How Is Tinnitus Treated?

By Christine Pickup, AuD

Rather than “treating” tinnitus, the goal is to help a patient manage their tinnitus. After the underlying causes of tinnitus have been identified, there are several therapies which have been found efficacious in reducing or eliminating the perceived tinnitus and its associated distress.

  • Hearing Aids. Many patients who report tinnitus have underlying hearing loss. If the hearing loss is treated effectively with hearing instruments, the tinnitus is also reduced.
  • Counseling. Counseling programs can educate patients on what causes the brain to create tinnitus sounds, and can help patients learn coping strategies including changing the way one thinks about tinnitus and relaxation techniques.
  • Sound Generators. Many patients find soothing sounds such as wind, water, or birds to be a relaxing and help diminish the sound of the tinnitus they perceive. There are table top sound generators, smart phone apps, and many modern hearing instruments also include settings are essentially sound generators. These generators have been shown to help mask or minimize the perceived tinnitus sound.¹
  • General Wellness. Patients with tinnitus may find that changes in diet, exercise, and relaxation affect their perception of tinnitus.
  • Behavioral Therapy. There are several types of therapy that have been found to be helpful for patients suffering with severe tinnitus. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, tinnitus activities treatment, and progressive tinnitus management.²
  • TMJ and other Physical Treatments. In very few cases, tinnitus is caused by physical dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint, obstructions in the ear canal, or head and neck injuries. Treatment of these underlying physical symptoms can bring relief of tinnitus symptoms.³