If you suffer from severe, chronic tinnitus, you would probably try anything to reduce the constant ringing or buzzing in your ears. While there is no proven cure for tinnitus caused by sensorineural hearing loss—which accounts for the vast majority of tinnitus cases—there are treatments that many sufferers have found to be effective in minimizing the impact of tinnitus. These sufferers report a reduction in the intensity and constant presence of symptoms resulting in a better quality of life.
Proven Therapies for Chronic Tinnitus
As researchers work on a definitive cure for tinnitus, the goal of hearing care providers is to address the attentional, emotional, and cognitive effects of tinnitus through a variety of therapies. Improvement for patients often requires a multi-faceted approach of general wellness, hearing technology, masking techniques, and medication. Therapies you will want to discuss with your hearing specialist include the following:
- Wellness. While a healthy diet and regular exercise can’t actually eliminate the physical causes of most cases of tinnitus, an overall sense of wellbeing can lessen the impact of symptoms. An active social and recreational life can provide much-needed distraction from the constant ringing in your head. With some activities, such as bicycling and running, wind noise can mask tinnitus and provide a period of relief for sufferers. Any activity that lowers your level of stress will have the added benefit of lessening the intensity of tinnitus symptoms. Some patients find success with techniques such as biofeedback and hypnotherapy.
- Hearing aids. The majority of tinnitus sufferers also suffer from sensorineural hearing loss. In fact, tinnitus can be a symptom of hearing loss, along with a decrease in the ability to process certain frequencies or levels of sound. For these people, the use of a hearing aid can not only improve their hearing ability, but the augmentation of external sounds can also provide relief from the internal perceived noises of tinnitus. In a recent survey of tinnitus patients wearing hearing aids, 60 percent reported some relief from tinnitus symptoms with hearing aids and 22 percent reported a significant improvement. Treating hearing loss is important for many reasons, and relief from tinnitus is one of them.
- Sound therapy. Tinnitus is a perceived internal sound and often an actual external sound can serve to mask the noise for sufferers. Depending on the sound therapy device being used, the technique is to either cover the sound in the sufferer’s head with a louder external noise, possibly a white noise, or to distract the sufferer from the internal noise with a more interesting external noise, such as music. Sound therapy devices can be in the form of headphones or earbuds, or can be a stand-alone sound machine.
- Behavioral therapy. One approach that is used with tinnitus patients in conjunction with these other treatments is therapy to address the emotional and psychological effects of the condition. By learning to control their negative behavioral responses to tinnitus, such as anger and depression, patients can lift some of the burdens that make the condition insufferable.
- Medication. For many people, it is not the ringing in their ears that is debilitating as much as the stress, anxiety, anger, and depression they suffer because of the noise. Treating these conditions with antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can remove the worst aspects of tinnitus for many patients. Medications, along with sound therapy or hearing aids, can significantly reduce a patient’s suffering.
- Experimental treatments. While the idea of experimental treatments might be frightening to some—especially when they involve deep brain stimulation or brain surface implants—those brave enough to try them could lead the way to a cure for all sufferers. Along with participating in clinical trials, some patients report improvement through acupuncture and other alternative medicine treatments.
True Sound Hearing Aid Center Can Help
Whether you are currently a patient at our clinic or are looking for new alternatives to treat your tinnitus symptoms, make an appointment at our Lakeshore Plaza office to discuss your options for tinnitus relief. Call us at 877-284-5133 or click the link on this page to get started.