It is sometimes difficult to tell which of the multitude of tinnitus treatments is most effective for curing your symptoms. The causes behind this seemingly impasse are complicated. In addition, tinnitus treatments may also differ depending upon the severity of the condition. Thus, it is necessary to first determine the cause of your tinnitus and then proceed to choose from the various available options.
It is generally accepted that tinnitus results from hearing loss. The loss of hearing enhances the perception of sound within the surrounding environment, causing perceived sounds to become louder. The degree of hearing loss can range from mild to severe, with a complete loss of hearing functioning only producing a very quiet tone. This type of tinnitus manifests itself as a ringing, buzzing, whistling, clicking, or any other kind of irritating sound within the ear.
In some cases, the loss of hearing may be due to damage to the brain or nerves, while in others it may be due to purely physiological factors like aging, stress, or noise-induced hearing loss. The former is known as sensorineural tinnitus and it manifests as a loss of hearing ability with a perception of increasing sound pressure inside the ear. The latter, called objective tinnitus, manifests as a perception of sound in the external environment but without an external source of sound.
There are several alternative tinnitus treatments that you may try at home to get rid of your tinnitus. One of these is behavioral therapy, which involves training the sufferer to control their inner-ear electrical activity. This is done by means of an audiologist who will use monitoring devices to record the electrical impulses in the ear and then train the sufferer to control the impulses through behavioral therapy. These behavioral therapies have been shown to provide significant improvement in patients, although they tend to be more expensive.
Neurofeedback is another treatment option that has been used by several tinnitus patients to manage their symptoms. Neurofeedback is based on the principle that tinnitus patients’ abnormal neural activity can be turned around by analyzing brain waves. Several studies have shown that this principle may hold the key to managing tinnitus. No clinical studies have been conducted on this method and a paper regarding these results was presented at the 2021 IFPS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.
A third tinnitus treatment option is using a method called “spontaneous otoacoustic emissions”. This method has been developed by Yap van Zuijtelaar and his team at the University of Twente in The Netherlands. Their research indicates that there may be a connection between tinnitus and the auditory system. Van Zuijtelaar’s team found that tinnitus patients who listened to background music showed a significantly lower level of auditory evoked response (AER) than those who did not listen to any background noise. They further observed that this lower level of AER was directly related to the increased level of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions measured from the patient’s brain.