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Treatment for Tinnitus

Treatment for Tinnitus

What is it?  Tinnitus (“TIN-a-tus” or “Tin-EYE-tus”, both are correct!) is the all inclusive term for sounds that are perceived to be heard but are not actually happening in the environment. Most often, it is described as ringing in the ears, but all the other sounds listed above (and more) still qualify. IT IS REAL. As an invisible symptom that can only be self reported, often times friends, family, and even physicians don’t take the condition seriously.

What causes Tinnitus? It actually isn’t considered a disease on it’s own, but rather a symptom. The most common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss, but here are many different potential causes including:

  • Hearing loss
  • Ménière’s disease
  • Loud noise exposure
  • Migraine headaches
  • Too much wax in the ear
  • Certain types of tumors
  • Too much coffee
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Head injury
  • Drugs or medicines that are toxic to hearing
  • Anemia
  • Hypertension
  • Stress
  • tinnitus

Will it go away on its own? Often times, yes. In fact, almost everyone will experience tinnitus at some point in their lives. Many of the causes of tinnitus are conditions that may resolve themselves on their own (like stress), or with medical treatment or lifestyle changes (like hypertension).

If it is chronic and does not go away, what is the treatment for tinnitus? Hearing aids are an effective treatment for tinnitus. In the vast majority of patients who seek treatment for tinnitus, it is discovered through a hearing exam that a high frequency hearing loss is present. Other treatments are also available and it is important to know that the way a person views their tinnitus has a huge impact on how pronounced it is. In other words, if a person views their tinnitus in a very negative light, as a problem that is interfering with their lives, then the tinnitus seems to be worse. If the tinnitus is “noticed” as a presence but is dismissed as not being harmful, then the person is able to focus on the everyday, while the tinnitus fades into the background. Some treatments include:

  • Biofeedback
  • Hypnosis
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Relaxation therapy
  • Counseling
  • Habituation therapies
  • Tinnitus maskers
  • Sound machines

How do hearing aids improve tinnitus? The most simple explanation, is that the act of raising the sound frequencies that were previously not being heard, covers the sound of the tinnitus. The amplified sound could also soothe the inner ear by regaining stimulation in those areas. The second method of relief is by fitting a device with a tinnitus masker feature. This is basically a noise machine in the hearing aid which can provide an array of different sounds to mask the tinnitus at the frequency and volume at which it presents, in order to soothe it. Most patients find some relief just by wearing hearing aids that are programmed appropriately for their hearing loss. While they wear the devices the tinnitus is soothed and even when they remove them, many patients report that their tinnitus is still somewhat reduced. In severe cases, some patients will wear their hearing aids while sleeping to retain the full benefits throughout the night. With today’s connectivity, many models can connect wirelessly to a smartphone, where apps are available to provide a range of treatments that can be used at the user’s discretion.

How do I begin my journey to treatment for tinnitus? Call Levine Hearing for a free screening to determine if treatment options are available to you.

Hi! I’m Madison. I’m a Hearing Instrument Specialist (like my mother). I’m  observing, learning, absorbing and sharing as I become a part of this beautiful South Charlotte Hearing community. I want to know you! So please leave me comments if  my posts are meaningful to you or teach you something new, and feel free to tweet  me at @LevineHearing!

Across from the Arboretum
LevineHearing@Gmail.com
3121 Springbank Lane Ste G
Charlotte, NC 28226
704.540.3081
More Resources:
ASHA – American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
American Tinnitus Association
Mayo Clinic – Tinnitus
WebMD – Tinnitus

18 thoughts on “Treatment for Tinnitus

  1. Hello Madison,
    I am 61 years old and have tinnitus. It started few years back and it is getting a little on the aggressive side. I have hearing loss in both ears (50 and 10 %).
    I use CPAP machine for my sleep apnea and that helps my sleep at night.
    Also, followed lots of the recommendations on how to manage tinnitus through exercising, acupuncture, massages, reducing caffeine, no ibuprofen, CBT counseling and other recommendations that I read on line and Drs advises.
    It really helped for a while until about a month ago it is continuously active to the point that it is affecting my day to day life and performance.
    Still trying hard to ignore it and pushing back to make it less bothersome.
    Your advise it highly appreciated.

    1. Hello! I am so glad that you have reached out. My first question would be whether you have treated your hearing loss with hearing aids? This along can give you a marked improvement in your tinnitus symptoms. If you have not, it would be interesting to just try some on the office to see what immediate impact it may have.
      It sounds like you have really pursued a lot of options, even including CBT counseling. Have you tried TRT (Tinnitus Retraining Therapy) yet? If you email me at Madison@Levinehearing.com I can answer your questions further. Thank you for your comment!

    1. Hi Boris, If you have not seen an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor- ENT) then I would recommend starting there. Ringing is not necessarily and issue on it’s own but chronic pain merits an evaluation by a Doctor. Even if you came to my office for a hearing or tinnitus evaluation, I would request that you follow up with an ENT because of the pain.

  2. I have hearing aids, but the mystery noise I have; I still hear it with my hearing aids…I am wondering if the ENT and audiologist I go to in Concord, NC knows what they are doing. No one has even tried to help me with my mystery noise.

    1. Hi Cheryl,
      It is possible that this mystery noise is tinnitus, which can present as many different types of sounds for different people. It can be perceived as ringing, buzzing, static, air, beeping, singing and any other number of sounds. For many, hearing aids along are helpful in reducing the tinnitus, but some people need to pursue more help. We would absolutely be happy to see you in our office to evaluate and help you.

  3. I am a cochlear implant recipient, and suffer from tinnitus. It seems to be effecting me during the day. I will be hearing normal ( I have about 95% hearing in my implanted ear and the other ear is deaf), but the tinnitus, I will get a bad ringing in my ear. My hearing will be come hollow sounding to me and everyone sounds like they are talking through megaphones. I am not sure how to remedy this problem. I have spoken to my doctors and audiologist at CEENTA and have not really gotten anywhere. Anything you can tell me to help me have you heard of anything like this before? Also as you might of guessed I am in Charlotte also.

  4. I never knew that too much coffee or caffeine could bring on the symptoms of Tinnitus. My son has been saying he has some of the symptoms of Tinnitus and he drinks a few cups of coffee each day while he is working. I will certainly let him know about these facts while he looks for the cause of his symptoms.

    1. Hi Brendan, I am glad that you found the post. Hopefully, the tinnitus is caused by something so simple, as it often is! It would be the first place that I would start. Thank you for sharing with him!

  5. Tinnitus and hearing loss frequently occur together, but not always. Today’s technology experts have engineered innovative ways to address both problems, either together or individually, with excellent outcomes.
    The first step is to contact a Hearing Instrument Specialist for an evaluation.

  6. Great article! I have a little bit of ringing from riding my motorcycle (even with earplugs). Good to know that there are options for treatment.

  7. Wow…Madison, I know of several people that hear this ringing in their ear from airplanes and loud machinery. Thanks for writing this, I’ll be sure to send it their way!

    1. Thanks for commenting 🙂 Sometimes the ringing from those causes go away with time, but in other cases the permanent damage can only be soothed or masked but seeking some type of treatment.

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