Tinnitus is the name given to the condition where you hear sounds that don’t come from an outside source. If you have tinnitus, you may be able to hear buzzing, humming or ringing noises even in a room that is totally silent. In many cases, tinnitus comes and goes without the need for treatment, but if you experience chronic tinnitus or your symptoms are getting worse, it’s time to see your audiologist.

How does an audiologist treat tinnitus?

Tinnitus doesn’t always require treatment, but in recurrent and long-term cases, there are therapies that can be incredibly beneficial. If you have severe symptoms or tinnitus is affecting your day-to-day life, an audiologist can provide effective treatments, which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing. Treatment options will depend on the underlying cause. The most common options include hearing aids, sound machines and tinnitus retraining therapy.

Hearing aids

Hearing aids are innovative devices, which are fitted to the exterior of the ear or placed inside the ear canal to increase the volume of external sounds. Hearing aids amplify noises, making them easier to hear. If you have tinnitus, you may find that your symptoms become more severe if you have hearing loss. This is because ordinarily, the symptoms of tinnitus would be masked by external noise. The void created by hearing loss makes the symptoms of tinnitus more noticeable. Hearing aids improve your hearing and they can also relieve symptoms of tinnitus by enabling you to hear a broader range of sounds from outside sources. There are many different types of hearing aids and your audiologist can go through the different options with you to help you find the perfect match.

Sound machines

Sound machines generate an array of noises, which are designed to stop you from focusing on the sounds caused by tinnitus. These machines can help to mask tinnitus symptoms, distract your brain and help you to feel more relaxed and at ease. Many people who suffer from tinnitus choose to use a sound machine at night when their symptoms tend to be worse due to it being quieter.

Tinnitus retraining therapy

Also known as TRT, tinnitus retraining therapy combines sound therapy with counseling. The aim is to enable you to cope better with tinnitus and to condition the brain to prevent it from concentrating on the noises that result from tinnitus. With TRT, you become less aware of tinnitus both on a conscious and subconscious level. One analogy that is used to describe this form of therapy is hearing rain falling on the roof. At first, you’re acutely aware of the sound of drops pounding the tiles, but after a while, it becomes white noise that ceases to grab your attention.

If you’re a tinnitus sufferer, there are ways of alleviating symptoms and it’s wise to consult your audiologist. Your audiologist can carry out tests and talk to you about your symptoms to ascertain possible causes and come up with suitable treatment ideas.