Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears) (cont.)

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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 hearing damage leading to tinnitus. Minimizing sound exposure, therefore, decreases the risk of developing tinnitus. Sound protection equipment, like acoustic ear-muffs, may be appropriate at work and at home when exposed to loud noises.

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

What's being done in research on tinnitus treatments?

Tinnitus remains a symptom that affects the lives of millions of people. Research is directed not only at its treatment, but also at understanding why it occurs. Research by doctors at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Dalhousie University (Canada), and Southeast China University have published research using electrophysiology and functional MRI to better understand what parts of the brain are involved in hearing and the production of tinnitus. Their research has found that much larger areas of the brain are involved with the process of hearing than previously believed, which may help direct future diagnostic and therapeutic options.


Chen, YC. et al. "Tinnitus and hyperacusis involve hyperactivity and enhanced connectivity in auditory-limbic-arousal-cerebellar network." eLife. May 2015.

Lehner A. et al. rTMS for the Treatment for Chronic Tinnitus: Optimization by Stimulation of the Cortical Tinnitus Network. Tinnitus Today, Summer 2012.

Meng Z, et al. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for tinnitus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2011 Oct 5;(10).

Park, J. et al. "Efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment for tinnitus: a systematic review." Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000 Apr. 126(4)

University of San Francisco Medical Center. "Tinnitus Signs and Symptoms."

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/24/2015

Tinnitus Pictures Slideshow: Why Are My Ears Ringing?

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