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Tinnitus Treatment

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Tinnitus is the term used to describe the condition of having ringing, buzzing, or noise in the ear or originating from the head. The word tinnitus is Latin and literally means ringing.

Treating the Cause

Tinnitus can be caused by many things, and is usually a symptom of an underlying condition. The treatment for your particular tinnitus will depend on the condition that is causing it, the severity, any accompanying issues such as hearing loss, and the impact the tinnitus has on daily activities.

Common causes of tinnitus include:

  • Stress and depression
  • Hearing loss
  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Earwax buildup or blockages
  • Abnormal bone growth in the ear
  • Meniere's disease
  • Head or neck injuries
  • Benign tumor of the cranial nerve

In order to find out the root cause of your tinnitus, your physician or audiologist will conduct a complete history, as well as a complete examination.

What Treatments are Available?

Depending on the cause of your tinnitus and other factors, several treatments are available, including medical options as well as alternative therapies.

A common treatment is acoustic therapy or sound therapy. Sound therapy makes use of sounds to help the brain re-focus and diminish the emotional impact of the tinnitus.

  • Address the problem: If your tinnitus is due to earwax build up, medication or infection, they’ll recommend the proper course to resolve the issue. This may include removing the earwax, checking with your physician about switching medications or whether antibiotics would help. Medications may be an option, especially if they are used to treat an underlying condition and relieve its symptoms. However, no medications have been approved specifically for the treatment of tinnitus.
  • Hearing aids: Hearing devices are incredibly helpful in treating tinnitus. Even if a hearing loss isn’t present, hearing aids can be equipped with tinnitus-masking features that help cover the tinnitus and offer relief from the unwanted noise.
  • Sound generators: If your tinnitus isn’t as severe or only experienced at night time, a white noise machine, fan or other sound generator may be ideal for helping you find relief. These sound generators produce sounds to help draw your attention away from the tinnitus noises you hear.
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): TRT is an example of a type of therapy designed to help individuals with tinnitus find relief. This therapy involves retraining your mind to block out and hear certain tones, which in turn, helps to ease the symptoms caused by tinnitus.
  • Behavioral Therapy: Your physician or audiologist may also suggest a referral for psychological treatment or support, as tinnitus can be life-changing and hard to deal with, especially when it is a chronic problem. A tinnitus support group may also be of help.

After treatment has taken place, further maintenance is important. This may include management of associated health problems or ongoing therapies to support health and manage tinnitus.

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For more information on this topic, please refer to the Tinnitus Overview