Tinnitus, which comes from the Latin word meaning “to ring or tinkle,” is a malady of the ear that affects roughly 50 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The many causes of tinnitus, coupled with the fact that the affliction is typically only perceived by the individual suffering from it, makes it notoriously difficult to treat. In fact, there is no actual cure for tinnitus. However, work within the hearing healthcare industry and research field is helping to establish therapies and treatments that can help those suffering from tinnitus find relief.

Working toward a cure

The American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a patient-based membership association that directly funds tinnitus research, has allocated more than $6 million in the past 30 years to advance tinnitus research. The ATA’s research and funding have helped determine a handful of treatments and therapies that can help reduce the severity, impact and burden of tinnitus.

While these treatments and therapies will not eliminate the perceived buzzing, ringing, whistling, swooshing or ticking one may experience, they can help address the emotional and cognitive impact of the disorder.

Treatment and therapy options

The majority of tinnitus cases are linked to hearing loss. As such, hearing aids can be very beneficial for those suffering from tinnitus. Hearing aids can provide relief by augmenting the reception and perception of external noise. Sound therapies, such as sound masking, can cover tinnitus noises, helping to counteract the bothersome perceived sounds.

If your tinnitus isn’t connected to hearing loss, your hearing care provider may still recommend hearing aids to help relieve symptoms. Hearing aids can be programmed to help mask the tinnitus sounds you’re suffering from, giving you perceived peace and quiet.

Behavioral therapies can go a long way in helping tinnitus patients. It is not uncommon for those suffering from tinnitus to experience many negative emotional states, such as anger, depression and anxiety. As such, it is important for one’s health and well-being to understand their negative emotions and be able to control or accept them. Doing so will enable patients to disassociate tinnitus from negative behavioral responses.

Talk to a hearing care professional

If you suffer from tinnitus, it is important to a hearing healthcare professional to help find relief for your condition. Untreated tinnitus can cause depression, anxiety and social withdrawal, so it’s important to take treatment seriously. Doing so can be an important first step toward a happier, more peaceful life.