For many, the symptoms were annoying but temporary. However, for at least 7% of sufferers, the condition was severe enough to impact their sleep, mood, and concentration. 

Characterized by a screeching, whistling, thumping, clicking, or even a dull, constant roar, tinnitus is more irritating than life-threatening. And though it often accompanies certain severe illnesses, tinnitus itself won't hurt you. Not physically, anyway.

As anyone who's suffered from persistent tinnitus will tell you, it tends to have a severe impact on one's quality of life. Yours doesn't have to, though. Although there's not yet a total cure for tinnitus, it can still be mitigated with the following advice for tinnitus relief. 

First, Determine the Cause

If you experience a tinnitus episode that lasts longer than 48 hours, there's a doctor's visit in your future. By performing a physical exam and running a small gamut of tests, they'll attempt to drill down to the condition's underlying cause. This can, in rare cases, be either diabetes or heart disease, meaning it's in your best interests to identify them and begin treatment as soon as possible—and not just because it could eliminate your tinnitus. 

Use a White Noise Machine

As you likely know, tinnitus is worse if your surroundings are totally quiet. Your brain doesn't have anything else to focus on. There are no sounds that it can classify as more 'important.'

That's what white noise devices are intended to address. By emitting a constant, low-frequency hum, they effectively drown out the tinnitus, training your brain to ignore the noises. Don't worry if you don't have the money to shell out for a professional-grade white noise device, though. 

You can just as easily get the same functionality with an air conditioner, air purifier, or sleep headphones with smart apps. 

Avoid Ototoxic Medication

If your tinnitus began shortly after you started a new round of medication, it might be the pills that are to blame. Several types of commonly-prescribed medicine are ototoxic, meaning they might potentially impede or damage your hearing. 

Contact your doctor to see if there are any alternative medications you can switch to—preferably without the troubling side effects. 

Seek Medical Treatment

Unfortunately, there are currently no medications or medical procedures known to treat tinnitus directly. The best you can do if you have the condition persistently is to train yourself to simply ignore it. 

If neither changing your medication nor using white noise provides anything resembling relief, you might need to find a clinic or specialized focus on treating tinnitus. They can help you understand, cope with, and ultimately overcome your systems. Treatment involves a two pronged approach that combines counseling with treatment by an audiologist. 

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)

Administered by an audiologist or at an audiology clinic, TRT combines sound masking through white noise with regular counseling sessions. This counseling is highly personalized, and the end goal is to eventually teach you to actively ignore the sound. We've likened it to breaking in a new set of clothes—uncomfortable at first, but gradually better the longer you wear them. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Administered by a registered mental health professional, CBT is intended to help you reframe how your mind engages with and classifies tinnitus 'noise.' More importantly, it also addresses the mental side of the condition and guides patients through treatment and management options for illnesses and conditions including depression, anxiety, poor stress management, and insomnia. 

Consider A Hearing Aid

Many modern hearing aids and their accompanying apps are designed with tinnitus relief in mind. They often include a built-in white noise generator to ensure you don't hear that constant, irritating ring while your hearing aid is in. Meanwhile, hearing aid apps typically offer guided tinnitus treatment sessions, adapting many of the same techniques as CBT and TRT to your phone. 

It's no alternative to being directly treated by a medical professional, but it can still be a great help.

As always, if you find yourself suffering from tinnitus or any other ear-related condition, Connect Hearing is here to help. Contact us today to book an appointment for a free audiology exam.