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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 (350 Responses)
  1. Rev. Rick

    Quoting from the article: "So they practice paying attention to their sound and what reactions they're having because of that sound."

    In another context, this sounds very much like mindfulness meditation, and is a technique commonly used in MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction). Only rather than paying attention to your breath as is commonly done in MBSR, you simply pay attention to the tinnitus as your focus of attention. As a sufferer of tinnitus myself, the preferred treatment would be to eventually find a cure for this annoying (and sometimes maddening) condition. But anything that helps one cope with it is welcome!

    May 25, 2012 at 08:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NeutralMind

      It is very difficult to focus on it though as it's a constant annoyance. I now understand why van Gogh chopped his ear off.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:34 | Report abuse |
    • lknutson

      Treatments such as this are probably helpful but don't get at the cause of the problem. What worked for me was to eliminate wheat from my diet.

      May 25, 2012 at 12:10 | Report abuse |
    • Gary Kinsley

      I have had this God awful T for well over 25 years and it's so bad that there are times when I think to get a gun and shoot my left ear off but I know if I do that, it won't help. I find it hard to sleep and concentrate and often, tired. When people talk to me, the T gets in the way and I have to ask them to repeat. I'm on a small DVA Disability Pension for it as it's route cause may have been from my Military days. If a specific treatment was found to work, I'd be glad to give up the Pension in a heartbeat, in exchange for peace and quiet. I often pray for a cure but it never comes.

      May 25, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
    • docame

      Try drugs. They don't cure it. But they make you not care so much. Marijuana is my choice!

      May 25, 2012 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • NickolasNowak

      I have tinnitus for 13 years now, since 2003, after severe head trauma I had during an accident with my bike. I have tried all kinds of things, from vitamins to zinc to dubious over the counter pills sold online. The only thing that has provided me with substantial relief is low laser therapy. I would say my condition has improved by about 50 %. If you are like me I suggest you to give it a try. There are special clinics and visits are often covered by insurance. Unfortunately, there was no such clinic near my place so I had to buy the device myself. It was quite expensive 😦 This is the one I am using, http://goo.gl/PlbYQR although there are other similar ones available.

      Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

      February 27, 2016 at 10:20 | Report abuse |
  2. freshnewblog

    My father has this.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Hot Carl

    I've had tinnitus for about 16 years now. At first I thought I'd go insane, the thought of never hearing silence again, just a constant high pitched ringing. My year old son screamed in my ear when I picked him up one night after work. I put him on my shoulder and I guess he got scared. I felt a jolt in my head, then later on while watching TV it started and never stopped. It's like the sound you hear after a concert. All day, 24-7. My son is now 17 and finishing 11th grade. I joke and say that I hear his voice every minute, every day. Listening to loud music in my 20's didn't help.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alex

      I feel your pain, mine is exactly the same.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:25 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Mine is exactly like this. Started in 1997 when I was 36. Went to see a movie and i guess it was kind of loud. Ringing in my ears started after the movie and hasnt stopped. I miss the sound of silence.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:36 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Do you guys notice anything that makes it better/worse?

      May 25, 2012 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
    • David B

      I have the same kind, and it's been 20 years now! Most of the time it's not an issue. But sitting in a quiet room with no TV, no music, no talking, etc. means it will soon bother me. I use a masking ("white noise") CD sometimes, and it helps lower the ringing "noise." I got my tinnitus from going to LOUD concerts when I was young.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
  4. Roger Carlson

    There could be other root causes of tinnitus. My wife had the ringing in her right ear and when she lost hearing in the ear, a MRI showed a acoustic neuroma benign tumor which required brain surgery to remove it. Consequently her hearing loss is permanent. I would rule out the possibility of a tumor with an MRI.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chefdugan

      This is for what it's worth. I have had tinnitis for years and luckily have the ability to focus. If I am reading the newspaper or a book and my wife is talking to me I don't hear a word she says. When I first got tinnitis it bothered me until I just decided to ignore it. When I do that it goes away in a few minutes. When I have it I just decide not to let it annoy me and pretty soon I am focused on whatever I am doing and it goes away. I can't pinpoint exactly when it goes, it just goes. I think people who have had a significant other that constantly nags at them have a head start on this.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
  5. middlej

