There is no universal cure for tinnitus, but there are treatments that make it less severe. The primary treatment goal is to reduce the impact tinnitus is having on your life rather than making it vanish completely.
In many cases, the exact cause of tinnitus can’t be identified. In these cases, symptoms can often be managed successfully through a variety of strategies.
Sounds are used to stimulate the auditory system and reduce the perception of tinnitus. This distracts your brain, reducing the relative intensity of the tinnitus, and helps you “tune out” the sound of your tinnitus. Devices that produce white noise, air conditioners, fans, soft music, etc. can all be employed. In general, any sound that is relatively boring and not unpleasant to you can be useful for acoustic therapy.
Hearing loss can cause maladaptive neuroplastic changes in the brain. Hearing aids are used to stimulate the auditory pathways received by the brain. Background sounds can mask tinnitus. Hearing aids can also help the patient better distinguish one sound from another, improving communication and helping with focus and concentration difficulties. Many devices also come packaged with noise generators to supplement ambient sounds if amplification alone does not adequately reduce tinnitus.
Tinnitus is highly affected by stress – both physical and emotional – so stress management is an important part of tinnitus management. It is important to address both the stress caused by the tinnitus itself and in your life overall to reduce the severity of your tinnitus. Cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction have both been shown to be helpful in helping to manage tinnitus symptoms.
Understanding what tinnitus is and why it happens is useful for many people to help reduce the stress and anxiety surrounding tinnitus, which will ultimately help to reduce the severity of the tinnitus overall. Learning strategies to help manage tinnitus can give a sense of control, which also helps to reduce the stress caused by tinnitus. The professionals at Willamette ENT Hearing Center are a good place to start to learn more about your tinnitus and what you can do about it.
Call Willamette ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery at (503) 581-1567 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
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