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What are the Different Treatments for Ringing in the Ears?

By M.R. Anglin
Updated May 17, 2024
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In order to relieve ringing in the ears, a condition also known as tinnitus, patients can try relaxing or using various techniques to mask the noise. For more serious cases, patients should see a doctor for treatment. Doctors may prescribe medication or recommend that the patient change his diet or other habits to bring relief. For most people, ringing in the ears is a temporary condition, but for others it can be chronic. Since tinnitus may be a symptom of a larger problem, it is important to see a doctor to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of the ringing.

Sometimes, ringing in the ears is caused by excess earwax or an ear infection. Generally, a doctor will clear out the wax using a suction-powered instrument or a water bath, and may prescribe antibiotics or other medication for an infection. In more serious cases, the ringing may be a symptom of a tumor or another condition that must be treated by a specialist. Surgery may be an option in this case, or other treatments as recommended by the specialist.

For some patients, simply masking the ringing may be effective. For example, a person can listen to music, or create a recording of white noises, such as a shower running, and listen to it through headphones if the ringing becomes unbearable. In addition, a person who has trouble sleeping because of the ringing can listen to radio static set to a barely audible volume in order to mask the ringing.

In the case of chronic ringing in the ears, a doctor may prescribe medicine, which sometimes is given intravenously and may only offer temporary relief. Hearing aids and other devices can also help to mask ringing in the ears. For example, there is a device that looks like a hearing aid, but produces a pleasant sound that drowns out the ringing. A technique called auditory habituation involves a device that produces soft white noise that helps "teach" the brain how to ignore the ringing.

Researchers have discovered that stress can increase ringing in the ears. If that is the case, relaxing can be a treatment option, although some people may need help from a professional in order to learn how to relax. A person can also change his lifestyle habits. For example, alcohol, smoking, and caffeine can make the ringing worse, so a person may do well to avoid these habits. A person should also avoid loud noises as much as possible, and can even use earplugs if necessary.

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