How to Get Relief from Tinnitus – Learn Effective Tinnitus Remedies

woman using her pillow to cover her painful ears

Tinnitus can be a difficult condition to struggle with. Some days can be good, while other days are not so good. In addition to your treatment, you may be looking for ways to find relief from tinnitus. We will discuss the various tinnitus remedies available for those looking to quiet the buzz in their ears.

How To Get Relief From Tinnitus?

You can find relief from tinnitus by employing several tinnitus remedies. These remedies can include a combination of general lifestyle changes, medications, and behavioral therapies.

Some of the therapies listed below are home remedies that can be applied yourself, while others may require treatment by a therapist or an ENT.

Tinnitus Remedies

Listed below are a few tinnitus remedies that you can use. This is not a tinnitus treatment plan but these steps can relieve your symptoms.

Ear Protection

Protecting your ears is the first remedy for tinnitus. If nothing else, ear/ hearing protection can prevent tinnitus from worsening.

Chris Martin of Coldplay reports that after wearing ear protection and molded filter plugs, his tinnitus has remained stable. Martin explains that he believes his tinnitus originated from listening to loud music as a teen.

If you are someone who works with a lot of loud noises, then consider investing in noise-canceling headphones or protection.

Also, reducing noise exposure will protect both your ears and the outer hair cells, which are responsible for hearing sound. If you already have some age-related hearing loss due to loud noise, consider a hearing aid.

Reduce Stress

A correlation has been researched and discovered that links stress and tinnitus. 

High levels of stress can cause tinnitus. Tinnitus can lead to high levels of stress. This can easily become a cycle. In order to break free from this cycle, you will have to change your thoughts and behaviors.

A variety of methods can be used to reduce stress including breathing exercises, guided imagery, getting a pet, or simply spending time with friends and family. Additionally, working with a therapist can help you through the use of mindfulness-based stress reduction.

Otology Treatment

Otology treatment involves multiple steps. The first step is to avoid prescribed medications that may be harmful to your inner ear. You can review these medications with your primary healthcare provider.

The second step is to meet with your ENT and schedule the removal of any impacted wax. Any foreign body in the ear can also cause tinnitus.

The final step to treat tinnitus is to consider investing in hearing aids. There are a variety of hearing aids available based on your particular needs.

The basic hearing aids will amplify external sounds, thereby dampening the internal ringing in the ears. The loud external sounds also refocus the attention of the brain from the buzzing, to the environmental sounds.

Modern hearing aids now come with sound masking functionality. These aids play ambient sounds or nature sounds and are custom-made.

Sound Devices

There are various sound devices like tabletop devices and sound masking machines that can help manage severe tinnitus symptoms. These masking devices often play nature sounds, white noise, and other ambient sounds. Some devices even play music.

These sound therapies work by masking the ringing from tinnitus and help distract individuals from their symptoms. Many tinnitus sufferers have found this tinnitus therapy to be extremely useful for chronic tinnitus.

You can also use sound apps that use a similar strategy of masking noise to help you fall asleep or complete your work.

Medications

There have been many drugs that have been used to try and treat the symptoms associated with tinnitus. Some medications intended for other conditions have been noted to relieve tinnitus. In particular, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and anxiolytics.

It is important to note that there are not currently any FDA-approved drugs for tinnitus.

Antidepressants like trimipramine, nortriptyline, paroxetine, and trazodone can help reduce tinnitus. Nortriptyline has been found to be more successful at reducing tinnitus loudness and tinnitus disability, in addition to decreasing the associated symptom of depression.

Anxiolytics used to reduce anxiety, like diazepam, clonazepam, and alprazolam, decrease tinnitus symptoms. Clonazepam has been shown to fare the best among the three because of its decrease in tinnitus’ volume and annoyance.

Anticonvulsant medications like Vigabatrin (Sabril®) and Tiagabine (Gabitril®), are currently being studied in animals as they have been found to reduce tinnitus.

Apart from this, gabapentin, valproate, carbamazepine, lidocaine, acamprosate, and many other medications may reduce tinnitus. Medications to control high blood pressure can also alleviate pulsatile tinnitus.

Other drugs in various combinations are under trial to treat tinnitus.The search for a cure is still ongoing.

Tinnitus Management Therapy

Masking therapy exposes a person to background noise, like white noise, nature sounds, or ambient sounds, to mask tinnitus noise or distract attention away from it.

Tinnitus management therapy is a multidisciplinary approach. It involves behavioral and audiology components as well. These therapies include Tinnitus Masking therapy (TMT) and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT).

