What are some common treatments for tinnitus? Tinnitus is a hearing condition that affects millions of people all around the world. In the US alone, 50 million adults suffer from tinnitus. While tinnitus can affect people of all ages, it is most common among adults older than 50 years of age.
Moreover, adults usually experience the chronic form of tinnitus due to several aging related health conditions. In fact, various studies reveal that more than half of the adults affected by tinnitus have been experiencing tinnitus sounds for over 5 years.
Tinnitus Diagnosis and Treatment
Your medical professional will typically run a diagnosis based on your symptoms. However, tinnitus can also often be a sign of underlying health conditions. So your doctor might also conduct the following tests:
- Hearing exam: Hearing loss is the most common cause of tinnitus, so a hearing test can help identify that.
- Movement: Lips, tongue, or jaw disorders can also cause tinnitus. Movement tests can help identify underlying disorders that need treatment.
- Imaging: If your doctor suspects a certain cause, they may need imaging tests such as CT or MRI scans.
- Labs: Drawing and testing blood is essential to look for thyroid problems, anemia, or vitamin deficiencies.
Tinnitus treatment typically depends on the cause behind your tinnitus. Common treatments include:
- Earwax removal: Cerumen (earwax) buildup can trigger tinnitus for many, so removal can prove significant.
- Treating blood vessels: Damaged, bent or hardened vessels can lead to tinnitus in one or both ears. So, treatment of blood vessels can largely help address your tinnitus problem.
- Hearing aids: Hearing aids may help if your tinnitus is a result of age related or noise induced hearing loss.
- Changing medications: tinnitus can also often be a side effect of certain medications, such as cancer drugs. Changing the medication should ease tinnitus in such cases.
There are four general mechanisms of sound therapy that work to suppress tinnitus sounds:
- Masking: Masking is a form of sound therapy that uses sound maskers to cover up or ‘mask’ the sounds of tinnitus.
- Distraction: Distraction uses pleasant external sounds to distract a person from tinnitus sounds.
- Habituation: The practice of habituation trains the mind to disregard tinnitus sounds as unimportant noise.
- Neuromodulation: Neuromodulation also makes use of specialized external sounds that rewire the brain to minimize neural hyperactivity.
Counseling refers to behavioral treatment options that help affected people in coping and live with tinnitus. It seeks to change the way a person thinks about tinnitus, reducing anxiety and stress associated with stress. This way, tinnitus sounds no longer affect your productivity, mood, or concentration.
Common options include:
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)
Tinnitus retraining therapy is a personalized treatment program that requires brilliant cooperation between a medical professional and the patient. TRT uses a combination of treatment methods such as sound therapies and counseling from trained professionals. Over time, tinnitus becomes less annoying and debilitating through tinnitus retraining therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is another form of counseling that involves a licensed mental health professional helping you cope with tinnitus. The medical professional counsels and teaches techniques that can make the symptoms of tinnitus less noticeable and bothersome.
Common Treatments for Tinnitus: Conclusion
Tinnitus is a hearing related condition in which a person perceives sounds that do not exist in the external world. Constant ringing in the ears can have various adverse effects on the quality of life. So, seeking medical help can prove significant in enjoying life again.
Stephen Geller Katz, LCSW-R at the Tinnitus Cognitive Center in New York has over 20 years of experience in providing excellent TRT. Schedule a convenient online session with Dr. Katz today.
Stephen Geller Katz, LCSW-R
19 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001
Call today for a consultation