home
RSS
Finally, a treatment for that buzzing in your ears
May 24th, 2012
06:31 PM ET

Finally, a treatment for that buzzing in your ears

Imagine the incessant, grating sound of buzzing in your ears - or constant beeping, whistling, dripping, or clicking.  Imagine the chatter of crickets or birds resonating in your head all day long.

Then realize that there are no actual birds or crickets. No dripping faucet. No clicking or whistling happening in the vicinity.

That is a small glimpse of life with tinnitus:  The perception of sound, that doesn't exist, manufactured by the brain.  

"I hear tree frogs and crickets and bugs, and really loud noise on top of that," said Ginny Morrell, 60, who has suffered with tinnitus for two years. "It started one day and never went away. It never wavers, 24 hours a day."

Morrell says she fills her life with sound - a radio during the day, a television droning in the background while she sleeps - as a way to drown out the din.  It's a distraction that sometimes works.

"It's not going to kill me, it's not cancer," said Morrell.  "But it might drive me crazy."

But according to a new study, the most effective treatment for Morrell's tinnitus may involve just the opposite of what she's currently doing: Rather than ignoring the sound, focus on it.

"In the study we thought, what if we try to intervene in this avoidance behavior and we expose patients to their tinnitus sounds," said Rilana Cima, the study's lead author and a clinical psychologist at Adelante Centre of Expertise in Rehabilitation and Audiology in the Netherlands.  "If you expose people to something they're afraid of, they actually habituate to this stimulation."

Cima compares the approach, which has its roots in cognitive behavioral therapy, to helping people with a spider phobia to slowly stem that fear.  Intermittent exposure to a spider - or in the case of tinnitus, that annoying buzzing - may temper the fear associated with it.

The study, conducted in the Netherlands, involved 492 patients. Half received an audiological work-up and no other structured treatment, while the other half received integrated care, including tinnitus-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. 

The therapy included having patients perform mundane, everyday tasks, while being exposed to whatever sound is associated with their tinnitus. 

"People usually avoid their own sound," said Cima.  "So they practice paying attention to their sound and what reactions they're having because of that sound."

Among the group who got the therapy, about 70% reported improvements in their quality of life or decreased tinnitus a year after beginning treatment. 

Importantly, for a malady that has its roots in the brain, many patients also reported improvements in tinnitus-related fear and anxiety. 

"The sound didn't disappear but fear reactions did," said Cima.

What makes tinnitus so difficult to treat is that it is virtually impossible to pinpoint the origin of the sound (there is no established neural origin for the condition) and each sufferer's experience is unique.  That makes it difficult to craft a treatment that works for everyone.

The study, published today in the Lancet, is one of the first rigorous trials suggesting relief for the approximately 50 million tinnitus sufferers in the U.S., according to the American Tinnitus Association.

Richard Salvi, a tinnitus expert with the Center for Hearing & Deafness at the University of Buffalo, said the study is important and should be encouraging for people like Morrell.  But, he adds, most tinnitus sufferers are looking for a cure.

"Many tinnitus patients expect immediate and complete cessation of their tinnitus," said Salvi in an email to CNN.  "None of the current treatments meet these patient expectations. Consequently, much more work needs to be done."

Morrell is heartened that a treatment may be out there but, from where she sits in small-town Brockton, Massachusetts, it seems elusive.  She says few physicians in her area understand her condition, let alone how to treat it using cognitive behavioral therapy.

"I had one doctor say to me I should take Klonopin (an anti-seizure/anti-anxiety medication) for my tinnitus," said Morrell.  "He said to take one the first day, two the second, and to keep stepping it up to 12 a day if I needed to. Can you believe that?"

What nags Morrell almost as much as her condition, is the fear associated with it - that it will get worse. 

Mostly, she wants something simple that she used to take for granted:  "My issue with it is not hearing silence," she said.  "I will never hear silence again."

What Morrell craves is a reset button that will make the noise disappear. 

Curing tinnitus may never be that simple.


soundoff (326 Responses)
  1. paul

    ALL THANKS TO DR WILLIAMS FOR CURING ME FROM THIS DEADLY DISEASE TINNITUS.
    Appreciation is the key to doing more that is why I have took some
    time out to thank some one who cured me of my 2 years TINNITUS
    problem. It became a major problem to me as it was affecting my
    marital life and I was no longer comfortable so I decided to look for
    a solution and I came across a post of Dr willaims and how he has been
    helping people of the same problem I contacted him and told him all I
    have been facing in my life. He told me how to get his product and how
    to take it after every thing I find out that all was now okay with me that my TINNITUS RINGING EARS was gone that is why I have come out
    today to say thank you to him .you can contact his email address drwilliams098765@gmail.com for people with similar condition.

