What is the best way to cure tinnitus symptoms? Our guide outlines the basic medical science behind understanding tinnitus, and the strategies to cure the symptoms.
Buzzing, whistling or crackling: tinnitus manifests itself in a variety of ways. The technical term generally refers to ear noises. Affected people usually perceive this as uncomfortable and annoying. Chronic tinnitus in particular can become a major burden. Can Tinnitus Be Cured? What are the treatment options for acute and chronic tinnitus and how do you cure tinnitus symptoms?
Around 40 percent of all people suffer from acute tinnitus at least once in their life. The word is derived from the Latin “tinnire”, which means “ringing” and is also called tinnitus aurium in medical terms . The ear noises appear in a variety of forms and are perceived as a beep, sound or noise in the ear. The symptoms can appear on one or both sides.
If the ear noises have only been present for a short time, one speaks of acute tinnitus. If it lasts longer than three months, one speaks of chronic tinnitus. About ten to 20 percent of all people are affected. Tinnitus itself is a symptom that can have different causes. The treatment is therefore not the same for all patients, but depends on the cause, the severity and any other symptoms.
Anyone who detects ringing in the ears should see an ear, nose and throat doctor as soon as possible. In acute cases, this gives the best chance of curing tinnitus. Speed is crucial here: the sooner you see a doctor, the better the healing options. If you are unsure, take courage and see a doctor as soon as possible. Because the longer the tinnitus symptoms last , the more difficult the treatment becomes when you want to cure tinnitus symptoms.
The causes of tinnitus are varied and not always clear. It is assumed that around a third of all acute tinnitus cases are caused by a so-called bang trauma. So these are triggered by a loud noise. Other causes of tinnitus are ear wax plugs, stress, diseases of the inner ear such as Meniere’s disease or hearing loss in old age. In addition, problems with the neck muscles and teeth can trigger ringing in the ears.
How to cure tinnitus – acute version
If you are wondering what to do about tinnitus, you first have to research the causes. The tinnitus treatment depends on the respective trigger for the ringing in the ears. If there is an organic underlying disease, this is treated first. If there is tension in the spine, manual therapy with massage and chiropractic will help. Dental treatment provides relief for tooth and jaw problems.
If the ear noises are caused by a blast trauma, such as an explosion or loud music, the doctor will administer infusions. These are said to improve the blood flow to the inner ear and thus the oxygen supply. Vasodilating cortisone is also used to cure acute tinnitus. Alternatively, the otolaryngologist can carry out hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The patient inhales 100 percent oxygen in a pressure chamber. In studies, this therapy has been shown to be more effective than drug treatment.
Is chronic tinnitus curable?
While acute tinnitus can usually be treated fairly well, this is not the case with chronic tinnitus. Over time, the brain learns to perceive the annoying ear noise. Those affected hear it even after the trigger has long been eliminated. The reason for this is a pathological overactivity of the hearing centers in the brain. Even treating an underlying illness no longer brings lasting relief.
From time to time, miracle cures wander through the press, which promise a complete abatement of the ear noises. However, patients should be skeptical. In fact, it is currently not possible to cure chronic tinnitus. Instead, tinnitus therapy aims to reduce ear noises. Patients should learn to no longer perceive the disturbing noises and thus gain a better quality of life.
Alleviate chronic tinnitus with tinnitus retraining therapy
For chronic ear noises, doctors rely on the so-called tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT). The aim is to initiate a learning process so that the sounds are perceived as less disturbing.
Prof. Pawel J. Jastreboff from Georgia, USA, and Dr. Jonathan Hazell from London developed tinnitus retraining therapy in 1990. It is based on three pillars:
- With tinnitus counceling, patients receive information and advice. You will learn how tinnitus develops and how it affects the body.
- Hearing therapy relies on hearing aids and a tinnitus noiser. This emits a counter-noise, which overlays the tinnitus.
- Behavioral and psychotherapeutic measures should make it easier to deal with ear noises. This also includes relaxation methods such as autogenic training and distraction from sport.
Otorhinolaryngologists (sometimes call Ear, Nose and Throat — or ENT — specialists), hearing care professionals and psychotherapists work hand in hand for the TRT.
A further development of the TRT is the neurootological-psychosomatic tinnitus therapy (NPT), which also relies on the components counseling, hearing therapy and behavioral therapy. The treatment usually lasts 18 months and is carried out on an outpatient basis. In particularly severe cases, a stay in a special tinnitus clinic may be advisable. Aside from everyday stress, those affected should relax here and learn how to deal with tinnitus.
Other forms of therapy are used for pulse-synchronous tinnitus, the so-called pulse in the ear .
Treatment with hearing aids and tinnitus ‘white noiser’
Around half of those affected have chronic tinnitus associated with hearing loss. Hearing therapy is therefore an important part of TRT. A hearing aid compensates for hearing loss. Devices for tinnitus patients integrate the so-called noiser. This emits a continuous noise, a “white noise”. As a rule, this sound is a little quieter than the tinnitus perceived by the patient.
The brain can no longer deal exclusively with the tinnitus sound. It learns to perceive ambient noise again. Patients are less focused on their ear noise, whereupon it takes a back seat to subjective perception. Studies show that the TRT can convert a tinnitus that was previously considered to be unbearable into tolerable noises. You can’t really cure tinnitus with it, but patients can live with it much better.
Alternative therapies for tinnitus
Those who want to cure tinnitus often also look for alternative therapy options. An alternative to the noiser is, for example, music therapy. Just like the noiser, the music should distract the brain from the sound of the ear and help the patient to concentrate less on the tinnitus.
Other sufferers rely on homeopathy, acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine. Classic naturopathy, osteopathy and kinesiology are also offered for tinnitus treatment. These procedures do not replace going to an ENT doctor. Sudden ear noises should always first be clarified medically. As a complementary therapy, however, the measures mentioned can provide relief to some of those affected.