To date, there is no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs to treat tinnitus.
Although there is no cure for tinnitus, there are ways to help treat tinnitus. [This analogy is similar to cancer- there is no cure, but there are treatments.] First and foremost, you need to see the proper professionals. Audiologists are the licensed professionals to evaluate and treat tinnitus. (Other than North Carolina, hearing aid dispensers are not specifically licensed to work with tinnitus.) Auiologists will work with a variey of professionals in the treatment process, inclusing your primary care physician (who will rule out medical issues, such as high blood pressure), ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physicians (who may be needed to rule out ear disease, like a middle ear infection), dentists (to rule out temporomandibular joint disorders), psychologists (to help supplent with cognitive behavorial therapy), and more. As you can see, a whole team may be involved in the treatment process.
To begin, start by scheduling an tinnitus evaluation with your local Audiologist. S/he will take an in-depth case history, look in your ears (otoscopy), complete a hearing evaluation, complete a tinnitus evaluation- including high frequency testing, if needed, and check the middle ear anatomy (the ossicles and muscles). A diagnosis can then likely be made for subjective/objective tinnitus, referrals cand be recommended, if needed, and the best treatment options outlined. Some treatment can include over-the-counter (OTC) options and devices, like a sound machine; some treamtent will include ear-level tinnitus devices (e.g. Neuromonics) and/or hearing aids; and some treatment will include oher professionals. All levels of treatment will include counseling specific to your tinnitus and needs.
Remember, tinnitus treatment is a process; there is no "quick fix" or medication to resolve it. Finding an Audiologist who specializes in tinnitus, one who you are comfortable working with for 6-12 months, or longer, is important. Also, be ready to take an active part in the process- your treatment will depend on your level of participation. Finally, it's worth noting that most insurances will not pay for all of the diagnostic testing, and few, if any, help with the treatment process.
I have not found any over the counter supplement that helped tinnitus. There are many factors that cause tinnitus, this includes noise damage, certain types of medication (such as salicyliates), caffeine, and stress. Tinnitus management is the best treatment, and often needs to include behavioral modifications, changes to diet, counseling, and sound therapy. Many people who suffer from tinnitus have underlying hearing loss, which when diagnosed and treated can provide relief. Two great resources for more information can be found with the Tinnitus Practicitioners Association, the American Tinnitus Association.
By medical treatment you are asking about pills or surgeries or injectables. To that the answer is essentially no at this time. There are studies underway which to date have not achieved the results desired. There are some people who say they have been helped by gingko, Lipoflavinoids or other supplements, but in the long term, this has not proved to be the case and may simply be placebo. In my practice where I see about 700 new tinnitus patients yearly, I can say that I can count on one hand the ones who have been helped by these things and I am not sure that pink jelly beans would not have been as helpful. There is some hope in vitamins and what I would call derivatives in that they are being studied to see if they might be helpful. But to date the published studies have not shown success. What has been shown to be helpful is sound therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, stress management and sleep improvement.
Interestingly, a few of my patients have used an over-the-counter ear drop. TRP Ring Relief. It is relatively inexpensive. My patients tell me it does not take away the ringing but for some reason is soothing and makes it more tolerable. I would think it would be worth a try but don't use this if you have a hole in your ear drum.
I have patients ask for a magic tinnitus pill almost daily. I truly wish there was such a treatment. However, there is no known supplement that has shown effective for this condition. Objective tinnitus can be addressed and effectively treated if the root cause can be isolated. TMJ or pulsatile tinnitus (hearing your heartbeat) may be lessened with dental treatment or blood pressure modification as an example. Subjective tinnitus, the more common type, is manifested in the brain, not in the ear. Therefore the treatment is to address hearing loss and cognitive issues. Usually tinnitus is controlled rather than cured through counciling and behavior modification. Proper amplification, sleep modification, and emotional change has been effective in many tinnitus cases.
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