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How is tinnitus treated?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Doctors usually aim tinnitus treatments at finding the root cause of the problem. If your tinnitus is caused by a blood vessel disorder, for instance, doctors will treat this disorder to treat the tinnitus. However, it is fairly common for doctors not to be able to find the source of the disease. In this case, doctors treat the disorder by trying to minimize symptoms. Doctors might recommend that you use a hearing aid-like device that produces quiet "white noise" sounds, like rain falling, to help you concentrate. They might also give you medication to try to reduce the annoying noise you hear. Additionally, doctors may recommend that you try to manage your tinnitus with alternative treatments, such as avoiding things that make the tinnitus harder to deal with, staying away from drinking and participating in stress management.

Research has shown that there's about a 50/50 chance that hearing aids will help treat tinnitus in people with hearing loss who wear hearing aids. Tinnitus is a very common problem for people with hearing loss. Often there's concern about whether wearing hearing aids will make tinnitus worse, or make it better, or have no effect. What research has shown over the years is that if a person has tinnitus and hearing loss, there's about a 50/50 chance that he or she will get some relief from tinnitus when wearing hearing aids. That means there's a 50/50 chance that he or she won't get any relief from tinnitus by wearing hearing aids, but it's certainly worth a try. Just remember that tinnitus is a perceptual problem that is most likely originating in the brain and not in the ear.

Dr. David M. Vernick, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT Specialist)

When tinnitus has a physical cause, it can often be relieved with surgery or other treatments, like antibiotics to fight an ear infection or removal of impacted earwax. But the main treatment is counseling to assure people that tinnitus is not dangerous and to help them cope with the symptoms. Coping strategies can reduce stress and help individuals learn to relax. While there are many “cures” advertised, none of them show benefit when evaluated in a double blind controlled study.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Tinnitus is associated with B12 deficiency. Learn what you can do to alleviate tinnitus in this video with Dr. Oz.

Tinnitus is persistent ringing, whistling, chirping, hissing or humming in your ears that may come and go—or never stop. About 10 to 15 percent of adults have tinnitus.

Masking the ringing with pleasant sounds, such as low music, white noise, tabletop fountains or even ambient noise from a hearing aid, can make a huge difference—as can treating the stress and depression often caused by severe tinnitus.

Tinnitus sometimes signals other problems, such as jaw disorders. Eliminating them may eliminate tinnitus.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.