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Why is There No Cure for Tinnitus?

a woman with tinnitus

Tinnitus is a symptom commonly described as experiencing sounds or noises that are only audible to the listener. Sometimes, it can sound like a ringing, buzzing, or throbbing noise. For some, it is intermittent, for others, it is constant and for many it gets more and less severe throughout the day.

Tinnitus is known to have a significant impact on the quality of life of those experiencing it. It’s also known that tinnitus has no cure. However, that doesn’t mean that there is no hope in treating it. Here, we’re going to look at why we say there is no cure, and how your audiologist can help anyway.

Why is there no cure for tinnitus?

The first reason why most audiologists will say there’s no cure for tinnitus is that it’s a symptom, rather than a condition. Tinnitus doesn’t have any one cause, nor does it occur in one specific way. Rather, it describes a range of experiences that can be caused by a range of things, such as hearing loss, ear infections, earwax touching the eardrums and so on.

As such, tinnitus can sometimes go away if the underlying problem is dealt with. If earwax is touching your eardrum, a professional ear cleaning could get rid of the problem entirely. But that same treatment wouldn’t work on tinnitus that’s caused by other issues.

One of the conundrums is that the underlying cause of tinnitus can often be difficult to find. As such, rather than curing the condition that causes it, your audiologist has to look at treating the symptoms directly.

Does tinnitus ever go away?

Every person’s experience of tinnitus is different. Some people will experience it for the rest of their life, but there have been many cases of it going away. For some people, the underlying cause, such as an earwax blockage or ear infection, is treated and the symptom goes away with it.

There are also people who experience it for years, only for it to suddenly stop affecting them. However, not everyone ought to rely on the chance that they might stop suddenly experiencing the symptoms.

More commonly, people with tinnitus learn how to habituate it. The noise becomes so common to their brain, with the right training, that it effectively filters it out. The sound isn’t really gone, but it’s much easier for them to perceive and focus beyond it and, as such, it has less of an impact on them.

How we can treat tinnitus

Even if the cause of your tinnitus cannot be found and, as such, there is no definitive way to cure it, there are still plenty of treatments that can help manage both the physical symptoms of tinnitus, as well as the impact it can have on your quality of life.

Here are some of the treatments your audiologist at The Center for Audiology may recommend: 

  • Hearing aids with masking features: Tinnitus and hearing loss are often associated. A hearing aid may help to treat the hearing loss, allowing the wearer to hear beyond their tinnitus. There are some hearing aids that have masking features, which play a sound that’s more accommodating and pleasant than the noise produced by tinnitus, helping to cancel it out.
  • Sound machines: Also known as white noise machines, these are stand-alone devices, often used at night for people whose tinnitus gets worse when they try to go to sleep. As with sound masking devices, their purpose is to make it easier to ignore the internal sound caused by tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy: A type of therapy that makes use of technology such as sound masking devices and sound machines. It involves training to habituate a signal, meaning that we become used to it over time and it becomes so common to our brain that it sounds much louder and, as such, our brain can more easily block it out.

As mentioned, if the audiologist does find a visible and clear potential cause of tinnitus, such as an earwax blockage, then they will also treat the problem, such as with an earwax removal, to see if that deals with the problem directly.

Take the first step in fighting tinnitus with your audiologist

There may be no definitive cure for tinnitus, but there are plenty of ways your audiologist can help treat it if you’re experiencing it. Get in touch with The Center for Audiology by calling our Houston office at 713-255-0035 or our Pearland office at 713-800-5050. We will be glad to help you learn more about tinnitus and find the relief you deserve.