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What Is Tinnitus?

Despite the commonly held belief that tinnitus is a disease, it is actually a medical condition that involves a persistent ringing in one or both ears that is only audible to the affected individual. Although tinnitus is often described as a ringing sound in the ear, it can also take the form of whistling, hissing, buzzing, or pulsing. While some people experience intermittent tinnitus, others suffer from it continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These phantom sounds can cause mild irritation or severely disrupt everyday life. The American Tinnitus Association reports that more than 50 million Americans experience occasional bouts of tinnitus.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of factors, with exposure to loud noise for a prolonged period of time being the most common. Depending on the severity of the sound, this exposure can result in temporary or permanent damage to hearing. Tinnitus is also associated with many prescription medications, herbs, and chemicals. While it may not always be possible to determine whether temporary damage will become permanent, tinnitus is often indicative of an inner-ear problem. Ongoing research into tinnitus is shedding light on the mechanisms that cause this condition in the brain and inner ear. Some potential causes of tinnitus include:

Exposure to loud noise

Certain medications


Head trauma


Eardrum blockage

Jaw joint disorders

Hearing loss

While it is rare, tinnitus can also be caused by a blood vessel disorder, resulting in what is known as pulsatile tinnitus. This form of tinnitus is characterized by pulsing sounds that are synchronized with the individual’s heartbeat. Pulsatile tinnitus may be caused by a head or neck tumor, a buildup of cholesterol in the circulatory system, high blood pressure, turbulent blood flow, or malformation of the capillaries surrounding the ear. In these cases, the pulsatile tinnitus is caused by blood flow through the vessels in the head or neck, rather than a problem with the inner ear itself.

Is There a Cure for Tinnitus?

Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure for tinnitus. However, we can work with you to identify potential causes for your specific symptoms and develop a plan to help reduce the impact of tinnitus on your daily life. Depending on the cause of your tinnitus, changes to your diet or medications may be helpful in managing your symptoms. Additionally, relaxation methods such as meditation and stress reduction techniques may help alleviate the constant ringing in your ears. While we may not be able to completely eliminate your tinnitus, we can work with you to find ways to manage and cope with your symptoms.

What Are the Treatment Options for Tinnitus?

To address your tinnitus symptoms, diagnostic testing and evaluation by an Audiologist can help rule out possible medical factors that may be contributing to your condition. Given the unique and personal nature of tinnitus symptoms, a thorough evaluation can help us develop a specialized treatment plan for you.

While there is no single cure for tinnitus, our audiologists possess the knowledge and expertise to offer various treatment methods that can help alleviate the impact of tinnitus on your life. In many cases, the combination of tinnitus and hearing loss can be addressed through the use of our hearing technology.

One of the most effective treatment options for tinnitus and hearing loss is the use of a personal hearing system, which can enhance your hearing ability and often reduce or eliminate the perception of tinnitus. There are several treatment options available, including:

Hearing technology: Our is considered the top treatment option for individuals who experience both hearing loss and tinnitus. By enhancing overall hearing ability, our technology can also help eliminate the perception of ringing in the ears.

Masking: A masker is an electronic device that can be worn in the ear similar to a hearing aid. It produces low-level sounds that can help distract from the ringing sensation of tinnitus. In addition to maskers, there are also bedside sound generators and other devices that can be used to help remove the perception of ringing. These devices produce sounds such as white noise, which can help mask the sound of tinnitus and provide relief. Our audiologists can work with you to determine which device or combination of devices is most effective for your specific symptoms.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy: We specialize in a therapeutic process that has provided relief to many of our patients suffering from tinnitus. This process combines sound therapy and counseling to alter the neural signals in the brain, weakening the perception of tinnitus and allowing for a more peaceful daily life. Through sound therapy, we deliver specific tones and frequencies that target the individual’s tinnitus. Counseling is also provided to help patients manage the emotional and psychological impact of tinnitus. Together, this approach has been successful in reducing the severity of tinnitus symptoms for many of our patients.

We do not offer this service at Denver Audiology, but we can refer you to a local therapist!

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of counseling that has been shown to be effective in managing tinnitus. CBT helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors related to their tinnitus, and develop coping skills to better manage the condition. This type of therapy can also help reduce stress and anxiety, which are often associated with tinnitus. CBT can be used alone or in combination with other treatments, and can be done in person or via telehealth.

We do not offer this service at Denver Audiology, but we can refer you to a local therapist!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there medications for tinnitus?

It is important to note that while some people may find relief from these methods, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for tinnitus. Additionally, these methods may not work for everyone, and some may require professional treatment to manage their tinnitus symptoms. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or audiologist before trying any new treatments or making changes to your lifestyle or medications.

Can tinnitus be cured?

While ongoing research provides hope for a cure in the future, current treatments focus on managing the symptoms and reducing their impact on daily life. It is important to continue to seek professional help from audiologists and otolaryngologists to ensure the best possible treatment for your specific case of tinnitus.

Does tinnitus cause hearing loss?

Tinnitus can be a symptom of many different conditions, including hearing loss, exposure to loud noise, head and neck injuries, certain medications, and more. It’s important to identify the underlying cause of tinnitus in order to develop an effective treatment plan.

Why is tinnitus worse at night?

Tinnitus can be more noticeable in quiet environments, especially at night when there are fewer distractions. Stress can also contribute to tinnitus symptoms or make them more noticeable. Additionally, fatigue or lack of sleep can worsen the perception of tinnitus.