Do you have tinnitus and are wondering how to make it go away—or at least get better? You may need to work with several health care specialists to find what works for you. Because so many health conditions can trigger tinnitus, diagnosing every case is unique.
In most cases there is no cure for tinnitus, but there are many ways to manage it. One of the most popular techniques is habituation.
A hearing care professional will start by asking lots of questions about your symptoms such as:
An audiologist or similar professional may use a series of tests to tailor your treatment. Examples include:
Hearing aids for tinnitus
If you have hearing loss and tinnitus, hearing aids can reduce your awareness of tinnitus while you are wearing them. That's because they amplify the sounds you want to hear, helping distract your brain from the unwanted sounds.
Today's hearing aids include tinnitus features to help mask unwanted sounds, such as a smartphone app.
Should you get a hearing aid for tinnitus?
Yes, if you have hearing loss. Many people report relief when they get hearing aids for tinnitus.
Tinnitus sound therapies
Tinnitus sound therapy helps you get used to the sound, with the goal of learning to ignore it. Essentially, your brain reclassified the unwanted sound as something neutral or unimportant. An audiologist trained in tinnitus therapy can help you explore several options.
There are no known medications that treat tinnitus. Instead, some medications can cause tinnitus. If you experience tinnitus after starting any new medication, or after changing a dose, discuss it right away with your pharmacist or doctor.
Behavioral treatment options for tinnitus
Mental health care is an important part of tinnitus treatment. A therapist with experience treating tinnitus patients can use a combination of sound therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you manage the emotional impact of tinnitus.
Is tinnitus ever a medical emergency?
Sudden deafness and tinnitus
If you or a loved one experiences sudden hearing loss along with tinnitus (usually in just one ear), it could be idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss, known as sudden deafness. Prompt treatment can help increase your chance of a full recovery.
If you hear sounds that pulse at the same rate as your heartbeat, you may have what's known as pulsatile tinnitus. This can be harmless, but needs thorough investigation since it could be a serious blood vessel or vascular condition.
Suicidal thoughts and tinnitus
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts due to tinnitus, tell a loved one and seek emergency help right away. While alarming, suicidal thoughts are treatable. You can also reach out to the National Suicide and Life Crisis by dialing 988.
There are many behavioral changes you can make to relieve your tinnitus or help you learn to cope with it.
Homeopathy, hypnosis, meditation and acupuncture are also thought to help. Any activity that aims to reduce overall stress levels may also help tinnitus-related stress levels.
How to get help
Tinnitus can be extremely frustrating and can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure about your next steps. Remember that you are not alone—tinnitus, while not well-understood, is common. To get better, seek out a practitioner who has experience treating tinnitus, and be prepared to discuss your symptoms in detail so you can get relief and regain your quality of life.
Find an audiologist that specializes in tinnitus treatment near you by visiting our directory of hearing care providers. Please note that not all hearing clinics treat tinnitus, so you may need to browse several clinic pages to find the right provider.