Your doctor will have you try a number of non-invasive ways to treat the ringing in your ears before recommending surgery. None of these options cure your tinnitus, but they may help you cope with it throughout your day and at night when sleeping. Here are some of the common treatments used to deal with the annoying ringing in the ears.
Noise Suppression Devices
The ringing in your ears can be triggered by other sounds. Some devices try to mask the triggering sounds. Other devices blend several sounds together so your brain can't distinguish between them.
White Noise Generator - These devices are sold over the counter at your local department store. They produce soft and pleasant sounds, such as the waves on a beach or the wind blowing through trees. The white noise masks the other sounds that may trigger a tinnitus attack. Some people find these devices effective at night to help them sleep.
Noise Masking Devices - These are worn like hearing aids. Your audiologist will adjust the device to produce a noise that blends in with the tinnitus. The brain can't separate the two sounds so it learns to ignore both. This device is helpful when you need to focus on a project and the ringing in your ears becomes distracting.
Audio Retraining Devices - These devices are also worn like a hearing aid. They produce a tone similar to the frequency of your tinnitus. The audiologist adjusts the device to produce the right tone which then blends in with the ringing. Your brain becomes used to hearing these tones and eventually ignores both of them.
You can also learn how to cope with the tinnitus so it doesn't impact your daily activities. Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following techniques to use along with some of the hearing devices mentioned above.
Biofeedback - You will be connected to a machine that monitors your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. A therapist will teach you how to relax and control those physiological functions when you become stressed by the tinnitus. The machine gives you feedback when you successfully lower your heart rate, blood pressure and rate of breathing. Eventually, you won't need the machine for feedback as you consciously reduce your body's response to the tinnitus.
Hypnosis - This is used to redirect your mind's focus away from the ringing and onto something more pleasant. The therapist will help you train your brain to think of something relaxing when it hears the tinnitus. You may also learn self-hypnosis techniques that you can do at home or work to change your brain's focus so you can concentrate on work or enjoy relaxing with your family.