    December 7, 2016 at 13:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ana

    ALL THANKS TO DR WILLIAMS FOR CURING ME FROM THIS DEADLY DISEASE TINNITUS.
    Appreciation is the key to doing more that is why I have took some
    time out to thank some one who cured me of my 2 years TINNITUS
    problem. It became a major problem to me as it was affecting my
    marital life and I was no longer comfortable so I decided to look for
    a solution and I came across a post of Dr willaims and how he has been
    helping people of the same problem I contacted him and told him all I
    have been facing in my life. He told me how to get his product and how
    to take it after every thing I find out that all was now okay with me that my TINNITUS RINGING EARS was gone that is why I have come out
    today to say thank you to him .you can contact his email address drwilliams098765@gmail.com for people with similar condition.

    December 7, 2016 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. kate

    ALL THANKS TO DR GEORGE WITH HIS HERB I WAS CURED FROM A TERRIBLE TINNITUS
    Is my pleasure to comment on this site and i thank the admin of this site for his/her great work so far. I really don't know how to thank DR GEORGE for helping me get cured for over 20 year of suffering from a terrible tinnitus, my tinnitus started when i turns 10 we all thought is going to end one day but even get worse as days went by,i have tried all western drugs prescribed by doctors but to no avail i lost total concentration, even at night i screams even more because the sounds become louder because everywhere is quiet. i came across DR GEORGE contact through a headline news on internet about how DR GEORGE help a woman to get cured of his tinnitus and so many other with similar ear problem ,i contacted him and he told me how to get his herb,few day later he sent me the herbal portion which i take every morning for 21 days, and his medicine was able to restore me back to normal and now am very okay without any side effects whatsoever If you have Tinnitus, you can contact him on his email address drgeorge2580@gmail.com for help.

    December 11, 2016 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. jessical

    ALL THANKS TO DR WILLIAMS FOR THE GREAT DEED HE HAVE DON FOR MY DAUGHTER?
    My daughter suffered from a terrible tinnitus for more than 30 years which started after she turned 15 we all thought it will end but got even worse as days went by. We tried all several treatments and therapy prescribed by various doctors we met but to no avail, she lost total concentration and screamed most times. She usually tells me she hears hissing and ringing noises. This were steady noise that disrupted her entire life, even at night she screams even more because the sounds become louder because everywhere is quiet and she slept less because of this.It was during a casual conversation with a friend that i learned about dr Williams herbal medicine I was able to contact him on his email address. and give him all the necessary information that he needed,few day later he sent me the herbal portion and his medicine was able to restore her back to normal and she is very okay now without any side effects whatsoever. If you have Tinnitus, do not hesitate to contact him on drwilliams098765@gmail.com for advice and for his product. I hope this also helps someone out there.

    December 13, 2016 at 02:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. jessical

    ALL THANKS TO DR WILLIAMS FOR THE GREAT DEED HE HAVE DON FOR MY DAUGHTER?
    My daughter suffered from a terrible tinnitus for more than 23 years which started after she turned 5 we all thought it will end but got even worse as days went by. We tried all several treatments and therapy prescribed by various doctors we met but to no avail, she lost total concentration and screamed most times. She usually tells me she hears hissing and ringing noises. This were steady noise that disrupted her entire life, even at night she screams even more because the sounds become louder because everywhere is quiet and she slept less because of this.It was during a casual conversation with a friend that i learned about dr Williams herbal medicine I was able to contact him on his email address. and give him all the necessary information that he needed,few day later he sent me the herbal portion and his medicine was able to restore her back to normal and she is very okay now without any side effects whatsoever. If you have Tinnitus, do not hesitate to contact him on drwilliams098765@gmail.com for advice and for his product. I hope this also helps someone out there.

