Hearing Therapy Lead
People are often interested in new and emerging treatments for tinnitus. Although tinnitus is a common condition there are very few evidence-based treatments for it. The treatments that do currently exist for tinnitus focus on reducing the effects rather than getting rid of tinnitus. There will be more on current treatments for tinnitus in my next blog.
While new and emerging treatments for tinnitus can seem exciting, particularly if you experience tinnitus yourself, they must go through rigorous testing and robust peer review to demonstrate whether they work. Without this process it is impossible to say whether a treatment for tinnitus is likely to be helpful or not.
Research on tinnitus is reported in academic journals, but the research reported can vary in quality. The highest level of research is systematic review. In a systematic review multiple high quality research studies are combined. The next highest level of research is randomised control trials. If we read about ‘evidence’ for a tinnitus treatment that is based on any other type of research (e.g., case studies) we can be less certain about what the study tells us.
Fortunately, there are organisations whose job it is to gather large amounts of research, determine the quality of the research, and use this to provide guidance for health care professionals. For example, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence last published guidelines on Tinnitus assessment and management in March 2020 and the British Society of Audiology last published guidelines on Tinnitus in Adults in October 2021. These documents also provided guidance on which tinnitus treatments required further research.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (2020) as a treatment for tinnitus (more on this in the next blog). While this is not a new or emerging treatment, it is beginning to be delivered by audiologists where in the past it was only delivered by psychologists. This has potential for making Cognitive Behaviour Therapy easier to access for people with tinnitus.
Neuromodulation treatments use magnetic, electrical, and/or sound stimulation. These treatments aim to change brain activity associated with tinnitus. However, exactly what change is required to reduce tinnitus is unclear. Further research is required.
Please note there is currently no drug available to treat tinnitus.
Yes. New treatments are being suggested all the time. The treatments mentioned above are interesting because they show potential for being helpful. For some treatments it may be too early to say whether they have potential to be helpful for tinnitus or not. Furthermore, some suggested treatments may seem unlikely to be helpful based on current research.
Many treatments for tinnitus have been proposed, but few have been shown to be helpful. We must question whether new or emerging treatments have been tested appropriately. If you are concerned about your hearing, contact Chime or book a free online hearing test. Alternatively, you can visit the Chime Hearing Centre on Queen Street in Exeter and we will be happy to help you in any way we can.
If you want to know more about the latest treatment for tinnitus, we recommend the following as further reading: