The most effective treatment for tinnitus is to eliminate the underlying cause. In many cases, however, the cause of tinnitus cannot be identified or treated medically or surgically. In these cases, the tinnitus itself may need to be treated or managed. Make sure to discuss any treatment options that you are considering with your doctor prior to beginning the treatment.
There is no cure for tinnitus. However, there are a number of treatment options that may work for you, either individually or in combination. Examples include hearing aids, sound therapy, cochlear implants, or cognitive therapy.
One approach is a phased regimen called progressive tinnitus management, or PTM, to help patients learn to self-manage their reactions to tinnitus. The five levels of management are:
- Level 1: Triage
- Level 2: Audiologic Evaluation
- Level 3: Group Education
- Level 4: Interdisciplinary Evaluation, and
- Level 5: Individualized Support
Throughout the program, patients work with a team of clinicians to create a personalized action plan that will help manage their reactions to tinnitus and minimize the problem. Once referred into the program, all patients are given a hearing exam. If hearing loss is diagnosed and hearing aid use is indicated, the patient will be fit with hearing aids and provided basic tinnitus education. The vast majority of patients with tinnitus and hearing loss report significant relief from their tinnitus when wearing hearing aids.
Those patients for whom hearing aid use is not indicated will receive basic tinnitus education at the time of the hearing evaluation. When these efforts don’t adequately satisfy individual patient needs, progression to Level 3 Group Education, and subsequent levels if necessary, will occur.