Treating tinnitus: Treatments that work and others that don’t

Tinnitus, also known as that constant ringing in your ears, is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Even though it carries no serious physical health risks with it, the non-stop nature of this syndrome can have a huge psychological impact on those who suffer from it. It usually goes away, but in some cases, it becomes chronic, which leads many to a state of desperation.

It is only normal that in such cases people suffering from tinnitus might resort to trying all kinds of treatments that promise to cure or alleviate their symptoms. The good news is there are some treatments that do help, the bad one is there are many out there promising results with no real scientific background behind them.

In this article, we will explore the treatments that have shown promise in the battle against tinnitus and separate the facts from the fads. It’s time to reclaim the tranquility you deserve.

Can tinnitus be cured?

The persistent question lingers: can tinnitus be cured? While we yearn for a magic wand that erases the ringing once and for all, the reality is a bit more complex. Tinnitus is caused, either by an underlying condition, or exposure to loud noise.

In the first scenario fixing the underlying condition might make the tinnitus go away, while in the second the options are less clear. One way or another, tinnitus is a phantom symphony that takes center stage in our minds, and therefore there is no surgery or other type of physical treatment that can cure it.

There are, however, strategies and treatments that can alleviate its burdensome effects and bring back harmony to your life.

Treatments that WILL help you treat your tinnitus

These are several treatment modalities that have demonstrated benefits in alleviating tinnitus symptoms according to relevant studies. 

Sound therapy/ Masking

Sound therapy offers a range of techniques to redirect your attention from the ringing and restore a sense of balance. Masking devices, white noise machines, or customized sound generators can relieve by filling the auditory void with pleasant and soothing sounds.

According to multiple studies (study 1 , study 2), sound therapy has demonstrated efficacy in reducing the perception and impact of tinnitus. The use of ambient background noise, or the enhancement of the existing one, can likewise be used to mask tinnitus.

The use of pillow speakers, sound machines, low-volume radios, fans, and background music has been beneficial for people with tinnitus which is particularly irritating in quiet settings.

Hearing aids

Tinnitus doesn’t always come alone. Especially when it is caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises, tinnitus also comes with some degree of hearing loss. In those cases hearing aids can be a valuable ally, helping both correct the hearing loss and reducing the impact of tinnitus.

These devices not only amplify external sounds but also provide masking effects that reduce the prominence of tinnitus. By enhancing overall sound perception and reducing the contrast between tinnitus and external sounds, hearing aids can improve communication, increase ambient noise, and alleviate the burden of tinnitus. This study from the Istituto di Ingegneria Biomedica in Milan shows that hearing aids can significantly improve tinnitus-related quality of life for individuals with hearing loss. 

Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT)

Like a maestro guiding an orchestra, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) aims to retrain the brain’s response to tinnitus. TRT combines sound therapy and counseling to facilitate habituation and reduce the distress caused by tinnitus. By promoting a shift in perception, TRT helps individuals perceive tinnitus as a neutral or insignificant sound, ultimately minimizing its impact.

Many clinical studies (study 1, study 2) have shown very promising results in terms of reducing tinnitus-related distress through TRT, even after only 12 months of treatment.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Tinnitus resonates in our minds, so it’s not really our ears that need healing… Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) empowers individuals to reframe their thoughts and emotions associated with tinnitus, leading to improved coping mechanisms and a higher quality of life.

Through techniques like mindfulness, relaxation exercises, and cognitive restructuring, CBT equips individuals with the tools to manage tinnitus-related distress. Evidence from studies (study 1, study 2, study 3) and a meta-analysis support the effectiveness of CBT in reducing the impact of tinnitus on psychological well-being.

Drugs that help with tinnitus

Apart from these methods, some medications have also been found to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus.

One such is alprazolam, where 2 small studies (study 1, study 2) found the drug effective for relieving tinnitus, presumably by acting on the anxiety levels of the patients with tinnitus.

The other is an anti-epileptic drug, carbamazepine, which relieved tinnitus, but only in cases with tapping, and pulsatile tinnitus.

Please do not take any of these drugs without first talking to a specialized doctor who will be able to assess if these treatments are right for you and set the appropriate dosage. These drugs can have serious side effects.

Treatments that WILL NOT help you treat your tinnitus

These treatments might pop up if you are doing some online research about tinnitus, and some sources might claim that they work, but you should approach them with caution and skepticism, as they are not backed up by any scientific data or study, and probably only fall into the realms of myth, misconception, and hope.

Let us explore some common remedies that lack credible support. By understanding which treatments to approach with caution, we can save valuable time and energy in the pursuit of effective tinnitus management.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Despite its popularity, scientific evidence does not support apple cider vinegar as a reliable tinnitus treatment, its impact on reducing symptoms lacks substantiation.

Chiropractic Care

While some case reports imply some subjective improvements, scientific studies have not demonstrated the effectiveness of chiropractic care for tinnitus. 

Essential Oils

Although they may provide temporary relaxation, there is no scientific evidence to confirm the effectiveness of essential oils in treating tinnitus.

Chinese Herbs

While Chinese herbal medicine has a rich tradition, there is no evidence to support its efficacy in managing tinnitus.


Despite claims, scientific evidence does not support zinc as an effective standalone treatment for tinnitus. While zinc plays a crucial role in overall health, it is unlikely to be an effective standalone treatment for tinnitus.


Melatonin, a hormone involved in regulating sleep patterns, has been suggested as a remedy for tinnitus. However, despite some preliminary studies showing potential benefits, the overall evidence remains inconclusive.

Rigorous scientific studies have not consistently demonstrated a significant reduction in tinnitus symptoms with melatonin supplementation. While melatonin may aid in sleep regulation, its direct impact on tinnitus management remains uncertain.

Niacin (Vitamin B3)

While niacin offers other health benefits, especially for lipid disorders, its role in addressing tinnitus lacks substantiation.

Ginkgo Biloba

Despite its use in traditional medicine and for numerous indications, scientific studies have not consistently shown ginkgo biloba to be effective for tinnitus. A meta-analysis of four trials, studying a total of 1543 patients taking ginkgo did not show a reduction in levels of tinnitus.


Tinnitus can bring us to the edge of desperation. It is only natural that we crave for a cure, or at least something to help us cope with its symptoms. However, it is important to separate those treatments that are backed by scientific results from those that aren’t.

Going down the path of untested treatments can not only be dangerous for your health, but can also cost a lot of money and cause even more frustration when you find that treatment after treatment, the condition does not improve.

By adopting evidence-based interventions, you can make informed decisions in your journey to manage tinnitus effectively.

Ultimately, seeking professional guidance and evidence-based interventions is the key to effectively managing tinnitus. Consultation with healthcare providers, particularly those experienced in tinnitus management, is crucial for personalized treatment plans.

Avatar photo
Hello! My name is Leonid Karadjinov. I am a medical doctor working in the hearing aid industry as a practicing audiologist. I see the damage that long-term noise exposure does to people and their hearing on a daily basis. I enjoy traveling and experiencing different cultures, socializing, doing all kinds of sports, and of course, helping people with their medical needs.

One response to “Treating tinnitus: Treatments that work and others that don’t”

  1. […] If the tinnitus persists for 6 months or more, qualifying it as chronic, you should undergo a comprehensive audiological examination. It is very unlikely that long-standing tinnitus will go away, therefore it is important that measures be undertaken to alleviate the symptoms and make it easier to cope with. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *