Tinnitus in Germany

General situation:

In Germany we know that there are more than one million people suffering severely or very severely from Tinnitus and that every year there are 270,000 additional cases of chronic Tinnitus.

Experience has shown that the probability of a recovery follows the rule the sooner the treatment begins the better and that, at the onset of Tinnitus, the appropriate treatment should be the same as that for sudden hearing loss. Hence the primary treatment of acute Tinnitus is to stimulate the blood circulation by means of infusions to improve the oxygen delivery to the inner ear (by a plasma expander with cortisone and/or lidocain). To keep the patient away from any private or job-stress situations during this time treatment in a hospital, as an in-patient, is advisable, except in those cases where the stay in the hospital would be the stressor.

Up to now there is no proof whether a success is due to the stimulated blood circulation or to a soothing, tranquil surrounding and a doctor's empathy. If failing to succeed sometimes treatment in a barometric chamber is beneficial which is often used as the primary treatment in cases of noise-induced trauma.

Of course a number of diagnostic procedures will be run along with this "first aid" measures to find out the possible cause of the Tinnitus. This check should include the cervical vertebras and the temporomandibular. The costs of all medical treatments, and even some alternative ones, are normally covered by either the national health insurance or by private insurance companies. The oxygen therapy in a barometric chamber (HBO) is not accepted by the insurer.

In Germany a three to six months period is considered to be the time frame in which a certain chance for a cure or an alleviation seems possible. Of course with a decreasing tendency as time goes by. After this time Tinnitus is considered to be chronic.

The treatment of chronic Tinnitus is mainly a psychosomatic one. At present there are more than 30 clinics, that in all can treat approx. 8,000 Tinnitus patients per year (by stationary treatment for at least 3 weeks). The national health insurance will cover the costs if they have a contract with the clinic. These achievements are the result of many years of hard work of the DTL. Nowadays the clinics and DTL are in close contact for mutual information and consultation.

Meanwhile, the TRT (Tinnitus-Retraining Therapy) is applied by approx. 75 TRT-teams but often as a neurophysiological based management with a special concept.

In Germany the application of maskers for Tinnitus suppression has never reached the importance it should have, as it has or had reached in Britain. The professionals are very reluctant to prescribe and offer masking devices. Despite this, after a long struggle, DTL has achieved that the insurers accept masking as a therapeutic means and agreed to contribute to the cost up to approx. 400 EUR under the condition that the device is prescribed by an ENT-practitioner, has been used and tested over a period of at least four weeks and has proved beneficial. Principally, this applies to TRT masking, too.

For information about Deutsche Tinnitus-Liga e. V. please click here



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