P049: REDUCING TINNITUS-ASSOCIATED OTALGIA WITH ULTRASOUND-GUIDED OCCIPITAL NERVE BLOCKS
Colby Skinner, MD; Sanjeev Kumar, MD; University of Florida Department of Anesthesiology
Tinnitus, the perception of sound in the absence of a corresponding stimulus at the cochlea, is often associated with otalgia. Occipital neuralgia may play a role in the development or worsening of tinnitus and otalgia. Tinnitus and otalgia can become highly disruptive to patients’ lives and can lead to depression and anxiety.
In this retrospective chart review case series we sought to assess the benefit of ultrasound-guided occipital nerve blocks for tinnitus-associated otalgia secondary to occipital neuralgia in 33 patients in an academic interventional chronic pain clinic. Each patient was asked to rate their ear pain on a self-assessed numerical rating scale (NRS) from 1 to 10 both before and after receiving an ultrasound-guided occipital nerve blocks. The majority of patients experienced an improvement in both their tinnitus and associated otalgia, with some patients experiencing long-term relief.
Ultrasound-guided occipital nerve blocks are generally well tolerated and associated with few potential serious complications. Given the low risk of ultrasound-guided greater occipital nerve blocks, we propose that greater occipital nerve blocks appear to be a valuable treatment method for otalgia associated with tinnitus.