    I think the headline is a bit misleading. This isn't so much a treatment as a learned coping technique – those are very different things.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. newone

    i'm confused by the statement "(there is no established neural origin for the condition)" ... i had chemo treatment and 3 months later noticed that i had was hearing this bzzzzing ...turned off all fans, lights, tv, etc., trying to pinpoint the sound and then sadly realized it was tinnitis ... caused by nerve damage relating to the chemo. it doesn't keep me awake but my quality of hearing has diminished. it's not life-threatening, true, but I'd like to hear some silence. When I have dental work done and get a local anesthesia (lidocaine maybe), the bzzzzzing stops ... until the local wears off. I now welcome trips to the dentist!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sarah

      By this they mean there is not one specific neural cause for every case of tinnitus. Many times there is not even any evidence of any nerve damage at all. It's a very perplexing condition

      May 25, 2012 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Read my post of today 5/25. I become really annoyed by the sound, then I decided to find a way to get relief. Look into EFT, whats the harm? If it works what a blessing. Good luck.
      Tim

      May 25, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • Roger Mathis, DDS

      As a dentist and tinnitus patient, that is very interesting. Do you remember if you had the local for an upper or lower tooth? Thanks!

      May 27, 2012 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    When I saw this headline "Finally, a treatment for that buzzing in your ears", I though, great, just what I need. I can't tell you how disappointed I am with the article that followed. What hogwash non-sense..."focus on the noise and it will go away". Providing such an article in the health section is cruel and at most insensitive to a real problem. Maybe I should hold a pyramid over my head and chant....that might help!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • XtraMedium

      I agree, this is a disappointing article and a steaming pile of baloney sandwich. I am not fearful of my tinnitis, just annoyed.

      I've had persistent tinnitis for 25 years and must wear hearing aids in order to hear over the ringing. Mine was caused by a car backfiring next to my head and made permanent by an ultra-sonic cleaning at the dentist.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
    • carolae

      I agree. When I saw this headling, I, too, thought there was something new out there to eliminate the ringing in my ear. I was soon to learn that wasn't the case. Very deceptive and I'm surprised that Dr. Gupta even allowed this article to be published.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:38 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Me too...I clicked on it so fast I almost broke my mouse. I don't need to focus on it to alleviate my fear of it. I'm not afraid of it; i'm annoyed by it. The though of never hearing silence again is sooo disheartening. I wish I could pinpoint when mine started. I've never been one to listen to particularly loud music, and haven't had any other trauma (that I can recall) that could have triggered it. It's just there. Constantly....

      May 25, 2012 at 11:56 | Report abuse |
  8. Brooke

    I have tinnitus. I hear my heartbeat in my left ear. I was going crazy. I went through all kinds of testing and there was no explanation for what I was hearing. Someone told me about the Tinnitus center at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore. I used their tinnitus retraining therapy and it changed my life. I still occasionally hear the whooshing sounds in my ear but I can actually tell myself to ignore it and it goes away.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MIKE Galbreath

      Your reply was very interesting,
      .Would you e-mail with your up to date progress. Thank you, M.Galbreath

      September 24, 2016 at 12:02 | Report abuse |
  9. MR T

    Had this for a while after a bad ear/sinus infection. A constant roaring sound with clicking, poping. Doctor said no cure. So then I tried "Dr Christophers ear & nerve. After 4 months of treatment this sound is almost gone and some hearing returned. It worked and cost $15, and all herbs. My doctor never offered any other treatment, just test test test...more money !

    May 25, 2012 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Randy McLeod

    I've had tinnitus for along time. From what I understand, the cause of it is, the hair in the inner ear is laying down. And yes, it's permanent. Myself, I just go about my own business, try and ignore the noise I hear day in, day out.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Bob

    Had tinnitus for many years... kept getting worse. Probably from years of loud music and my very noisy military flying days (7 years). At 56 it got real LOUD and varied from popping to chirping to clicking and, I got dizzy. They found an accoustic neuroma (tumor). Watched it for 3 years then it doubled in size. Had it surgically removed. Went deaf in that ear... but the tinnitus has never went away and they say it never will, it did however become a constant tone that does not change.

    Take care of your hearing because it means so much to be able to tell where a sound is coming from or to hear your Grandchildren talk... and understand them. I would also like to be able to "hear" silence on occasion but I guess I never will.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ring, ring..... hello

      I hear what your saying,Bob. Still have hear in both ears but have a 50% VA disability from my loss and $4000 worth of hearing aids.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
  12. Spunky

    Hold that thought. I think I hear the phone ringing again.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Stephen

    I had this years ago, researched for natural supplements online, and they worked. I am surprised the article does discuss natural supplements.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Help

      What supplements?? Please share.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse |
    • MR T

      Dr Christophers ear & nerve worked for me. Sound is almost gone.. Still treating with this and I'm confident the sound will go away totally. Good Luck!

