Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears) (cont.)

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Tinnitus retraining therapy

Tinnitus retraining therapy is a form of treatment that tries to retrain the nerve pathways associated with hearing to get the brain used to the abnormal sound. Habituation allows the brain to ignore the tinnitus noise signal, and it allows the patient to become unaware that it is present unless they specifically concentrate on the noise. This treatment involves counseling and the use of a sound generator that is worn. Audiologists and otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat specialists) often work together in offering this treatment.

Tinnitus relief therapy

In addition to tinnitus retraining therapy, other treatments exist which attempt to relieve tinnitus, and each patient may benefit differently depending upon the cause of the tinnitus and their response to treatment. Some options include the following:

  • Masking
  • Biofeedback
  • Stress Reduction
  • Depression counseling
  • Electrical stimulation for patients with hearing loss


The use of acupuncture in the treatment of tinnitus has not demonstrated any efficacious benefit when evidence from various studies has been reviewed.

Can tinnitus be prevented?

Repeated loud noise exposure can be a cause of tinnitus as well as hearing loss. Loud music may cause short term symptoms, but repeated occupational exposure (for example, musicians, factory and construction workers) requires less intense sound levels to cause potential damage leading to tinnitus. Minimizing sound exposure, therefore, decreases the risk of developing tinnitus. Sound protection equipment, like ear muffs, may be appropriate at work and at home when using loud equipment.

A variety of medications may be ototoxic (damage the ear). If tinnitus develops while you are taking a medication, stop the medication and discuss other options with your health care professional.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/22/2013

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