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

However, it can be extremely frustrating, and 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? While tinnitus can have a hugely negative effect on your life, there are tinnitus treatments that can help you to either minimise the sounds or even eliminate the tinnitus sounds entirely.

Understanding tinnitus

What is tinnitus? Tinnitus is when you hear sounds in your ears or head that no one else can hear and that isn’t caused by any external source. Tinnitus can sound like hissing, whooshing, whistling or buzzing sound or it can feel like a pulsating sensation.

Tinnitus can vary in intensity and volume, while for some people the sounds can come and go, other people can experience the sounds continuously. Tinnitus is not a condition in itself, but a symptom of some other underlying condition that’s been produced in the auditory system. Some people can experience tinnitus in one or both ears or it can feel like the sound is in their head.

Causes of tinnitus

To be able to find an effective tinnitus treatment, you will need to find out what is causing it. It can sometimes be difficult to find the exact cause of tinnitus, but some 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 have tinnitus and wondering can tinnitus be treated, the good news is there are treatments available that may not necessarily cure your tinnitus but can help to significantly reduce your symptoms. Some tinnitus treatments include:

Tinnitus sound therapy

Sound therapy uses external noises to help mask the disturbing tinnitus sounds. This could be specialised ear masking noises, white noise, low-level music or you can create your own customised 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 a device similar to a hearing aid that produces noise to mask the tinnitus and psychological therapy to help you manage your anxiety and refocus your mind away from the tinnitus.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of counselling 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.

Relaxation

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 treatments. 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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