Frequently Asked Questions
17. Are there treatments for tinnitus?
Tinnitus does not have a cure yet, but treatments that help many people cope better with the condition are available. Most doctors will offer a combination of the treatments below, depending on the severity of your tinnitus and the areas of your life it affects the most.
Hearing aids often are helpful for people who have hearing loss along with tinnitus. Using a hearing aid adjusted to carefully control outside sound levels may make it easier for you to hear. The better you hear, the less you may notice your tinnitus.
Counseling helps you learn how to live with your tinnitus. Most counseling programs have an educational component to help you understand what goes on in the brain to cause tinnitus. Some counseling programs also will help you change the way you think about and react to your tinnitus.
Wearable sound generators are small electronic devices that fit in the ear and use a soft, pleasant sound to help mask the tinnitus.
Tabletop sound generators are used as an aid for relaxation or sleep. Placed near your bed, you can program a generator to play pleasant sounds such as waves, waterfalls, rain, or the sounds of a summer night.
Acoustic neural stimulation is a relatively new technique for people whose tinnitus is very loud or won’t go away. It uses a palm-sized device and headphones to deliver a broadband acoustic signal embedded in music. The treatment helps stimulate change in the neural circuits in the brain, which eventually desensitizes you to the tinnitus. The device has been shown to be effective in reducing or eliminating tinnitus in a significant number of study volunteers.
Cochlear implants are sometimes used in people who have tinnitus along with severe hearing loss. The device brings in outside sounds that help mask tinnitus and stimulate change in the neural circuits.
Antidepressants and antianxiety drugs might be prescribed by your primary care doctor to improve your mood and help you sleep, although antianxiety drugs are not an appropriate treatment for tinnitus alone and offer no long term benefit. People who have both depression and tinnitus may find that medication prescribed for treatment of depression may reduce tinnitus as well.
Other medications may be available at drugstores and on the Internet as an alternative remedy for tinnitus, but none of these preparations has been proved effective in clinical trials.