Tinnitus is best described as a whirring, buzzing, hissing or ringing noise in your ear. Audiologists describe it as a subjective hearing problem because often, you’re the only one that can hear the sounds. This is why there’s such a wide range of vocabulary used to describe tinnitus and everyone experiences it differently.

This is also why everyone copes with tinnitus in their own way. When treating tinnitus, there are a number of things to consider to determine the best treatment for your individual needs, such as how often you experience, the symptoms you exhibit and the relief you’re looking for. This means that your ideal tinnitus solution will vary depending on a number of factors and it’s best to speak with a trained audiologist in order to determine the best treatment for your specific needs.

Hearing aids

Hearing aids are a common treatment for tinnitus, even if you don’t have a degree of hearing loss. Hearing aids can be equipped with masking features that will help you focus on a sound other than the tinnitus noise.

Alternatively, if you have hearing loss and are experiencing tinnitus, then you could get the same effect as a suppression device or even headphones by simply using your hearing aids. Hearing aids are often the best form of relief for tinnitus especially if patients are also experiencing hearing loss because you effectively knock out two birds with a single stone. You get to restore your hearing with the help of a hearing aid while also lowering the effects of tinnitus.

Hearing aids can even come with tinnitus therapy settings and modes which will help you mask the sounds. They work by overriding the tinnitus sounds and providing peace from the noise you consistently hear. Many people find that they can cope with many different tinnitus symptoms – even severe ones – by just using their hearing aids on a regular basis.

Therapy options

There’s also the option of tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) that uses professional training to help you subconsciously recognize and ignore the background noises caused by tinnitus. This is a very effective method of dealing with tinnitus and is often used in tandem with hearing aids. TRT is an ideal solution for tinnitus because it addresses the sounds you hear with a manageable method.

Additionally, cognitive therapy can be helpful for individuals with tinnitus because of the emotional issues this condition can present. Many people with tinnitus report feelings of anxiety, stress, frustration, anger and even depression. If these emotions are not addressed, individuals can find themselves withdrawing from social situations because they do not fully understand how to quiet the noise.

Tinnitus suppression devices

Another popular option is to utilize a noise masking or suppression device. These will generate white noise that can mask the effects of tinnitus and are generally considered very effective. However, it’s not fantastic for long-term tinnitus problems because you do need to wear devices that resemble hearing aids. Although they can help you sleep or even allow you to focus on your work during bouts of tinnitus, there are other similar solutions that don’t require you to speak to your audiologist such as smartphone apps, headphones and just listening to music.

It’s also possible to purchase free-standing white noise generation machines. These are generally more useful if you’re sitting in a quiet room and don’t want to wear a device or use hearing aids, and they can be surprisingly effective in certain situations like bathing, sleeping or when you want to relax.

Everyone has different levels of tinnitus, but it’s generally accepted that if you do experience tinnitus and want to try a suppression device, it’s good to try regular headphones first and various apps and music to first see if you can mask the tinnitus with your own devices. If not, then you can speak to an audiologist here at Salyer Hearing Center that can suggest a good suppression device for your needs.

Contact an audiologist

Tinnitus can be a frustrating condition to cope with, which is why it’s important you contact an audiologist to have your symptoms evaluated and to get the relief you need. At Salyer Hearing Center, our audiologists can examine your auditory system, evaluate your needs and present a solution. You can contact one of our audiologists by calling us at one of our three locations:

Sylva: 828-586-7474
Franklin: 828-524-5599
Murphy: 828-835-1014

Whether it’s personally affecting you or is bothering a friend or family member, we’re more than happy to speak with you.