA receptors in nerve cells inside the cochlea. Ketamine blocks NMDA receptors, and in two large studies, over half of the patients treated with S-Ketamine injected directly into the ear experienced significant improvement in their Tinnitus symptoms, with these beneficial effects lasting several months. Our program uses a modified version of this therapy, using four, five, or six slow IV infusions of Ketamine over a two-week Period.

If you are one of the one in five Americans who suffers from Tinnitus, you may benefit from this innovative new treatment. The Arizona Ketamine Treatment and Research Institute (AKTARI) offers Ketamine-based therapy that could restore quality of life and, hopefully, silence. Contact us or call us at 480-626–2727 for more information.

It seems the more severe the tinnitus, the better it works, because many of the same problems—pain and phantom noises—can predispose to depression and PTSD.

Dr. David E. Potter, Chairman of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Texas A&M University’s Rangel College of Pharmacy

We think that depression, pain, and tinnitus use multiple (but similar) neurological mechanisms, so it makes sense that you would need to use multiple drugs that act at multiple sites in order to control these conditions.

Dr. David E. Potter, Chairman of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Texas A&M University’s Rangel College of Pharmacy