Almost every day, patients ask me if the herbal supplements they see on TV or magazines actually work to relieve tinnitus. I usually tell them, despite the many advertising claims, that no medication or herbal supplement has been shown in well-designed studies to cure tinnitus. If something really worked, I would be selling it in my office.
Although there are no medications to treat the tinnitus, sometimes a medication can cause tinnitus, and stopping or changing that medication can eliminate the tinnitus. It can even be the interactions of taking two or more medications that can be causing the tinnitus. You should check with the physician who prescribed the medication(s) before stopping them. But if you think this might be a factor in your tinnitus, it might be worth talking with your physician.
There have been many other treatments that have been tried over they years such as counseling, biofeedback therapy, sound therapy, tinnitus maskers, sound generating devices and others. A recent Better Hearing Institute study found that hearing aids provided the greatest success in relieving tinnitus.
Most people with tinnitus also have a hearing loss, and most of you will improve your hearing abilities with hearing aids. Hearing aids can also help tinnitus Hearing aids reduce the stress associated with the need to carefully listen. . The reduction in stress makes it easier to accommodate to the tinnitus. Hearing aids amplify background sounds, and for many people this partial masking reduces the loudness or prominence of the tinnitus. The recent study by the Better Hearing Institute determined the following with respect to the use of hearing aids in mitigating the effects of tinnitus:
- 27.8% of hearing aid users reported receiving moderate to substantial reduction in their tinnitus when using their hearing aids.
- Two out of three people experienced tinnitus relief most of the time to all of the time, while three out of ten (29%) reported the use of hearing aids alleviated their tinnitus all of the time.
- Subjects who had their hearing aids fit by hearing health professionals, who used a more comprehensive hearing aid fitting protocol, were nearly twice as likely to experience tinnitus relief than people fit by hearing health professionals who used a minimalist hearing aid fitting protocol.
If you have been suffering from tinnitus, ask your primary physician to refer you to an audiologist for a comprehensive hearing exam. A thorough test by an audiologist will help your primary care physician decide if any further examination is necessary to rule out a serious problem such as an acoustic tumor which can also cause tinnitus..
I have found over the years that properly fit hearing aids can provide substantial relief from tinnitus for many patients. The masking provided by the hearing aids is not a cure; the sound amplified by the aids acts as a masker to help cover up the annoying tinnitus and improves the quality of life for that individual.
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