For example, if your tinnitus is caused by an earwax build-up, eardrops or ear irrigation may be used. Ear irrigation involves using a pressurised flow of water to remove the earwax. Correcting even fairly minor hearing loss means the parts of the brain involved in hearing don’t have to work as hard and therefore don’t pay as much attention to the tinnitus. Tinnitus is often most noticeable in quiet environments. The aim of “sound therapy” or “sound enrichment” is to fill any silence with neutral sounds to distract you from the sound of tinnitus. You can get specially-designed sound generators that look similar to a radio. These produce quiet natural sounds, such as leaves rustling in the wind and waves lapping on the shore.
White noise generators are similar devices that produce a continuous “shushing” sound at a level that’s comfortable and soothing. Also available are pillows containing built-in speakers to help distract you from tinnitus when you go to sleep, and small sound-generator devices that fit in your ear like a hearing aid. Some hearing aids have built-in sound generators for people with tinnitus. Tinnitus counselling is a type of therapy where you work with a healthcare professional to help you learn more about your tinnitus and find ways of coping with it. It’s usually carried out by hearing therapists, audiologists (hearing disorder specialists) or doctors. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is often used to treat mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. I still had ringing and in fact i found the sound was worse after the irrigation.
Treatment aims to retrain the way you think to change your behaviour. This technique can be effectively applied to tinnitus. For example, if your knowledge about tinnitus is limited, you may have certain ideas about it that make you feel anxious and depressed. This can make your tinnitus worse. Changing the way you think about your tinnitus and what you do about it can help reduce your anxiety and enable you to accept the noises, which after a while may become less noticeable. Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is a special type of therapy that aims to help retrain the way your brain responds to tinnitus so you start to tune the sound out and become less aware of it. The therapy involves a combination of more intensive sound therapy and long-term counselling.
TRT is widely available privately and may be available on the NHS for people with very severe or persistent tinnitus. It should only be carried out by someone specially trained in the technique.