Document 134808

You are not alone.
An estimated 50 million people in the
U.S. suffer from tinnitus. Of those, 16
million have sought medical attention
for their tinnitus; and 2-3 million are
completely disabled from it. But there
is help out here. And tinnitus can be
*Data collected and analyzed from the 1999-2004
National Health Interview Survey conducted by the
Centers for Disease Control.
What is it?
Put simply, tinnitus is the perception of sound in the
ears or head where no external source is present.
Commonly referred to as “ringing in the ears,” people
describe it using a variety of terms such as hissing,
buzzing, roaring or chirping.
50 million
What should a person
with tinnitus do first?
Contact an audiologist, otologist or otolaryngologist
for an examination as soon as possible. The
purpose of the examination is to determine if there
is a treatable medical condition causing tinnitus. It
is important to remember that a natural tinnitus
reduction can occur at any time.
2-3 million
What causes it?
There are many causes. One of the most common
causes of tinnitus is exposure to excessively loud
sounds. Other causes: head and neck trauma, ear
wax build-up, jaw misalignment (TMJ), ototoxicty.
16 million
*ATA can provide you with a
list of drugs that are known to
exacerbate tinnitus.
Available Treatments for Tinnitus
Alternative Treatments Some people have experienced relief from: minerals such as
How can I
learn more
and find help?
Support the American
Tinnitus Association! ATA
is a nonprofit, donationdriven organization
dedicated to advancing
tinnitus research and to
helping tinnitus patients
and the professionals who
treat them. ATA produces
and distributes educational
materials, promotes ATA’s
Support Network and raises
public awareness of tinnitus.
ATA members receive the
magazine, Tinnitus Today,
listings of tinnitus health
professionals and support
contacts, access to the
Members section online,
discounts in the ATA store
and more!
magnesium or zinc, herbal preparations such as Ginkgo biloba, homeopathic remedies, B
vitamins, acupuncture, cranio-sacral therapy, magnets, hyperbaric oxygen and hypnosis. A
few of these therapies have been researched in an attempt to verify the anecdotal claims.
But the results have not conclusively identified these treatments as helpful for tinnitus.
Amplification (Hearing Aids) Some with hearing loss experience tinnitus relief while
wearing hearing aids. If a patient has a hearing loss in the frequency range of the tinnitus,
hearing aids may bring back in the ambient sounds that naturally cover the tinnitus.
Biofeedback This is a relaxation technique that teaches people to control certain
autonomic body functions, such as pulse, muscle tension and skin temperature. The goal
is to help people manage stress in their lives by changing the body’s reaction to it. Many
notice a reduction in their tinnitus when they are able to modify their reaction to the
stress in their lives.
Cochlear Implants/Electrical Stimulation Tinnitus may be masked by the ambient
sounds that these devices bring; or it may be suppressed by the electrical stimulation sent
through the auditory nerve by the implant. Some forms of electrical stimulation to the ear
can stop tinnitus briefly.
Cognitive Therapy This is a type of counseling based on treating one’s emotional
reaction to tinnitus rather than the tinnitus itself. A counselor will help the patient identify
negative behaviors and thought patterns, then alter them. Counseling programs are
individually designed and are most effective when coupled with other tinnitus treatments,
such as masking or medication.
Drug Therapy Many drugs have been researched and used to relieve tinnitus, but there
is not a drug that has been designed specifically to treat tinnitus. Some drugs that have
been studied include anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, antihistamines, anticonvulsants
and even anesthetics. All successfully quieted tinnitus for some people.
Sound Therapy Various strategies use sound to decrease the loudness/prominence of
tinnitus. They include both wearable and non-wearable devices. Often, sound is used to
completely or partially cover the tinnitus. Some people refer to this covering of sound as
masking. Sound therapies should always be combined with counseling.
TMJ Treatment Tinnitus can be a symptom of a jaw joint (TMJ) dysfunction. Muscles
and nerves in the jaw are closely connected to those in the ear and can interfere with
the ear’s nerves. Dental treatment or bite realignment can help relieve TMJ pain and
associated tinnitus.
ATA does not endorse or recommend which treatment strategy, drug or otherwise, is right for you. This is for you and your health care provider
to determine. Remember to talk to your provider about side effects and about other medications you currently take. Because side effects
can happen with any drug or drug combination, patients have to decide for themselves if an undesirable side effect is worth the trade off
of tinnitus relief. When trying any new treatment, remember that many therapies require an investment of time and personal effort to be
effective. Also, some patients find that a combination of treatments is more effective than a single therapy.
American Tinnitus Association
P.O. Box 5
Portland, OR 97207-0005
TF: (800) 634-8978
E: [email protected]