Treatment options for tinnitus depend on the diagnosis and severity of the case.
Addressing Medical Issues
If you are taking an ototoxic drug (a drug that can be toxic to hearing health), your health care provider may recommend stopping treatment and replacing the drug with a less toxic one. If blood vessel issues or a tumor is diagnosed as the cause of a person’s tinnitus, treatment for the underlying problem may alleviate symptoms.
Trying Hearing Aids
Tinnitus hearing aids can help diminish symptoms of tinnitus, especially for age-related hearing loss or cases where the brain is trying to fill a void in sound, says Dr. Chandrasekhar. “Putting hearing aids in to bring those sounds back is very beneficial for both the hearing loss and the tinnitus,” she says, explaining that these sorts of boosted sounds can occupy space so the brain doesn’t continue searching for signals.
Making Lifestyle Adjustments
Give your ears time to adjust from noisy areas to quiet ones, advises Dr. Hamidi. Avoiding tinnitus irritants such as nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and dehydration may help ease symptoms as well. In some cases, adding vitamin B12 and other bioflavonoids to your diet or supplement regimen have been found to be helpful for tinnitus.
Retraining Your Brain
In some cases, tinnitus can be masked with soothing sounds produced by a fan, an air conditioner or other white noise machine. There are several free apps that provide tools and sounds for tinnitus masking. These tools can help train the brain to focus on the external soothing sounds instead of the buzzing or ringing caused by tinnitus. “Tinnitus retraining therapy is an amazing solution for many individuals with tinnitus,” says Dr. Hamidi.
Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, have proven effective for treating tinnitus, says Dr. Chandrasekhar.
Cognitive behavior therapies (CBT) can also help people cope with some of the side effects of tinnitus, which can include depression, anxiety and cognitive decline.
The American Tinnitus Association offers resources for people with tinnitus, including tinnitus-certified health care providers, says Dr. Hamidi. In addition to audiologists, certain therapists and primary care providers can potentially offer treatment for tinnitus and its symptoms—or at least help point you in the right direction.