About 360 million people globally suffer from hearing loss, which is the most common sensory disorder in humans. This condition is caused primarily by damage to the hair cells and neurons of the inner ear. In some patients, hearing loss results in tinnitus. Approximately 90% of cases of chronic tinnitus are associated with some degree of sensorineural hearing loss. Such patients hear sounds like ringing, clicking, buzzing, hissing, humming or roaring in the absence of any corresponding external sound.
The following causes are associated with the development of tinnitus:
|Common Reasons:||Other Physical Conditions and Diseases:||Medications:|
Age-related hearing loss
Ear bone changes
|Head or neck injuries or tumors|
Eustachian tube dysfunction
Muscle spasms in the inner ear
Problems with the temporomandibular joint
Vascular pathologies (atherosclerosis, post-stroke condition, etc.)
High or low blood pressure
Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
|Antibiotics (polymyxin B, erythromycin, vancomycin neomycin)|
Chemotherapy agents (methotrexate, cisplatin, carboplatin)
Diuretics (bumetanide, ethacrynic acid, furosemide)
Aspirin (at high doses like 8 to 12 tablets a day)
Antidepressants (fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, citalopram hydrobromide, fluvoxamine)
This video demonstrates the mechanism of tinnitus caused by a very intense noise. Due to the failed connection between the hair cells and the auditory nerve, the nerve fiber does not receive normal stimulation and starts self-stimulation, sending signals to the brain which are perceived as a whistling noise.
Current Approaches to Manage Tinnitus
Currently, there is no approved way to fully cure the perception of tinnitus in most cases. It is only possible to lessen the severity of the disease and its annoyance. Measures that improve sleep and reduce stress, and decrease caffeine and alcohol consumption help to reduce problems associated with tinnitus, such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
The following treatment strategies may help people manage their condition:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be one of the most effective treatments in reducing the distress caused by tinnitus and increasing the patient’s quality of life. Relaxation techniques and exercises as a part of CBT may also be helpful in relieving stress and decreasing anxiety, which can exacerbate the perceived intensity of tinnitus.
Medications and Dietary Supplements
Medications such as melatonin and antidepressants, in combination with conservative management, can be beneficial to ameliorate tinnitus symptoms by improving sleep and helping to minimize the emotional response (annoyance/aggravation).
There are some indications that Vitamin B12, Zinc and Magnesium may provide some tinnitus relief.
Some patients find relief by using hearing aids, specialized tinnitus maskers and white-noise generators. They can mask the phantom sound by amplifying ambient noise or generating background noise.
There are also some experimental therapies, such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), that use electric signals to mitigate the activity of brain cells, which generate the phantom noise.
Stem Cell Therapy as a Promising Approach to Tinnitus Treatment
Recent developments in stem cell technology have offered new opportunities to treat deafness. In scientific experiments, researchers have used human stem cells to restore damaged hair cells and to repair damage to the auditory nerve in deaf animals, restoring their hearing.
Based on this and other similar studies, a methodology was developed for implementation in clinical practice.
The current method of stem cell application for tinnitus is intravenous delivery and postotic injection (local introduction in the area behind the ear) of adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from different sources – bone marrow, adipose tissue, placenta, and umbilical cord. They are widely used and studied for the treatment of orthopedic, autoimmune, neurological, cardiac diseases and others due to their healing and regenerative potential.
It was shown that systemically injected MSCs preferentially migrated to the site of injury and improved recovery. They act by producing the vast array of bioactive factors (cytokines, chemokines, growth factors) that are involved in the key biologic processes, such as tissue regeneration, wound healing, angiogenesis, modulation of the immune system and others.
What Are the Expected Results?
The neuroprotective, immunomodulating and overall health-promoting properties of stem cell-based therapy can help improve the quality of life for patients with tinnitus by:
- decreasing the bothersome sound,
- improving hearing,
- relieving stress,
- decreasing anxiety,
- providing overall improvement of health status.
Patient Outcomes and Testimonials of Tinnitus Treatment with Stem Cells
Patient from Serbia, 36 years old.
Diagnosis: Tinnitus of the left ear caused by audio trauma.
Duration: 6 months.
Treatment: Donated stem cells, neurogenesis-induced therapy, additional nutrient support.
- Alleviation of tinnitus,
- No side effects.
“I was diagnosed 6 months ago with tinnitus, which was caused by audio trauma or loud noise on the lateral of my left ear and yeah, after research, I decided to come and to try stem cells in order to alleviate or to solve this problem. Swiss Medica is really focusing on trying to get you better, not just to sell you stem cells, which is a great advantage when you compare it with other stem cell clinics. Staff was great, very professional, with a lot of experience and I felt that every day they were actually trying to solve my problem, not just to give me stem cells and send me home. Yeah, I would definitely recommend stem cells. So, it’s not just stem cells, you’re getting some other nutrients, amino acids, some special medications for inducing neurogenesis and fixing the neurological problem, which tinnitus is.”
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Stem Cell Therapy Procedure for Tinnitus
Both autologous (patient’s own) MSCs or donor cells (derived from placenta and/or umbilical cord) may be used for treating tinnitus. Stem cells are infused intravenously through an IV Drip. The patient’s cells are collected under local anesthesia and then are processed to obtain specific cell products – SVF (stromal vascular fraction) – with optimal treatment properties. SVF is injected locally for a targeted impact on the problem area. Thus, the patient receives two separate injections of cell products.
To ensure the best treatment results, patients may be offered additional therapies, such as:
- Transcranial brain stimulation (MDM),
- Intracellular metabolism recovery (IMR) therapy,
- Xenon gas therapy,
- Interval hypoxia-hyperoxia therapy,
and some others (optionally).
The treatment program is customized considering the needs and health conditions of each patient. We also include consultations with specialists in neurology, neurorehabilitation, psychology, and nutrition, if required.
Potential Side Effects and Contraindications of Stem Cell Treatment
Stem cell-based therapy is usually well-tolerated by most patients, with rare local side-effects from the cell harvesting or injection procedure. Short-term fever was reported in less than 5% of patients; they recovered spontaneously.
There are certain contraindications to stem cell therapy, which include:
- presence of malignant tumors and/or life-threatening or terminal health conditions,
- previous unsuccessful experience with cell products,
- infectious disease in the acute stage,
- some laboratory abnormalities in blood tests.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as people with mental disorders and addictions, are not allowed to receive stem cell therapy.
When Can a Patient Expect to See Improvement?
About 1.5-3 months is needed for the full effect to manifest after stem cell therapy. Initial signs of improvement may be observed even 1 week after treatment. Usually six months after treatment, one can make a conclusion about the results of the therapy.
Ask our Medical Advisor if cell-based therapy will benefit you >>>
List of References
Mahmoudian-Sani MR et al. Comparison of Three Types of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (Bone Marrow, Adipose Tissue, and Umbilical Cord-Derived) as Potential Sources for Inner Ear Regeneration. Int Tinnitus J. 2017 Dec 1;21(2):122-127.
Nancarrow-Lei R et al. A Systemic Review of Adult Mesenchymal Stem Cell Sources and their Multilineage Differentiation Potential Relevant to Musculoskeletal Tissue Repair and Regeneration.Curr Stem Cell Res Ther. 2017;12(8):601-610.