Tinnitus: guide to treatment for ringing in the ears

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Symptoms of tinnitus

Tinnitus (pronounced tin-ni-tus) affects about 15-20% of people and is commonly caused by hearing loss or an ear injury. Often, tinnitus is experienced as a ringing in the ears that only you can hear, but it can be hissing, buzzing, whistling or roaring.

Take the online tinnitus test

People with tinnitus can also experience hearing loss. If you suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus, then modern hearing aids can help you alleviate both illnesses.

Image show woman with tinnitus symptoms

Online Tinnitus Test

People with tinnitus often experience hearing loss too. Our quick online tinnitus test can help you understand if you might have tinnitus and/or hearing loss and what you can do about it.

Question 1
Do you ever experience ringing or buzzing sounds in your ear(s) when no external sound is present?
Do you ever have trouble falling asleep or concentrating due to any ringing or buzzing sounds in your ear(s)?
Do you ever have trouble following conversations because you don’t hear properly?
Do you find yourself turning up the volume on the TV or radio louder than normal?

Your result:

Indications of tinnitus and hearing loss

Your answers indicate that you may experience symptoms of tinnitus and hearing loss. We recommend that you visit one of our clinics. There are hearing aids that can treat your hearing loss and might give you relief from your tinnitus.*

Book a FREE hearing test in a clinic near you

Book FREE hearing test

* The result of the test may only be used for guidance. Official conclusions about hearing loss/tinnitus can be provided by our certified hearing care experts.

Your result:

Indications of hearing loss

Your answers indicate that you may experience symptoms of hearing loss but no symptoms of tinnitus. We recommend that you visit one of our clinics to to see if you have a hearing loss that should be treated.*

Book a FREE hearing test in a clinic near you

Book FREE hearing test

* The result of the test may only be used for guidance. Official conclusions about hearing loss/tinnitus can be provided by our certified hearing care experts.

Your result:

Symptoms of tinnitus indicated

Your answers indicate that you may experience symptoms of tinnitus. We recommend that you read about tinnitus treatment options to learn about how to cope with and find relief from tinnitus symptoms.*

* The result of the test may only be used for guidance. Official conclusions about hearing loss/tinnitus can be provided by our certified hearing care experts.

Your result:

No tinnitus or hearing loss indicated

Your answers indicate that you do not have tinnitus - or that you have non-bothersome tinnitus that is not currently affecting your everyday life. If you experience symptoms of tinnitus in the future, we recommend visiting your local health care provider.

* The result of the test may only be used for guidance. Official conclusions about hearing loss/tinnitus can be provided by our certified hearing care experts.

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What causes tinnitus?

There are many possible causes of tinnitus. The most common cause of tinnitus is damage to the sensory cells in the cochlea. This is the snail shell-like organ in the inner ear where sounds are converted into electrical signals. The ringing in your ears is the result of your brain trying to compensate for the loss of hair cells.

Damage to the hair cells here can also cause hearing loss.

Common causes of ringing in the ears include:

  1. Exposure to loud noise
  2. The natural aging process
  3. Middle-ear infections
  4. Anxiety and stress
  5. Diabetes
  6. Negative reactions to medicines
  7. Neck or head injuries
  8. Hyperacusis (intolerance to noise)
  9. Earwax build-up
  10. Inflamed blood vessels around the ear
  11. Other untreated medical conditions such as Ménière's disease, Otitis (a middle-ear infection), etc.

 Should you take a hearing test?

 

Types of tinnitus

Tinnitus can generally be divided into two types of physical conditions: subjective and objective.

Subjective Tinnitus

The most common form of tinnitus is subjective. This type involves you hearing annoying whistling/buzzing/high-pitched noises that aren’t really there.

Objective Tinnitus

This type is a rarer form of this condition where your blood vessels or muscles are making noises that are loud enough for you to hear. Your doctor may be able to hear it during your hearing test.

Take the online tinnitus test

Tinnitus treatment and prevention

There is no cure for tinnitus, but there are many ways you can manage it and reduce its impact on your life. The following management techniques can be rather effective in turning a potentially negative and emotionally charged sound (tinnitus) into a neutral presence.

Illustration of man doing yoga
Relaxation and mindfulness
Yoga and meditation have been proven to be particularly effective in relieving tinnitus
Illustration of man with headphones
Sound therapy
Can help reduce the contrast between tinnitus and quiet environments
Illustration of shield with an ear
Hearing protection gear
Protection (such as earplugs) can help prevent further hearing damage caused by loud noise
Illustration of hearing aid
Hearing aids
Can make your tinnitus stand out less by amplifying sounds. Some devices have built-in sound generators

Sound therapy can provide relief from ringing in the ears

Although sound therapy cannot eliminate tinnitus, it can be a helpful tool for managing the symptoms. With sound therapy, you listen to different, carefully selected sounds, which can help you feel that your tinnitus is reduced or temporarily gone.

It then becomes easier to hold your attention away from your tinnitus. Plus, it helps you focus on something more pleasant. You can find the sound therapy that gives you the most effective relief from ringing in the ears by working together with your hearing care professional.

Sound therapy can be provided through:

  • Tinnitus masking sound generator devices
  • Apps for tinnitus relief
  • Sound and sleep apps
  • Hearing aids with tinnitus sound therapy features

Take the online tinnitus test

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Treating tinnitus with hearing aids

Hearing aids not only help with hearing loss, they simultaneously mask the sound of tinnitus by amplifying the sounds around you. This can result in reduced listening effort, a perceived reduction in tinnitus volume, and an improved ability to communicate with ease.


In addition, most of our hearing aids offer sound therapy sounds that are customized to your individual needs and preferences.


Learn more about our hearing aids:

Hearing aid types

Tinnitus and hearing loss – do you have both?

Research shows that most people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss without being aware of it, and many of them can benefit from hearing aids.

80% of people with tinnitus also have hearing loss

Hearing aids can help transmit more sounds into the ear and brain, thereby making the symptoms of tinnitus less bothersome. Moreover, improved hearing helps you to focus on sounds other than tinnitus, and for many people, this improvement is enough to experience relief.

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Consequences of untreated tinnitus

Some tinnitus sufferers become sensitive to places with constant talking or loud music, so they begin to avoid such social situations altogether. To others, it is so disturbing that a full night’s sleep can become difficult to achieve. Tinnitus, if left untreated, can lead to the following consequences:

  • Anger
  • Concentration problems
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Sensitivity to places with constant talking or loud music
  • Sleep disorder, insomnia

Some people are able to ignore their tinnitus most of the time, but leaving it untreated can have a negative impact on your life if it is experienced over extended periods of time.

FAQ about tinnitus

Sources

1. Al-Swiahb, J., & Park, S. N. (2016). Characterization of tinnitus in different age groups: A retrospective review. Noise & health, 18(83), 214–219. https://doi.org/10.4103/1463-1741.189240

2. Beck D.L. (2012) British Academy of Audiology. Podium presentation.