Currently there is no cure for tinnitus, but there are many things audiologists can do to treat and manage it. Tinnitus comes from an unconscious, automatic response by our brain to unexpected and unknown information. If the brain has labelled the tinnitus sound as important enough to be a focus of attention, we need to teach the brain to change this response.
Sound enrichment is a way of reducing the contrast between the sound of the tinnitus and the sounds of the world around us to reduce the brain’s awareness of the tinnitus noise. It is also important to treat any underlying hearing loss. In fact, 80% of people with tinnitus also have hearing loss. Hearing aids are a useful tool in tinnitus management. By giving better sound input, they can destress the auditory system, and reduce the contrast between tinnitus sounds and environmental sounds.
Sound can help cover or draw focus away from tinnitus, giving relief from tinnitus symptoms. Some people have particular songs they find useful, other people have environmental sounds that help. Many hearing aids have built in sound generators specifically for tinnitus management, where the sound frequency is shaped according to your hearing needs.
If you have tinnitus that concerns you, the first step is to see an audiologist for a hearing and tinnitus assessment.