Although it’s true that there is presently no scientifically-proven method to cure tinnitus, researchers are hard at work to uncover one. In the meantime, a number of tinnitus therapy options exist that can afford significant relief.
Think of it in this way. If you have a headache, you take Tylenol in spite of the fact that it doesn’t “cure” your headache. Pain relievers merely make the pain fade into the background to ensure that it doesn’t impact your day. Similarly, tinnitus therapies can help lower the intensity of symptoms so that your tinnitus has minimal impact on your daily life.
Since every person responds to tinnitus in a different way, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment. You’ll have to work with your provider to determine the option that works best for you.
Here are some of those options.
Tinnitus Treatment Methods
If you are suffering from tinnitus, you’ll want to examine the following treatment options with your hearing care or healthcare professional.
Treatment of the underlying problem
Although the majority of cases of tinnitus are not curable—and result from hearing loss or other non-reversible injury—some cases are caused by an underlying physical ailment. You’ll want to rule these out prior to pursuing other treatment methods.
Possible physical causes of tinnitus include jaw joint issues (temporomandibular joint, or TMJ dysfunction), excessive earwax or other obstructions in the ear canal, head and neck injuries, and responses to certain medications.
General Health And Fitness
The degree of tinnitus symptoms can fluctuate depending on overall health. Taking actions to enhance general wellness is, therefore, one thing tinnitus patients can get started on immediately to reduce the severity of symptoms.
Every patient is different, and what works for someone else might not be right for you. The idea is to try out different activities to discover what is most effective.
Strategies that have revealed promise include instituting a healthy diet, getting adequate physical exercise, meditating, and participating in activities like bicycling, which can cover up the sounds of tinnitus.
Tinnitus is frequently linked to hearing loss and hearing damage. In response to reduced stimulation from outside sound, the brain goes through maladaptive changes that generate the perception of tinnitus.
By strengthening the magnitude of environmental sound, hearing aids can help mask the tinnitus, making the sounds of tinnitus less recognizable. Hearing aids in addition provide elevated sound stimulation to the brain, which is thought to be neurologically beneficial.
Sound therapy is basically the delivery of sound in the form of white noise, pink noise, or nature sounds to lower the perceived burden or intensity of tinnitus.
Sound therapy functions by masking the tinnitus and also by teaching the brain to recategorize the sounds of tinnitus as insignificant. This dual effect can reduce the short and long-term severity of tinnitus.
Sound therapy can be provided through special tabletop devices, but also through portable multimedia products and even through hearing aids. Medical-grade sound therapy uses individualized sounds that match the pitch of the individual’s tinnitus for the best results.
Remember that tinnitus is the perception of sound in the brain when no exterior sound is present. The ailment is, for that reason, very subjective, and each person responds differently.
In fact, whether or not the individual perceives tinnitus as life-altering or as no-big-deal is predominantly as a consequence of emotional reactions and not to the intensity or pitch of the tinnitus. That’s why cognitive/behavioral solutions to tinnitus therapy have been demonstrated to be exceptionally effective.
Several therapies exist, including Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction (MBSR) and Tinnitus-Retraining-Therapy (TRT), which blends cognitive-behavioral-therapy with sound therapy.
While there are no current FDA-approved medications for tinnitus, antianxiety and antidepressant prescriptions are commonly used to treat the behavioral responses to tinnitus. These medications do not appear to influence tinnitus itself, but may offer much-needed relief if deemed appropriate by your doctor.
The search for a tinnitus cure is ongoing. Many experimental therapies are in development or evaluation and new approaches become available every year. If your tinnitus is severe, and you’ve experienced little benefit from existing therapies, you could be a candidate for one of these innovative treatment options.
Visit the Experimental Therapies page at the American Tinnitus Association website for more information.
Obtain Relief For Your Tinnitus
Tinnitus is being aggressively researched, with brand new findings and potential treatment options reported every year. Even now, there are a variety of encouraging treatments that, while not providing a cure, can offer significant relief. You owe it to yourself to check out these options, stay positive and persistent in your tinnitus care, and work with your provider to adjust your treatment plan for the greatest results.