If you’ve had ringing or buzzing in your ears, you might be one of the millions of Americans experiencing tinnitus – an often (but not always) temporary condition where a person has a perception of sound with no external source. And while ringing or buzzing sounds are the most common symptoms of tinnitus, in many cases, people also hear buzzing, whooshing, clicking, whistling, or hissing sounds. 

While the range of factors that can cause tinnitus is broad and still widely unknown, most cases result from other issues in your auditory system and can sometimes be a signal of other auditory problems. Damage to the inner ear caused by earwax build-up, middle ear infections, nasal congestion, or age-related hearing loss can trigger tinnitus and require someone to seek help from a hearing specialist or hearing health professional. 

Unfortunately, there are no defined cures for temporary tinnitus; there are various treatment options that can reduce or eliminate the symptoms. Experimenting with a combination of these treatment options can result in finding quick relief and getting back to life as usual. 

Four Possible Treatment Options

Sound machines or sound therapy

Tinnitus sound therapy helps your brain reprogram the way it interprets and processes unwanted sounds. This method may take some trial and error, but it’s very low cost and low risk. You can download a sound machine app on your phone to try it out or purchase a simple machine. Vary the sound and pitch until you find a tone that works for you. Eventually, your brain will perceive the tinnitus sound as unimportant background noise, which will be much less noticeable. 

Lifestyle modifications

There are several lifestyle modifications that those with tinnitus have found to improve or eliminate their symptoms. For example, making sure to eat a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can increase blood flow, reduce hypertension and improve energy levels may provide relief from tinnitus. 

Those who smoke may also find relief by eliminating nicotine, a stimulant that restricts blood flow and can exaggerate tinnitus symptoms. Some studies also indicate that reducing or eliminating alcohol can also help. 

Earwax removal

If a wax plug in the ear canal is the cause of your tinnitus, removing the earwax build-up can provide relief. At-home earwax removal is relatively inexpensive and straightforward. However, consult a hearing professional if there is an extensive build-up or you’re not sure how to remove it. 

Hearing aids with masking features

Many hearing aids come with tinnitus masking tools, essentially increasing the sound level around you and making it harder for your brain to perceive the tinnitus. These masking tools may include static sounds, or soothing ocean sounds that mix with the tinnitus, making it harder to distinguish. 

Identifying the proper treatment or combination of treatments may require several methods to find what works best for your specific circumstances. Reaching out to a hearing care provider or hearing specialist is a significant first step to identifying the most appropriate and effective course of action.