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Category Archives: Ear / Hearing

Serenity System Tinnitus Treatment

UPDATED: New treatment for tinnitus around the corner?

Those suffering from tinnitus are often desperate for a solution.  Hence, the reason why there are so many radio commercials advertising vitamins with lipoflavinoids to help “cure” ringing in the ears.  While lipoflavinoids have been shown to stabilize neural membranes, they have not been shown to be the cure for these patients.  Enter Microtransponder, a UT Davis spinoff company, researching a potential new treatment, Serenity System.


After an implantable neurostimulator device on the vagus nerve in the neck is performed, the Serenity System software therapy sessions with headphones can “re-train” the brain to essentially ignore the sounds of tinnitus.


Here is a video from Microtransponder’s research partner, UT Dallas, describing VNS for Tinnitus.  (NOTE: There are high pitched tones played in this video)

Keep your eyes out for updates on this interesting technology.  But the question remains, if you have tinnitus would you actually be willing to have surgery and an implanted nerve stimulator to treat it?
UPDATE: The NIH study has launched.  Volunteers are being recruited for testing this technology in a clinical trial.  The centers include the University of Texas at Dallas, University at Buffalo in New York and the University of Iowa. A fourth center will be announced later.  Further details of the clinical trial for tinnitus treatment and information to possibly sign up can be found here!

Please comment below your opinions!



5 Tips to Stop Itchy Ears

There are a variety of reasons someone may have an itchy ear.  Some should definitely see an Otolaryngologist and need medical therapy, and some are just being annoyed by their symptoms.  Many do come to me with what I call the “Itchy Ear Syndrome”, with complaints of itchy ears without any significant pathology as cause.  In my opinion this is caused by dryness and inflammation of the ear canal skin, and allergies can play a role.  While a good ear examination should be pursued to make sure there is no medical disease requiring further attention, here are some tips that might just help to keep away the itchiness.

  1. “Nothing smaller than your elbow in your ear”.  Your grandmother was right.  Avoid Qtips, fingers, pen caps, or other “items” to clean or scratch your ear.
  2. Keep water our of your ear.  You can make homemade ear plugs made from cottonball and vaseline or purchase the putty-type which are waterproof in pharmacy.
  3. Don’t use peroxide or other OTC products to clean the ear.  These may dry out the ear canal skin or even cause a reaction at times.
  4. Aquaphor to avoid dry canal skin.  A gentle moisturizer can be used to help with dry skin which causes itchiness.  I have had patients with ezcema-like conditions of the ear canal not only use in on their ear, but on other parts of their body.  Many have said it helped their skin condition better than the expensive prescription their dermatologist ordered.
  5. Use anti-itch cream rather than your fingernail.  A mild steroid cream can be used during those really bad “itchy times” instead of using a Qtip or your finger.  This includes the “vigorous ear massage maneuver” that despite not being inside your ear canal, causes just as much irritation.

If you are not having relief with these tips, please seek consultation with your local ENT to make sure there is not a medical problem brewing.

Products mentioned above can be found at your pharmacy or online:


Macks Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs Value Pack, 6 Count


Aquaphor Healing Ointment Dry, Cracked and Irritated Skin Protectant, .35 oz Dual Pack



Cortaid Maximum Strength 1% Hydrocortisone Anti Itch Cream – 1 Oz

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