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Sally Lavender

Hearing Therapy Lead

What are the most effective treatments for tinnitus?

Posted on 2022-06-22 15:24:00 in General

In my previous blog I discussed that despite tinnitus being a common condition there are few evidence-based treatments for it, but: what are the most effective treatments for tinnitus?

The most effective treatments for tinnitus focus on reducing the effects rather than getting rid of the condition. Some people have tinnitus which has no effect or limited effect. These people may not require any treatment for their tinnitus, or they may find information and reassurance helpful. Some people have tinnitus which has a mild impact, these people may benefit from self-help (e.g., self-help books/online resources, and/or relaxation) and/or support groups. For some people tinnitus has a significant impact and they may require additional treatment. For these people the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) (2020) recommends Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an effective treatment.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is based on the concept that thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are related, and that negative thoughts and feelings can create a vicious cycle. CBT aims to help people deal with overwhelming problems in a positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy teaches people to change how they perceive and react to their tinnitus to improve how they feel. Unlike some other talking therapies CBT deals with current problems rather than focusing on issues from the past. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy enables people to find practical ways to improve their state of mind daily. At the end of the course of CBT a person is likely to still have tinnitus, but it will have less impact on them. There is good evidence base for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for tinnitus. CBT can be delivered online, in group sessions or in individual sessions.

Are Hearing Aids an Effective Treatment for Tinnitus?

NICE (2020) recommends people with tinnitus and hearing loss are offered hearing aids. While there is limited evidence on whether using hearing aids is directly beneficial for tinnitus, it is noted that sometimes people with tinnitus do not realise they have hearing loss (perhaps thinking their communicating difficulties relate to tinnitus). It is thought that using hearing aids may be beneficial for tinnitus by making external sounds clearer (comparatively the tinnitus seems less noticeable). However, hearing aids are not recommended for people with tinnitus who do not have a hearing loss, as this could damage hearing.

Are there any other effective treatments for Tinnitus?

While Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the only National Institute of Clinical Excellence (2020) recommended management for tinnitus, there are other treatments commonly used. For example, mindfulness, sound therapy, tai chi, and tinnitus retraining therapy are commonly used as treatments for tinnitus. While we do not yet fully understand whether these are beneficial for tinnitus, they are safe. Therefore, some people may try them in the hope of them being beneficial. It is important to note that some proposed treatments for tinnitus are not safe. The British Tinnitus Association has more information on the safety and effectiveness of treatments for tinnitus.

Please note, that while tinnitus is common and usually not associated with underlying physical problems (apart from hearing loss), if your tinnitus is: persistent and in time with your pulse; persistent and only in one ear; associated with other symptoms; and/or having a significant impact on your mental wellbeing, we recommend discussing this with your GP.

If you are considering treatments for tinnitus or worried about your hearing, please don’t hesitate to contact us today

What are the most effective treatments for tinnitus?