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Tinnitus: what to do when you have ringing in your ears

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Tinnitus: what to do when you have ringing in your ears

Exchange. Doctor and patient are looking for solutions for good hearing. © Alamy Stock Photo

Intensive medical consultations central to chronic tinnitus

In the therapy of chronic tinnitus, the exchange between doctors and those affected is particularly important: This is what the German Society for Ear, Nose and Throat Medicine describes in the updated guideline Chronic tinnitus. The treatment should be based on an educational and counseling concept. According to scientific studies, this so-called counseling can make a significant contribution to good therapy.

Knowing what’s going on in your head, how the tinnitus develops – that can help you get used to the new situation. Affected people should develop strategies together with a doctor to learn to live with the sounds – sometimes they only disappear after months, years or never. There is no panacea method.

Tipp: The German Tinnitus League (DTL) offers extensive information on tinnitus, the associated diseases and the hearing system on the Internet. You can also search for self-help groups in your region on the homepage. More information can be found at www.tinnitus-liga.de.

A hearing aid may be necessary

On the one hand, the experts discuss with their patients possible therapies for physical ailments that can be the cause of chronic tinnitus, such as previous illnesses, damage to the eardrum, loss of hearing.

Sometimes a hearing aid is useful to compensate for hearing loss – you can find help for the selection and adjustment of hearing aids such as hearing aids in our special hearing aid acoustician.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help

It is also important to find out whether you have problems sleeping or concentrating, mood swings, anxiety or depression. For example, many sufferers can cognitive behavioral therapy – either individually or in a group – are proven to help. It is one of the most common forms of psychotherapy and aims to identify and change false and burdensome beliefs. With regard to tinnitus, patients could learn to get used to the sound and to perceive it less or not at all.

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A special tinnitus retraining therapy also aims to break the connection between the negative feelings and the sound and to direct it towards positive sounds. In some cases, it makes sense to take certain psychotropic drugs.

Tipp: Physicians should support patients in finding a therapist. In 2019, Stiftung Warentest tested online psychotherapy programs designed to treat depression preventively or acutely. Several turned out to be promising.

Which is not scientifically proven

The effectiveness of some treatments for chronic tinnitus is the current guideline according to scientific evidence not enough. These include, among others:

  • Drugs that are intended to specifically reduce or stop the tinnitus – such as betahistine, steroids, ginkgo
  • certain vitamins or zinc
  • Devices for tinnitus therapy
  • so-called noise and sound therapies, which try to influence the tinnitus via sounds and tones.

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