Tinnitus Treatment

There isn’t a drug you can take for tinnitus. Because it’s a symptom and not a disease, your doctor will work with you to diagnose the underlying problem. She’ll ask about your symptoms, examine your ears, and probably run some tests. That will help her come up with a plan and decide on your treatment.

If a drug you're taking is the trigger, she may tell you to stop taking it or change it to another one. Never stop taking a medication on your own. Always talk to your doctor first.

If a health condition like high blood pressure is the cause, your doctor will work with you to treat it. If an ear or sinus infection or allergies is to blame, the doctor will treat the underlying problem. The ringing should go away when the illness does.

If the problem is too much earwax, your doctor will remove the buildup gently. Don't use cotton swabs to try to do it yourself.

In some cases, you might not be able to find a cause. Your doctor will work with you to find ways to ease the sound or help you cope with it.

Those options might include:

Hearing aids: These gadgets can help when you have both hearing loss and tinnitus. They strengthen the sounds you need to hear. That makes the ringing stand out less.

Sound maskers: These machines create constant low-level white noise that helps block out the ringing. You can use bedside devices at night to help you sleep. You can also wear maskers in or behind your ear all the time.

Retraining therapy: You can wear a device that masks ringing with tonal music, gradually training you to ignore the sound. This is usually linked with counseling.

Relaxation techniques: Stress can make tinnitus worse. Find ways that help you manage anxiety like deep breathing, exercise, and biofeedback.

Medicines: There aren't drugs that specifically treat tinnitus. But sometimes anxiety medicine helps. Ask your doctor if it might be right for you.

Other Lifestyle Changes

Take these steps to ease the ringing or keep it from getting worse.

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Avoid loud noises: If you can't stay away from loud events like concerts, sporting events, or noisy machinery, at least protect your hearing. Wear earplugs or earmuffs. If you use headphones to listen to music, keep the sound turned down low.

Catch some ZZZs: When you’re tired, the ringing could seem worse. Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night. Use a white noise machine in your bedroom, or ask your doctor for other tips to fight fatigue.

Watch caffeine: Skip your daily coffee, soda, or energy drink to see if the ringing eases up. Doctors often say caffeine can make tinnitus worse. But at least one study has found that women who drank more caffeine were less likely to hear ringing. See what works for you.

Stop smoking: The nicotine in cigarettes and other products can affect the blood vessels that move oxygen to your ears. It can also increase your blood pressure.

Cut back on booze: An after-work cocktail can send your blood pressure up. That might make you notice the ringing more. Cut back or stop. See if that helps.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on December 20, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Tinnitus: Diagnosis,” "Tinnitus: Lifestyle and home remedies," "Tinnitus: Overview,” "Tinnitus: Symptoms and causes," "Tinnitus: Treatment."

American Tinnitus Association: "Causes."

UpToDate: "Patient education: Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) (Beyond the Basics)."

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: "Tinnitus."

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: "Tinnitus."

FamilyDoctor.org: "Tinnitus."

Cleveland Clinic: "Cerumen Impaction."

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: "Tinnitus."

University of Maryland Medical Center: "Tinnitus."

Vestibular Disorders Association: "Dietary Considerations."

American Hearing Research Foundation: "Tinnitus."

The American Journal of Medicine: "A Prospective Study of Caffeine Intake and Risk of Incident Tinnitus."

Better Health Channel, Victoria State Government: "Tinnitus."

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