Do you have a persistent ringing, chirping or whirring in your ears? Have you talked to your family doctor only to be told that tinnitus is untreatable? Have you been told to just live with it?

In the past, tinnitus was little understood and difficult to treat. Today, we know more and more about tinnitus and how to effectively treat it. If you’ve been suffering from tinnitus and have given up on relief, maybe it’s time to talk to an audiologist. There isn’t one solution that works for every person. Tinnitus treatment is highly personal, but several treatment options exist and one might be right for you.

Noise-masking devices and tinnitus

Noise-masking devices produce a “white noise” that masks the sounds of tinnitus. Your brain is kept busy processing the signals associated with the white noise so it doesn’t have time to focus on the tinnitus.

Noise-masking devices can be as simple as a table top unit or units placed by the bed to help with sleep or as sophisticated as wearable masking devices that look like hearing aids. Noise-masking units only work to alleviate tinnitus while they are in use. Over time, their effectiveness may decrease. However, a bedside unit may provide sufficient relief to allow you to fall asleep more easily.

Some new devices even combine sound amplification with noise masking.

Sound therapy for tinnitus

Sound therapy can take some time to work, but for many people it does provide relief. It includes counseling and the use of noises to cause the brain to reinterpret the tinnitus noise. It can reduce the stress associated with tinnitus and the stress reduction, in turn, reduces the tinnitus itself.

Special sound therapy devices use music and other sounds customized to the needs of the tinnitus patient. These devices play special notched-music or algorithmically-modified sounds that emphasize specific frequencies and tones. These devices are worn intermittently.

Hearing aids to treat tinnitus

More times than not, tinnitus is connected to hearing loss. Patients develop tinnitus as a symptom of their hearing loss. Hearing loss causes less external stimuli to reach the brain. In response, the brain changes how it processes sound and tinnitus can be the result.

Hearing aids amplify sound and send more acoustic signals to the brain. The brain keeps busy with real external sound. The increase in sound will mask the tinnitus and provide stimulation to the brain. In addition, the hearing aids make conversation easier. This can decrease isolation and stress experienced by the patient and as a result, tinnitus is decreased as well.

When to talk to an audiologist

If your tinnitus is impacting your quality of life, don’t suffer any longer. There are many treatment options available. An audiologist can provide a treatment solution that is tailored for you. The only thing you have to lose is tinnitus.