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What Are the Best Tinnitus Treatments?

Woman with Hand to Ear

Tinnitus can be a horrible condition to live with. It is characterized by noises in the ear that have no external cause. They can include humming, whistling, whooshing or ringing. It's likely that tinnitus is really caused by the brain asking for more information from the ears, which it's not receiving. It can arise from a variety of issues, from temporary things like wax buildup to hearing loss and head injuries.

Whatever the cause is, people who have tinnitus need the right treatments to help them relieve their symptoms. Apart from treating underlying conditions, there are several effective treatments for tinnitus. Some of the best options include hearing aids with masking features, sound machines and tinnitus retraining therapy. All of these solutions can offer treatment to people living with tinnitus, who can all have personal preferences.

Hearing aids

Tinnitus isn't always linked to hearing loss, but it does often go hand in hand with it. Hearing aids are a common solution for hearing loss, but they can also help to relieve the symptoms of tinnitus. Simply wearing hearing aids can help to improve tinnitus symptoms due to reducing sound deprivation that might cause it in the first place. Open-fit hearing aids help to amplify sound without blocking out any external sound.

Combination devices are also available, which use masking features to help cover up tinnitus sounds. The low-level noises that they use are designed to help with habituation, so the wearer gets used to the tinnitus sounds and tunes them into the background.

Sound machines

Another tinnitus treatment option to consider is sound machines. They can be particularly useful when trying to sleep at night, when wearing hearing aids might not be appropriate. A sound machine can be used to mask the noises that result from tinnitus and is excellent for using at home. Some smaller models can be transported for use while traveling too. Some machines are specifically designed for tinnitus, and can provide noises that range from white noise to sounds of nature, such as ocean or forest noises. A sound machine could also be a wearable device, like a hearing aid but without the need to amplify sound.

Tinnitus retraining therapy

Some people with tinnitus can find that they benefit from tinnitus retraining therapy. This combines the use of devices like sound machines and hearing aids with psychological therapy. The aim is to turn tinnitus sounds into "background noise". The therapy is designed to help a person with tinnitus get used to the sounds and effectively ignore them. Wearing a masking device or using a sound machine work together with techniques that the patient learns to use to ignore the tinnitus sounds. They also learn how to manage stress and relax, as it has been shown that anxiety and stress could make tinnitus worse.

If you have tinnitus and want to know more about how to treat it, speaking to an audiologist will help. They can discuss your treatment options with you to find the right solution.