While the masking therapy is similar to what is done with sound devices and tabletop machines, retraining therapy differs slightly.

Instead of ameliorating the sounds, Retraining Therapy does just that, it helps you become habituated to the sound. Tinnitus retraining therapy has been controversial because its efficacy has been uncertain.

Certain trials have proven beneficial while others have shown little improvement. TRT is a combination of very specific tinnitus counseling coupled with sound therapy.

TRT posits that after extensive counseling by trained audiologists, people with tinnitus are habituated to the perceived amount of tinnitus, its perception, and any negative emotional reactions to tinnitus.

A large randomized clinical trial proved that with tinnitus counseling alone, many individuals have found their tinnitus reduced. Combined with sound therapy and habituation, the results were far better.

In some cases, a person can gradually become habituated to a new sound instead, as the previously identified sound is drowned out. TRT requires trained personnel. While tinnitus counseling is loosely interpreted, the creator of TRT has a very clear definition of TRT and what it involves.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is usually done in conjunction with a behavioral therapist. The umbrella term here is CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT utilizes various techniques to curb the responses and retrain the body.

CBT can involve hypnotherapy, biofeedback, and counseling. Mindfulness-based exercises and other cognitive treatments can be used to help people with tinnitus. In fact, there has been a lot of success using CBT.

Studies have shown that while CBT does not affect the acoustic component of tinnitus, it does improve a person’s response to tinnitus.

The principle of CBT is identifying negative thought patterns regarding tinnitus. After identification, it involves changing the emotional, behavioral and physiological response to this thought into a more positive thought pattern.

The only downside to CBT is that it takes time. You will need to practice CBT consistently for at least three months, before seeing results.

Muscle Therapy

Tinnitus treatment could involve treating dental infections, realigning your bite, and treating any cervical spinal disease.

Since temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction can cause tinnitus, chiropractors and massage therapists have also been found to reduce tinnitus symptoms.

TMJ dysfunction is a condition involving the jaw joint and its muscles. Treating dysfunction in the joint, its muscles, and the blood vessels can provide some relief for people with ringing in their ears.

Treatment could involve treating dental infections, realigning your bite, and treating any cervical spinal disease. Tinnitus treatments, in this case, may also involve neck surgery if necessary. You will need to work with specialists in this area.

Alternative Remedies

Many other remedies have been postulated to help reduce tinnitus symptoms including: acupuncture, Korean medicine, Chinese medicine, herbal alternatives like Ginkgo Balboa, Gushen Pianas, Ginseng, Yoku-kan-san, zinc, garlic supplements, homeopathy, and melatonin.

While there are case reports of people who do find relief from these natural tinnitus remedies, there are not any wide-scale clinical trials that have documented any clinical successes.

If you choose to use them, exercise caution. Keep in mind that some of them may even make tinnitus worse.

There are also various experimental therapies like Deep Brain Stimulation and Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) that are being studied worldwide.

These treatments are approved for other conditions like headaches and Parkinson’s disease. However, they have been shown to improve tinnitus in many people and are under investigation as a treatment for tinnitus.

Ancillary Remedies

Ancillary remedies like ditching caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol are also helpful in reducing tinnitus. Along with this is exercising and practicing mindfulness. All in all, implementing tinnitus remedies should involve a multipronged approach.

A Sound Investment

If you want to find ways to reduce the ringing, you should consider using a combination of the above tinnitus remedies. There is no “one size fits all solution.”

Alternative therapies and experimental treatment options are emerging. However, until a breakthrough, some of the remedies may help in the interim.

Citations

1. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/coldplay-s-chris-martin-reveals-tinnitus-struggle-7714805.html

2. Jun HJ, Park MK. Cognitive behavioral therapy for tinnitus: evidence and efficacy. Korean J Audiol. 2013;17(3):101-104. doi:10.7874/kja.2013.17.3.101

3. The Tinnitus Retraining Therapy Trial Research Group. Effect of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy vs Standard of Care on Tinnitus-Related Quality of Life: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019;145(7):597–608. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2019.0821

4. Phillips JS, McFerran D. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) for tinnitus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;2010(3): CD007330. Published 2010 Mar 17. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007330.pub2

5. Mazurek B, Stöver T, Haupt H, et al. Bedeutung von Stress : Seine Rolle im auditorischen System und bei der Tinnitusentstehung [The significance of stress: its role in the auditory system and the pathogenesis of tinnitus]. HNO. 2010;58(2):162-172. doi:10.1007/s00106-009-2001-5