Tinnitus Treatment

Tinnitus (pronounced ti-NIGHT-us or TIN-i-tus) is a phantom sound, meaning that no one can hear it but the person who has it. For most people, it sounds like “ringing in the ears,” though it can also appear as a roaring, clicking, screeching, or hissing sound. It may happen frequently or constantly.

About 25 million Americans have experienced tinnitus. Tinnitus is not a “disease” in itself. It is a symptom associated with much other underlying hearing or medical issues. It is the #1 medical concern affecting veterans returning from active duty while hearing loss is #2. Some of the common causes of tinnitus include:

Hearing Loss

Most people who have tinnitus also have some form of hearing loss. It is thought that damaged or broken stereocilia in the inner ear may “leak” signals to the brain, which we interpret as tinnitus.

Loud Noise

Extremely loud noise may cause temporary tinnitus, but it may also cause permanent hearing loss and tinnitus. The greater the amount of exposure, the more serious the tinnitus and hearing loss may become.


There are over 200 medications that can cause tinnitus. Aspirin is one of the more common ones. If you take medication regularly and have tinnitus, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether the medication may be the cause.

Some people are not bothered by tinnitus. It may be that during the day, when another sound is present, they don’t even notice it. At night, it may be noticeable but not bothersome. For others, tinnitus can be extremely distracting. It can slow down work, prevent sleep, and result in depression and anxiety.

Assessment and Treatment of Tinnitus

At Austin Hearing Services, our years of experience have led to the development of a variety of approaches to treating tinnitus that provide relief for the majority of our patients. Before treatment, we conduct a comprehensive assessment to find the root cause(s) of your tinnitus. This assessment includes pure-tone audiometry, tympanometry, acoustic reflexes, otoacoustic emissions, and speech discrimination tests.

We also conduct an interview using the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) to grade the severity of your tinnitus. Based on our objective measurements and your subjective experience of your tinnitus, we put together a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Treatment may include the use of hearing aids, sound therapy, and/or behavioral modification therapy.

Doctor Talking to Her Patient While Sitting Together

Medical Clearance

Most often, tinnitus is symptomatic of a relatively benign underlying cause. But, in some cases, it can be associated with an anatomical disease that requires medical attention. Through our assessment, we may determine that your tinnitus requires a medical intervention outside the scope of audiology. If this is the case, we will refer you to the appropriate specialist to determine whether your tinnitus may be alleviated through the medical or surgical treatment of an underlying cause.
Woman Looking At Herself in a Mirror with BTE Hearing Aid

Hearing Aids

Hearing loss is one of the most common causes of tinnitus, and most people with tinnitus also have hearing loss. If this is the case with your tinnitus, we will recommend hearing aids. For many people, the amplification provided by hearing aids will raise the level of speech and environmental sounds such that tinnitus is effectively “masked,” meaning that real sounds become loud enough to cover up the sound of the tinnitus.
Male Suffering from Tinnitus, Holding his Ear

Sound Therapy

If hearing aids alone are not enough to alleviate the problems associated with your tinnitus, or if your tinnitus is not accompanied by hearing loss, we will recommend sound therapy. Many hearing aids can provide sound therapy, which can be switched on and off as desired. Different types of noise or chime-like sounds can be employed, with or without amplification, to mask tinnitus and provide relief.

Sound therapy will most often be accompanied by education, counseling, and stress reduction. We may also refer you to other professionals such as therapists, dentists, or neurologists. Bringing in professionals from these other disciplines helps to offer a more comprehensive, holistic approach to tinnitus treatment. We have found that this approach has a high success rate, and the professionals in our office are employing it more and more frequently.

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Behavioral Modification Therapy

Tinnitus that cannot be alleviated by stopping medication or employing hearing aids/sound therapy is best approached with behavioral modification therapy. The degree to which tinnitus affects your daily life depends largely on how much attention you pay to the unwanted sound. When tinnitus inspires negative feelings, it can lead you to pay more attention to it, and a vicious cycle develops. Behavioral modification therapy aims to break this vicious cycle and help you live more comfortably with tinnitus.
If you have questions about the hearing aid options on the market, your audiologist will be able to help you navigate your options once they have an understanding of your hearing loss and lifestyle.