My recent blog was about the potential causes of tinnitus (What Makes My Ears Ring?). This month I would like to focus on ways to “treat” this condition. Currently there is no FDA approved “cure” for tinnitus- no surgery and no magic pill that will make those sounds go away. Instead we manage the symptoms of the tinnitus and hope to make the tinnitus less bothersome. The following list of management strategies comes from the American Tinnitus Association website:
Hearing Aids - Most tinnitus is a result of hearing loss, so by using a hearing aid that amplifies the sounds around you, your tinnitus may become less noticeable simply because you are hearing other people and your environment better. Think about this like distracting your brain from the annoyance of the tinnitus and instead focusing on actual conversations. Additionally, hearing aids are now offering tinnitus programs within their circuitry! This is a game changer in the world of hearing aids. Your audiologist can actually match the pitch and volume of your own tinnitus, input it into the hearing aid, and the hearing aid actually generates a soft sound that masks out your tinnitus while still allowing you to hear conversations! I have to admit, I was quite skeptical of this technology until I heard it for myself at our National Conference. I have patients in my practice that are currently successfully utilizing this technology! It is absolutely amazing! Come see me at Compass Hearing Center in Denver City, Texas for a free demonstration of this technology.
Sound Therapies/Noise Generators- Some people who do not have hearing loss, but suffer from tinnitus may benefit from sound therapy. This is an external noise that you may choose to distract your brain from the tinnitus you hear inside your head. Examples are wave machines, box fans, or white noise. This may help people trying to concentrate or even fall asleep. Often tinnitus is the worst when you are in complete silence.
Stress Relief/Overall Well-being- Most people tend to report an increase in the severity of the tinnitus when they are stressed or upset. It may beneficial to discover ways to manage your stress level and increase your overall well-being to reduce tinnitus symptoms.
Behavioral Therapies- Sometimes just learning why the tinnitus is there and learning to manage the emotional and negative reaction you have to it can help lessen or alleviate the symptoms.
Drug Therapies- There is no FDA approved drug to alleviate tinnitus, however some relief has been reported when patients take physician prescribed medication to manage their stress, anxiety, or depression (which often make tinnitus worse).
Diet- Dr. Michael Siedman reported that reducing salt, nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol (all known triggers for tinnitus) may help alleviate symptoms as well. Keep a journal of your diet and see what if anything you consume tends to increase the severity of your tinnitus.
Hearing Protection- Protect the hearing you have! When you attend a loud concert, target practice, or operate any loud equipment, wear your ear plugs or muffs! Although this usually is temporary tinnitus, prolonged exposure to the offending sound could result in permanent damage.
If you are looking for an audiologist in Texas for hearing evaluations, hearing aid fittings, or tinnitus treatments then please contact our office to schedule an appointment.