      May 25, 2012 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
    • MR T

      been treating for 4 months with this. Just depends on damage done.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
    • Lorette

      What supplements? And where do you get them from? Many of us would like to know this info.....

      May 25, 2012 at 11:24 | Report abuse |
  14. Stephen

    oops ... does not discuss

    May 25, 2012 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Shhhh!

    I've had sometimes maddeningly loud tinnitus for at least five years now, but I'm one of the lucky ones – it comes and goes with the weather.

    I can tell if it's cloudy out without even looking out the window. I've tried associating it with the barometer, but have yet to find a correlation.

    I even got into an argument with my ENT when I told him on most clear days it totally goes away. He told me it can't possibly go away – but it does, for now, thankfully.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jd

      Very interesting to read about your experiences with weather change.
      I had traumatic ruptured eardrum which did not heal well & ended up having major ear surgery with resection of a cholesteatoma couple years ago. I do have some significant hearing loss in the affected ear and some tinnitus (although not nearly as bad as some people). I have noticed a definite correlation with the weather. When it is cloudy, high humidity, or bad snowy weather, my hearing loss is greater, as is my tinnitus. I have spoken with both of my ear surgeons and they just seem perplexed when I tell them this, but I am not imagining this.....I have researched on the net, but cannot find anything on this....

      May 25, 2012 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
    • Shhhh!

      Hey JD, doesn't it drive you mad? You would think it's not that uncommon, but every specialist I've spoken to has also just shrugged their shoulders and have no clue. I'm tempted to contact a meteorologist to see what other atmospheric conditions accompany clouds.

      May 25, 2012 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
    • Brooke

      I sometimes thought mine was worse on cloudy days or days when the barometric pressure was changing.

      May 25, 2012 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Almost a year now for me this annoying buzzing sound 24/7. I have just started watching the humidity because it seems to get worse when it's cloudy or going to rain. So far 48% and above get's louder and louder. Blood pressure was really high because my head felt like it was coming off my neck. Woke up Christmas Day fine around 1:00 got real dizzy and called off dinner. From there head pounding, high blood pressure nervous and weak. Anytime I lifted anything it would go right to my head. Took about 3 months of that to go away. Been going to the Chiropractor, after all the other test were done. I'm pretty good now but the ringing never left. Sounds like a fluorescent light. Pray some day there is a cure!

      November 12, 2016 at 21:02 | Report abuse |
  16. JT

    Having a hard time believing that 50 million people suffer from it... that's more than 1/7 the population.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. ring, ring..... hello

    I've had constant ringing in both ears since grade school, i'm almost 57 YO. All this talk of how to cope with it I find unhelpful. Unless you live with it you can't tell people how to "cope" with it. Like a man telling a woman what child birth is like.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Randy McLeod

    Forgot to mention this. As everyone knows, there's NO treatment for tinnitus. At least some people think so, lol. I for one. Saw an advertisement on TV of a cure. Bought it, then BAM,went deaf. Luckily, my doctor caught it in time, and my hearing came back in about two weeks. As I said, NO CURE.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Scott

    I have had it since 1985 at the age of 12 due to listening to a record player with headphones and the volume turned all the way up. Over the past 27 years I have learned to live with it and most days do not even notice it anymore. I have heard that the cause is actually the tiny hairs in the ear vibrating and that this noise has actually been recorded. Either way, with all of the horrible diseases out there this has to be very low on the list of things to be researching for a cure.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dianne

      Agreed, Scott. I've had this for years, and am so used to the ringing, it doesn't even bother me anymore.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
    • Jim Parker

      I think most of my fellow tinnitus sufferers would disagree. It's a condition that drives millions of people around the world to despair, and it can have a profound impact on productivity, family life, and overall mental health. Many men and women who served in Iraq returned to this country with terrible tinnitus. It may not be a fatal disease, but that doesn't mean it doesn't deserve serious effort to find a cure.

      May 25, 2012 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
  20. P_DUBYA

    I've had tinnitus all of my life, or as long as I can remember being alive. I sincerely thought the ringing in my ears was normal my whole life until I saw a movie about a military man that had the condition. Suddenly, I realized that the constant ringing in my ears wasn't normal. I have never heard "silence" my whole life, I still remember as a kid in school when the class was quiet and I'd be hearing constant ringing, the whole time thinking it was normal and never saying anything to my parents. Since this condition is all I've known it really doesn't bother me. When I read other comments about never hearing "silence" again, I think to myself...I guess I've NEVER heard silence and don't really know what it sounds or doesn't sound like. At least those people got the chance to actually experience that silence. Be grateful for what you've got or experienced, some of us never had the chance.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KandyKane

      I cannot express how excited I am to know someone else is just like me!! LOL!! My whole life...never silent either.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
  21. KandyKane

    I am almost 42 and I have had buzzing in my ears since I was at least 5 or 6 years old. I thought everybody heard what I heard, until I was about 10 and I asked my mom if she knew how to turn down the buzzing noise. She had no idea what I was talking about and that is when I realized it wasn't normal. What I have heard all these years, nonstop, day and night, is similar to that incessant buzzing you can hear from power lines. It doesn't get louder or quieter, it stays constant, never stops...ever. For someone who can't understand what it is like, think of it as an annoying itchy spot in the middle of your back that you can scratch and scratch and it never goes away.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Michelle

    Try acupuncture!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Jen

    My tinnitus was due to an acoustic neuroma, when they removed the tumor and Vestibularcochlear nerve it was growing from it took the hearing from that ear. I assumed the tinnitus would go also, no such luck, I woke up after surgery with absolute hearing silence but the permanent silvery hiss. Luckily I've never had a hard time ignoring my tinnitus. It just proves to me the tinnitus is brain based and not in the ear itself.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Pelkins

    I agree with others the headline for the article was misleading. I saw it an immediately clicked on it. I've suffered from it since the 1980s. I was a teenager in the Bay area during the rise of Thrash Metal and seldom missed an opportunity to go to concerts. The Sony Walkman volume control only had one setting as well. The end result has been a persistent tone in my ears for decades. It really doesn't bother me as much as some people as it's become almost the norm for me, but I still know it's not normal. I hear it all of the time, even in environments with noise it's still there. It would be nice if something could be done to treat it, but I guess it's just a part of me at this point. A glimmer of false hope from a bad headline, but still an interesting read.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. New Gawker

    How bizarre as soon as I started reading this article I noticed my ears ringing.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Bubba

    I lost a good portion of my hearing at age 6 to Mumps. It progressively got worst as I grew older an by my late 30s I was virtually deaf. For nearly 20 years I could read lips well enough to get by. I suffered tinnitus the whole time. It was at times mind boggling bad. The only time I got relief from this noise, no one but I could hear, was when I was asleep. About 8 years ago, I received my first Cochlear Implant and I thought at the time the tinnitus would go away. It didn't go away, but I found that now with the Cochlear devise operating, I only have a very light hum in my ears, which for the most part is unnoticeable.

    I can only speak for myself, but it was the loss of hearing, if only in part that caused the tinnitus. If you have it, a hearing aide or for those that go completely deaf as I did, a Cochlear Implant is a good alternate. Yes, the Cochlear Implants do work if you have been a speaking and at times hearing person. I hear well over 80% of everything that goes on, talk on the telephone, listen to music and I can't imagine going back to deafness.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Jim, Statesville NC

    I've suffered from Tinnitus since I was a young boy. I'm 62 now. Mine is like the sound you hear when you stand under a set of high-power power lines. The ringing isn't constantly the same. Some days it's barely noticeable and others it can be maddening. Today it's so-so, just background noise. I've been told by my doctor that it has been linked to aspirin which I take one of every day. Can't quit that, now can I? But he did say that someday they'll find some new drug they prescribe for cancer or some other condition will also cure or control the symptoms of tinnitus. I hope so. I think it's affected the hearing in my left ear because I seem to have lost about 50% ability in it.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Boo

    I have it and most times I can "tune it out." I just don't think about it and then I don't notice it unless it's dead quiet around me. I live in NYC so alot of the city noises muffle the ringing.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. beachguy

    I too suffer from tinnitus. Started about 2 and a half years ago, and has been constant day and night. Sounds like a high-pitched buzz. It can indeed be annoying, especially when it's quiet around you. Have learned not to focus on it when there is other noise like talking to people, tv, radio, road noise while driving, when I'm working, etc. Guess I'm blessed that it doesn't keep me from falling asleep, as that's when it's most quiet around me and the tinnitus is most noticeable. At least I had 54 years of "quiet". Don't expect to have that many years of buzzing in my ears.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Jim Brody

    I have the zillion-crickets-chirping variety. Mine came about in my late 50s, shortly after I acquired an I-Pod. I've since wondered whether that is what brought it on.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. BobJones

    Just ignore the sound. There, now you don't have to read this nonsensical piece of claptrap. Every single day I marvel at just how bad CNN has become.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Joe

    Im 46 and have suffered from tinnitus since I was 24. Mine came with hearing loss associated with loud music, playing the drums, etc. In my case, there is a constant high pitched noise, similar to crickets, constantly buzzing 24/7. It's worse in quiet settings and seems to get louder during stress. If you're just starting to experience it I can assure you that in time you will adjust to it and learn to cope. Try not to worry about it because that will make it seem much worse. For those of you that don't have it please protect your hearing!! Once tinnitus arrives you are stuck with it!!!

