What are the most effective treatments for tinnitus?

a woman experiencing slight ear discomfort

Tinnitus is relatively common, and it affects thousands of people in the US every single year. Most people have no idea how to treat tinnitus, and so this article will aim to explain everything you need to know. Booking an appointment to see an audiologist is the most crucial first step, but there’s no harm in learning a little more about the types of treatments they might offer ahead of time. 

If you’ve experienced tinnitus for a long time, you might feel like there is no hope. The condition can cause lots of discomfort, and most people believe there is nothing you can do. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. As you are about to discover, a reputable audiologist will recommend lots of treatments until they find something that works for you. 

How is tinnitus diagnosed?

If you want to get a tinnitus diagnosis, you must book an appointment to see an audiologist as soon as possible. They will conduct an assessment to work out the cause of your tinnitus and determine the best treatments. It’s a three-step process that goes as follows:

Hearing exam

Before you do anything else, the audiologist will ask you to undergo a hearing exam. In most instances, you will sit in a soundproofed room wearing headphones for this process. The audiologist will play different sounds into each of your ears, and you’ll let them know when you hear them. Depending on the results, it’s possible to identify or rule out lots of potential causes for your tinnitus. 

Movement test

Next, the audiologist will ask you to take part in a movement test. They will instruct you to move your neck, swing your jaw, and perform lots of different facial movements. The purpose of this test is to determine which movements you make that result in the tinnitus becoming worse. It is then easier to work out potential causes. 

Imaging tests

Sometimes audiologists will need to use MRI or CT scans to take a look at the inside of your ears and determine the cause of your tinnitus. They don’t always do that, and whether or not you have to undergo imaging will depend on the results from the previous two tests. Still, there is no need to worry. MRI and CT scans are quick and painless. 

How do audiologists treat tinnitus?

You might have an underlying health condition that is causing your tinnitus. If that is the case, the audiologist will aim to treat the problem and assess the results. In many instances, a build-up of earwax or an ear infection can cause tinnitus-like symptoms. So, the audiologist will check for those issues first, and then attempt to solve them. Blood vessel conditions and a recent change in medication could also be to blame.

Suppressing noise

Many people find that noise suppression is one of the best ways to limit the negative effects of tinnitus. With that in mind, it is possible your audiologist might consider the use of hearing aids, white noise machines, ear protection, masking devices and more. 

Hearing aids are commonly recommended to address any lingering hearing loss, as well as providing a masking feature to override the tinnitus sounds you can’t block out. 

The goal is often to reduce the amount of noise that makes it into your ear canal, and that should help to relieve some of the symptoms of tinnitus. 

Medications for tinnitus

There are no medications available that will treat the effects of tinnitus; however, your audiologist may work in tandem with other professionals to recommend a prescription for problems like anxiety, stress or depression. Untreated tinnitus can take a toll on your quality of life, so it’s important to manage any additional symptoms you develop – especially psychological ones – because of your condition. 

Now you’ve come to the end of this article; you should have a much better understanding of how to get a tinnitus diagnosis and the types of treatment your audiologist might recommend. tinnitus affects thousands of people, and so it’s important you don’t feel alone in your quest to find relief. Help is out there!

If you would like to know more, or you want to book an appointment to see an audiologist, contact Peninsula Hearing today using these phone numbers: Poulsbo: 360-697-3061, Port Townsend: 360-379-5458. Our team is happy to help. We can arrange an audiologist appointment for a time that suits you, and we’re willing to provide any information or advice you require. Hearing loss can get you down, so let us lift you back up!