Tinnitus – Treatments

Constant sounds in your head, such as a ringing or buzzing in the ears, is rarely a sign of a serious health problem.

However, it can be extremely frustrating, and when it’s at its most severe it can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. Tinnitus can make it hard for people to converse with others and affect their ability to sleep, concentrate, and even their memory.

Is there a treatment for tinnitus? The good news is that several tinnitus treatments are available that can help to minimize and in some cases eliminate the sounds of tinnitus and give people the chance to live an almost tinnitus-free life.

Understanding tinnitus

But what is tinnitus? Tinnitus is the sensation of noises in the ears that only the affected person can hear and that has no external source. People with tinnitus may hear a hissing, whistling, ringing, buzzing, or some other noise. The sensation can vary in volume and come on intermittently or be a constant presence. Tinnitus is not an illness or a disease but a symptom that’s been generated in the auditory system and is normally caused by some other underlying condition. The noise may occur in one or both ears or it can feel like it’s in your head.

Causes of tinnitus

The first step in finding an effective tinnitus treatment is finding out what is causing your tinnitus symptoms. It can be hard to identify the precise cause of tinnitus, but some potential causes of tinnitus include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Ear wax build-up
  • Ménière's disease
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Head, neck or ear injury
  • Reactions to certain medicines

The underlying cause of your tinnitus will influence how to treat tinnitus in your specific case.

How do you treat tinnitus?

If you are experiencing tinnitus symptoms and wondering can tinnitus be treated, fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options that may not cure the problem but can certainly help to minimize the symptoms. Possible tinnitus treatments can include:

Tinnitus sound therapy

Sound therapy uses external noises to help mask the disturbing tinnitus sounds. This could be specialized ear masking noises, white noise, low-level music or you can create your own customized sound. Listening to different sounds can make it easier to divert your attention away from the tinnitus sounds.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) helps you to cope with your tinnitus symptoms while teaching your brain to ignore it. TRT combines:

  • Using a device worn behind the ear to produce noise to help divert your attention from the tinnitus
  • Psychological therapy that uses deep relaxation and stress management exercises to help eliminate your anxiety so that you can focus on other things away from the tinnitus

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of counseling that can help you if you are struggling with ear sounds caused by tinnitus which are making you feel anxious. CBT helps you to understand your thought processes associated with the tinnitus so you can work on making your thoughts more positive. CBT can be used on its own or combined with TRT to help you with tuning out the internal tinnitus sounds.

Hearing aids

It’s common for people to develop tinnitus as a result of hearing loss. When you lose some of your hearing, your brain changes the way it processes sound frequencies. Hearing aids for tinnitus will amplify external sounds to improve your hearing while also masking the tinnitus sounds so your brain can just focus on the external noises and not your tinnitus.


Tinnitus can be very frustrating and even distressing to experience and the symptoms can be made considerably worse by stress. Being able to relax properly by working on your breathing is one of the best tinnitus exercises. Some people find yoga, meditation, and tai chi particularly helpful.

Tinnitus can be extremely frustrating to live with but while there is no cure, there are ways you can manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Schedule a consultation with your hearing care professional to help you find the best treatment option and an effective coping strategy for you.

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