What is the medical treatment for tinnitus?
Treatment for tinnitus depends on the underlying cause of the problem.
- In the majority of cases, tinnitus is caused by damage to the hearing organ. In these cases, there is normally no need for treatment other than reassurance that the tinnitus is not being caused by another treatable illness.
- In the very rare instance where the tinnitus is extremely bothersome, there are a number of treatment options.
- Some of the most helpful include anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication and sometimes maskers-small devices like hearing aids that help to block out the sound of the tinnitus with "white noise."
- For people who are bothered by tinnitus only when trying to sleep, the sound of a fan, radio, or white noise machine is usually all that is required to relieve the problem.
- Most people with tinnitus find that their symptoms are worse when under stress, so relaxation techniques can be helpful.
- Avoiding caffeine is advised, as it may worsen symptoms.
- Biofeedback may help or diminish tinnitus in some patients.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) trains you to accept the sounds from tinnitus as normal, helping you to be less aware of it. Masking devices resemble hearing aids and produce low-level sounds that can help reduce awareness of tinnitus sounds.
Similar to TRT, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may help retrain you to feel less distressed with the noise of tinnitus.
- Avoid aspirin or aspirin products in large quantities
- Hearing loss worsens the effect of tinnitus, so protection of hearing and avoiding loud noises is very important in preventing worsening of the symptoms.
- In cases where the tinnitus is caused by one of the other rare problems (such as a tumor or aneurysm), treatment of the tinnitus involves fixing the main issue. Although this does not always resolve the tinnitus, some people note relief of their symptoms. Only a very few cases of tinnitus are caused by identifiable, repairable medical conditions.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants are treatments not recommended by the American Academy of Otolaryngology.
Do I need to follow-up with my doctor after a tinnitus diagnosis?
It is important to follow the doctor's directions in obtaining further evaluations and tests for your tinnitus. You may need an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist (otolaryngologist) or an audiologist for further testing. It is important to follow up on these recommendations when they are made to confirm that your tinnitus is not caused by another illness.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/25/2015
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears):