Tinnitus becomes disturbing if symptoms persist for an extended period of time. When this is the case, your doctor does a complete physical exam to determine if there is an underlying cause for the ringing in your ears. During this exam, inform your doctor of any medications that you are currently taking. Some medications have been shown to cause tinnitus symptoms. If the doctor is unable to determine what is leading to this problem, an otolaryngologist or otologist may need to be seen. An audiologist is another specialist that you may be referred to. Nerve and hearing tests will be done and an imaging technique may be used to look for any structural issues.
When your doctor or specialist determines that the tinnitus is the result of medical condition you are suffering from, treatment for that condition must begin first. If this does not clear up the tinnitus or your doctor determines it is the result of continued exposure to loud noise, non-medical treatments may be recommended. There are situations in which this condition will clear up all on its own. No matter what treatment is prescribed, symptoms of tinnitus remain. There is no way to completely eliminate or reduce all ringing of the ears.
Medications often help reduce or eliminate the ear ringing symptoms. Low doses of anti-anxiety drugs have been shown to help in this case. This may include Elavil, an antidepressant, or Valium. Lidocaine, normally used for the treatment of abnormal heart rhythms, relieves tinnitus for some patients. This medication is given intravenously though and only lasts for a short period of time, making it impractical for use with most cases of tinnitus.
Hearing aids may be of assistance in cases where tinnitus is accompanied by hearing loss of lesser degrees. Tinnitus maskers benefit some as they produce a sound in the ear that is more pleasing than the noise created by tinnitus. A tinnitus instrument is one in which a hearing aid is combined with a masker. Significant hearing loss due to tinnitus is treated with the help of a cochlear implant, more commonly used to treat those with severe deafness.
Many other treatment options may be offered for relief from tinnitus symptoms. Biofeedback, cognitive therapy and tinnitus retraining therapy are three your doctor may suggest you try. Dental treatment helps those suffering from tinnitus due to TMJ while acupuncture, vitamin therapy and magnets have assisted others. Talk to your doctor about your tinnitus and work out a treatment plan that provides the relief you want and need. There is no reason to live with this condition when treatments are available.