How can Tinnitus be treated?

Do you have an unusual ear noise and are unsure of what to do or where to go next? If this is the case, you’ve come to the right place. You are not alone; in fact, almost everyone experiences this type of hearing phenomenon at some point in their lives.

Did you know? 

Tinnitus affects 15% to 20% of the population and is especially prevalent in older adults.

Any additional sounds like ringing or buzzing that you are hearing are known as Tinnitus. Tinnitus can be debilitating, and interfering with people’s daily lives. Tinnitus is not a medical condition. It is a symptom of a number of medical conditions. Tinnitus cannot be cured, but doctors or audiologists can help manage its symptoms.

Almost everyone has experienced tinnitus after being exposed to extremely loud noise for a short period of time. Attending a loud concert, for example, can cause temporary tinnitus. Some medications, particularly aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs taken at high doses, can cause tinnitus that resolves when the drug is stopped. It can be termed as chronic tinnitus when it occurs and lasts for longer than 6 months.

Having said that, Tinnitus treatment is possible, provided you consult a specialist and avail the right line of medication.

What exactly is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus causes your head to be filled with sounds that no one else can hear, such as ringing, whistling, clicking, and roaring. Tinnitus can be sounds that are so soft that you don’t notice them or so loud that they drown out other sounds.

Some people hear ringing, while others hear whistling, buzzing, chirping, hissing, humming, roaring, or even shrieking. The sound may appear to come from one or both ears, from within the head, or from a distance. It could be continuous or intermittent, steady or pulsing.

What causes Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is caused by an unknown factor, according to doctors. They believe that abnormal activity in the part of your brain that processes sound is to blame for tinnitus, but they don’t know how, why, or how to prevent it.

What are the symptoms of Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a hearing issue that renders a ringing sensation in the ears, even though no external sound is present. Tinnitus, on the other hand, can cause other types of phantom noises in your ears like:

  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Hissing
  • Humming

Most people who have tinnitus have tinnitus that only you can hear or experience. The noises of tinnitus may vary in pitch. It can range from a low roar to a high squeal. Also, you may hear it in one or both ears. In certain cases, the sound can be so loud that it impairs your ability to concentrate or hear outside sounds. Tinnitus can be present all of the time or be intermittently present.

How is Tinnitus diagnosed?

A careful examination of your ears will be performed by our doctor to determine what underlying medical condition may be causing your tinnitus. Make sure your doctor knows all medications you are taking, as tinnitus can be a side effect of some medications.

If the root of the problem cannot be determined, you may be given a hearing test called an audiogram as part of your examination. An imaging technique, such as an MRI or CT scan, may also be advised to reveal any structural issues.

Tinnitus treatment

What are the options available for tinnitus treatment?

Tinnitus treatment is determined by whether your tinnitus is caused by an underlying health condition. If so, our doctor may be able to minimize your symptoms by treating the underlying cause. Here are some examples:

  • Earwax removal – Removing an earwax blockage can decrease tinnitus symptoms.
  • Blood vessel condition – The term “blood vessel” refers to the process of obtaining a blood vessel in order to perform surgery or to treat a medical condition.
  • Hearing aids – These may help improve your symptoms if your tinnitus is caused by noise-induced or age-related hearing loss.
  • Changing your medication – If a medication you’re taking appears to be the source of your tinnitus, our doctor may advise you to stop, reduce, or switch to a different medication.

Many times, tinnitus can’t be cured. However, there are treatments available to help make your symptoms less noticeable. Your doctor may advise you to use an electronic device to muffle the noise. Devices include:

  • White noise generators – These devices produce a sound quite similar to static or environmental sounds such as rainfall or ocean waves. They often prove to be an effective treatment for tinnitus. White noise is produced by fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners in the bedroom, which may help make tinnitus less noticeable at night.

Masking device – These devices, worn in the ear and similar to hearing aids, produce a constant, low-level white noise that suppresses tinnitus symptoms.

Treatment for the underlying condition that causes tinnitus may also necessitate surgery. An acoustic neuroma, tumor, or cyst may be the cause of the disorder, in which case surgery may be the only option.

Cognitive Therapy

This is a form of counseling that helps a person to modify their reaction to tinnitus. It works best when combined with other forms of therapy, such as masking or medication.

Sound Therapy

This therapy can suppress ringing or buzzing in your ears and make it less noticeable. It will not heal the condition. However, it can make life easier. If your tinnitus bothers you at night, consider placing a media player, computer, or electric fan beside your bed.

Bimodal Therapy

Bimodal therapy treats tinnitus by using two forms of sensory stimulation – sound and touch. It trains the brain to think differently about sound. This technique can change how the brain perceives sound by using non-invasive external devices for a few minutes each day.

Cochlear Implants

These in-ear implants are mostly used to treat severe deafness. The device is implanted through a surgery, and it communicates with the brain by sending electrical signals from the ear.

Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT)

This therapy involves a device to be inserted in the ear to generate low-level noise and environmental sounds that match the pitch, volume, and quality of the patient’s tinnitus. The method is predicated on the assumption that tinnitus is caused by abnormal neuronal activity. The goal is to train the auditory system to become less sensitive to tinnitus signals, making them less noticeable or bothersome.

Looking for the best Tinnitus treatment? Consult our ENT specialist

Dr. Mustafa Kapadia is a renowned, well-respected, and skilled ENT surgeon with global clinical practice in Dubai. He is a board-certified Indian ENT specialist with over 10 years of clinical experience and a special interest in Ear and Sinus diseases. He has extensive experience and training in the endoscopic ear and sinus surgery. He performs the surgeries entirely through the ear canal, avoiding any external visible incision or scar.

Book your appointment to discuss your ear problems.