Therapy and Treatment Options
There are several well-established therapies for patients struggling with severe, chronic tinnitus. ATA encourages patients to embrace these tools, which can minimize the impact and burden of tinnitus.
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The primary objective for all currently-available tinnitus treatment options is to lower the perceived burden of tinnitus, allowing the patient to live a more comfortable, unencumbered, and content life.
There is currently no scientifically proven cure for most cases of chronic tinnitus — in particular the vast majority of cases caused by sensorineural hearing loss. The search for a definitive cure is ongoing and real progress is being made, but there is currently no clinically proven way to fully eliminate the perception of tinnitus.
There are, however, excellent tools to help patients manage their condition; treatments that reduce the perceived intensity, omnipresence, and burden of tinnitus. These currently available treatments are not “cures” — they neither repair the underlying causes of tinnitus, nor eliminate the tinnitus signal in the brain. Instead, they address the attentional, emotional, and cognitive impact of tinnitus. They help patients live better, more fulfilling, and more productive lives, even if the perception of tinnitus remains.
Some patients question the value of treatments that fall short of an absolute cure. ATA believes patients should do everything possible to lessen the burden of tinnitus until a definitive cure is found. An appropriate analogy may be the use of ibuprofen for a headache. Ibuprofen itself does not cure the underlying cause of most headaches, but it does reduce the pain that makes headaches feel so awful. Likewise, the most effective tinnitus treatment tools address the aspects of tinnitus that so often make the condition feel burdensome: anxiety, stress, social isolation, sound sensitivity, hearing difficulties, and perceived volume.
No two patients and no two tinnitus cases are alike. As such, the “best” treatment option is often contingent on an array of factors unique to each patient. Moreover, successful management of tinnitus may require overlapping layers of treatment. ATA recommends that patients work with their healthcare provider(s) to identify and implement the treatment strategy that is best suited to their particular needs.
Below is a list of currently available treatment options, organized into general categories.
Please note: ATA does not endorse or recommend any specific tinnitus products, treatments or providers.