    December 14, 2016 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. KATE

    ALL THANKS TO DR WILLIAMS WITH HIS HERB I WAS CURED FROM A TERRIBLE TINNITUS.
    . Is my pleasure to comment on this site and i thank the admin of this site for his/her great work so far. I really don't know how to thank dr williams for helping me get cured for over 20 year of suffering from a terrible tinnitus, my tinnitus started when i turns 10 we all thought is going to end one day but even get worse as days went by,i have tried all western drugs prescribed by doctors but to no avail i lost total concentration, even at night i screams even more because the sounds become louder because everywhere is quiet. i came across dr williams contact through a headline news on internet about how dr williams help a woman called jessical to get cured of his tinnitus and so many other with similar ear problem ,i contacted him and he told me how to get his herb,few day later he sent me the herbal portion which i take every morning for 21 days, and his medicine was able to restore me back to normal and now am very okay without any side effects whatsoever If you have Tinnitus, you can contact him on his email address drwilliams098765@gmail.com for help

    December 15, 2016 at 22:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Vivendi Sandia

    My daughter suffered from a terrible tinnitus for more than 23 years which
    started after she turned 5 we all thought it will end but got even worse as
    days went by. We tried all several treatments and therapy prescribed by
    various doctors we met but to no avail, she lost total concentration and
    screamed most times. She usually tells me she hears hissing and ringing
    noises. This were steady noise that disrupted her entire life, even at
    night she screams even more because the sounds become louder because
    everywhere is quiet and she slept less because of this. I was able to
    contact Dr.lewishill. on the matter and his medicine was able to restore
    her back to normal and she is very okay now without any side effects
    whatsoever. If you have Tinnitus, do not hesitate to contact him on
    drlewishill247@gmail.com for advice and for his product. I hope this helps
    someone out there.

    December 16, 2016 at 04:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jeannie Gladson

    Nothing on this page helped me know what I can do about the constant buzzing in my left ear. Please help me!

    December 20, 2016 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Sharon Coolidge

    My daughter suffered from a terrible tinnitus for more than 8 years which started after she turned 5 we all thought it will end but got even worse as days went by. We tried all several treatments and therapy prescribed by various doctors we met but to no avail, she lost total concentration and screamed most times. She usually tells me she hears hissing and ringing noises. This were steady noise that disrupted her entire life, even at night she screams even more because the sounds become louder because everywhere is quiet and she slept less because of this. I was able to contact Dr.lewishill. on the matter and his medicine was able to restore her back to normal and she is very okay now without any side effects whatsoever. If you have Tinnitus, do not hesitate to contact him on drlewishill247@gmail.com for advice and for his product. I hope this helps someone out there.

    December 23, 2016 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. faith

    DR GEORGE HERBAL CURE TO EPILEPSY
    I was always praying to have a testimony when ever i saw people sharing their own testimonies which really took me years but today i am the happiest father on earth.
    My son suffered EPILEPSY, for 20years after taken different kind of western medication without been cured.
    All these years my son was like a death person but today he is been cured.and you do not know how i feel having my son back to life because it was not really easy for me having just two children and one been abnormal.
    I took time to search internet which i found a lot of people thanking Dr. George concerning the same problem and i discussed it with my wife and she said we should give a try so we order his product which my son took for some months and he is very much okay now.
    I will advise you stop wasting time on all these western medicine because they only work for some
    days and the problem bounce back again.
    Contact Dr. at drgeorge2580@gmail.com for advice and for his product and be the next to give testimony

    December 30, 2016 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Chris Braxton

    I don't have the ringing yet but I got the the humming plus I can hear my heartbeat in my left ear what can I do

    December 30, 2016 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. jessical

    ALL THANKS TO GOD FOR USING DR WILLIAMS HERBAL PRODUCT TO CURE ME FROM A TERRIBLE TINNITUS.
    How can I ever stop thanking Dr William for the great thing he have done for me, i got an accident when I was 27 years old from that day on i started experience ringing ear problem(tinnitus) i have taken all the western drugs prescribe by various doctor but to no avail . my tinnitus was very loud in the afternoon and I sleep less at night because of this problem i stop my work, few days later i was going through the Internet and I saw a post of a woman testifying about Dr William herbal remedies on how she was being cure for over her 30 years suffering from tinnitus the story Really motivated me that I have to speak with my husband about it, and he said i should give him a try, i contacted Dr William and explain all i have be facing in my life. He assured me that everything is going to be fine if only I can get his herbal portion, i said yes and I requested for it, few days later the herb was sent to me in Kuwait,i started using it as instructed by Dr William for me to take it for 21 Days which I did, can you imagine after talking Dr William herbal medicine for just two weeks i started experience results, it was like a miracle,and now i am permanently cure from this terrible tinnitus, i promise that am going to publish his herb on thing my last breath for the great deed he have done for me. For those with similar ear problem should please contact him on his email address drwilliams098765@gmail his a good man and am proud of him.

    January 17, 2017 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.