While tinnitus is the term used to describe the sounds perceived by someone without any external source, the truth is that the symptom has effects much deeper than that. Insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression are common amongst those with tinnitus. For that reason, it’s important you start looking for treatments that can help you manage not just the symptoms, but the ensuing trouble they cause. Here are a few of the most effective treatments currently used.

Finding the underlying condition

As a symptom, tinnitus could be caused by a range of different conditions and, sometimes, finding the cause is how you find the right treatment. The first step in finding an explanation is seeing an audiologist. A hearing test and visual exam could highlight issues like an earwax buildup. Removing that earwax can lessen the tinnitus. It is worth noting that the majority of cases of tinnitus have no identifiable underlying cause, so many find relief by treating the symptom and the emotional health impacts it can have.

Noise treatments

There are a few different treatments that tackle the specific noise that tinnitus manifests as. Your audiologist may, for instance, recommend a range of hearing aid devices. Some of these contain masking features that produce continuous, low-level white noise matched carefully to the pitch of your tinnitus. Amplifying your experience of exterior noise can also help you hear beyond tinnitus. There are also standalone white noise machines that can help you habituate your tinnitus, so you can mentally tune it out, which can help you relax or sleep at night.

Therapy

There is a range of different therapy options, but the most commonly used is tinnitus retraining therapy. This treatment combines noise treatments as mentioned above with cognitive behavioral therapy. You can get one-to-one sessions teaching you how to use white noise machines, while the therapist teaches you how to better manage stress. It can help you identify tinnitus triggers, like loud noises or certain movements, that can help you avoid making the condition more prevalent. Therapy may also include advice on healthy lifestyle changes you can make, such as your diet and activity levels, that may improve symptoms and your mental health.

Medication and home therapies

Currently, many drugs are being tested for their effects on tinnitus. There has been some success in using anti-anxiety medication like Valium, antidepressants and alprazolam. However, medications are often only used in severe cases of tinnitus since there are sometimes serious side effects. Beyond promoting healthier lifestyle choices, home therapies can include reducing alcohol consumption, avoiding nicotine and caffeine and managing the stress that can make tinnitus worse.

Tinnitus covers a range of different experiences. Sometimes, the noise is intermittent; sometimes it’s constant. Sometimes, you hear it in your ears, other times you hear it in your head. There are a lot of different treatments because everyone experiences it differently. So, don’t be disheartened if one treatment doesn’t work, it’s worth exhausting all your options to find which is best for you.