Tinnitus is a bothersome ringing in the ears that may come and go, or persist indefinitely. It is sometimes described as a whooshing, hissing, or buzzing instead. There is no cure for tinnitus, but because it’s considered a symptom rather than a medical condition, treating the underlying condition can bring some relief. Causes of tinnitus vary from natural aging and excessive noise exposure to head or neck trauma, cardiovascular disease, and disorders such as Meniere’s, Lyme Disease, and fibromyalgia.
Sometimes, there is no treatment for tinnitus. Other times, it may go away on its own. Simple solutions, such as removing excess earwax or switched to a different medication, are sometimes helpful. Vascular conditions may respond to medication or surgery.
When all else fails, noise suppression therapy can be a highly effective treatment. White noise can be used to mask the distracting sound until it fades into the background and becomes less noticeable. A number of electronic devices can be used to accomplish this, from white noise machines that come programmed with a variety of built-in nature sounds, to air conditioners and fans, whose motors cover up other background sounds while running. Hearing aids can be used in the same fashion. Tinnitus retraining devices rely on programmed musical patterns at specific frequencies to divert the brain’s attention from other noises. You may need counseling in conjunction with this type of device, in order to achieve maximum effectiveness.