    May 25, 2012 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. kavin

    I too find the article disappointing. I have a chirping in my left ear that comes and goes, over long or short periods of time. Taking Gingko Biloba on a daily basis has helped. I believe it is related to my sinuses and/or swelling causing pressure on my auditory nerve.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David B

      I tried Gingko Biloba, and it was useless. And clinical trials have showed it does not work. Could be the placebo effect, if it helps some people.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
  34. BB

    Jeez, this stuff is awful. I get it right when Im almost asleep and the sound is so shriel it almost hurts. Its a quick, zzzzzzzzzzz sound and its awful. Only thing that works is to listen to my ipod while falling asleep.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Foxy Brown

      omg! i have this issue also. i have not tried listening to my ipod while falling asleep. it seem counter intuitive, like why add noise to the noise. it seems to work for you. i think i'll give it a try. it def couldn't hurt!

      May 25, 2012 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
  35. Rick

    Thanks for nothing! Thought you had a cure for my tinnitus. I've had it for 26 years now. I pray for silence but get no relief. I've learned to cope with it by ignoring it, kind of like a bug buzzing my ear. Try ignoring that for 26 years without losing your mind. Thankfully I can sleep at night.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. alpg49

    I've had it as long as I can remember. It bothers the people around me more than me because I just can't hear clearly.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Foxy Brown

    i have had a ringing in my ear since i was around 7. i'm almost 30. i had a bicycle accident (before the days of helmets and such) and landed in the side of my head. while no permanent damage was done, i was left with a ringing in my ear. some days it's a dull buzzing sound. some days it's a high pitched sound that kinda hurts. i'm like p_dubya and kandykane, i have never known silence. while i'm happy to hear i'm not alone, it saddens me to know that i'm stuck with this for the rest of my life. but like someone else said, it's not cancer, it won't kill me. for that, i am grateful.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Pat

    I also have tinnitus as a residual effect of having an acoustic neuroma treated. However, mine is very low-pitched and most of the time I don't "hear" it. For those who may be diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, I would urge you to research all the treatment options. I opted for "gamma knife surgery" (a form of computer guided, pin-point concentrated radiation) performed at UPMC – Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, PA. Depending on the size and location of the acoustic neuroma, this can be a less risky alternative to conventional surgery. With both gamma knife and conventional surgery, there is the potential that you will lose the hearing in the affected ear, but there is far lower risk of other damage to the facial and balance nerves. I did lose nearly all the hearing in the affected ear, but no other effects like drooping eyelid or mouth, and no balance problems.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Michael

    Whaaat?

    May 25, 2012 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Tinnitus sufferer

    I had this now for over 12 years and had done MRI etc. The article was total let down. Instead of treatment its focussing on handling fear. I had outgrown the fear quite some time back. I focus out the sound not out of fear but to be able to work/enjoy/sleep without getting bothered by the incessant noise. I guess it will take a doctor/medical person suffering with tinnitus to come out with more menanigful study/treatments. The comparision with spide phobia and tinnitus was as silly as it gets,,,,

    May 25, 2012 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. carolae

    Sounds like a gimmick to make more money for the audiologists or ENT. 5 years ago, while sitting on the couch watching TV, all of a sudden this loud ring appeared in my ears and never went away. I knew right away what it was, Tinnitus, and that my mom got this when she was in her early 70's also. There is nothing that can be done for it....you just learn how to live with it. At first, it was annoying and only bothered me when going to bed at night but I've since gotten past that. When you are with people, or the TV/music is on, etc. you don't even notice it. Of course if you choose to go through all of these so-called tests, your insurance covers you for it and the doctors will get their money. My suggestion is just to live with it.....I have and I lead a very normal life since I am retired and attend my card activities daily up at our clubhouse. There is no need to be fearful of your ears ringing....that is what Tinnitus is....lots of ringing; however, I do have to say I never heard of anyone say they have heard chirping before.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Van

    Has anyone suffering with tinnitus had any succses with the neuromonics therapy?

    May 25, 2012 at 11:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Michael Andrews

    I have had this condition for several years, and think that I first started having issues as a signal tech in the Army(years of headphone use.) It has been hard to explain to people what it is that I hear. They usually have no clue. It doesn't help that I am in a band. Thankful for in-ear monitors, where I can turn up only what I need to hear.

    It is weird that most of the time I hear a sound like rushed air or summertime crickets. There are some mornings that I awake to a pulsating sound. I wish there was a cure, but I don't hold out much hope.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. up1652

    Chemotherapy caused mine. A common side effect I have come to realize.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. alex

    what works for me is listening to music that is pleasing to me (softrock) other types don't work as well Plus chewing non sugar gum I put a small earbud into my ear, not headphones, dont work must put the bud in to work
    The chewing massages the ear area I do this for about 60 to 90 minutes daily and it gives me a chance of (no ringing) that day. Nothing else I've tried works This does, So I chew a lot I seem to get it after sleeping or any length of naps 5 minutes or 2 hours. I rid the ringing by said system and f I take a nap, bamm i'ts back I go to bed no ringing bamm I wake up to it every single day. I came up with this chewing and music and it has a 50-60% of sucess that day I've noticed that stress also intensifies the volume of ring So relax ignore the ringing music in the ear and chew, Note you will bite your cheeks or tongue Good luck

    May 25, 2012 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Curmodgeon

    I have suffered with this malady for over 30 years. I have been told that failure to use ear protection when using loud tools (chain saws, jack hammers) was a root cause of the nerve damage that I also suffer and that the tinnitus is a byproduct of the hearing loss.

    Strangely, sometimes the ringing ceases completely–the effect is dramatic and I immediately notice that the noise is gone. I have not been able to pin down what or why the tinnitus disappears, usually for a few minutes to several hours. Activity, medication, neither seems to be associated with the periods of silence. In any event, it always returns so I just live with it.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Joe, St. Paul MN

    Disappointing article. I'm 64 & I've had "hissing" tinnitus since I was a little boy. And my favorite thing to do? Reading. Can you imagine reading Faulkner, Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Wodehouse... all to the accompaniment of hissing. Greek mythology tells a story about someone who offended the gods, and they sent stinging insects to his ears. I wonder if that was an attempt to explain tinnitus.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Meniere's patient

      Try listening to while noise while reading, or natural sounds like flowing streams or rainfall. I have these on my cell phone and put earphones on and listen while reading.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
  48. Meniere's patient

    No mention of tinnitus caused by Meniere's Disease? I have this disease which causes inner-ear problems such as loss of balance, hearing loss and tinnitus. I've described the sound I hear what you hear on a summer evening late at night – like insects buzzing. Like others, it's 24/7, though sometimes worse than others. I also feel sad I will never enjoy silence again.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Tinnitus Gone

    I went the medical route first. Hearing test, specialist, blah blah blah. Their answer was to sell me an expensive device to put in my ear that creates white noise to mask the tinnitus noise. Didn't make any sense to me why I would want to mask one noise with another. So... I went to my chiropractor, a few neck/head adjustments and 2 grapefruit seed extract pills (you can get at any health food or whole foods store) per day for 3 weeks cured my tinnitus. It never came back. Worked for me. Worth a try?

    May 25, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Greg Brusseau

    My tinnitus started about 2 years ago after a bad cold and sinus infection. I too thought that this was normal until I read an article. I started asking around to other people what they heard when there was no other noise around. They said silence. Not so with me. Mine is like a constant buzzing sound. 24/7/365, never ceases. I long for even a few minutes of silence. I went to the Tinnitus clinc at Duke University in Durham, NC. They could 'mask' the sound for around 4K but I would have to carry a device that cancels the inside sound. No cure. The clinic did suggest trying to identify trigger points that at times makes it louder. So far: too much caffine, definately stress (seems that is common to everyone), bad night sleep, too much alcohol, sugar and loud noises.
    I too was disappointed in the headline of the article. For the most part I can carry on with daily life. At times though it does get to me. I do not fear it. My fear is that over time it will get louder. It is at times very maddening. I went to an ENT and there seems to be no pathological based reason, although maybe an MRI could be in order to rule out an adenoma. I do take Klonipin. .5mg twice a day. I wonder if I upped it to 3 times a day, would that be better? Klonipin does help as it keeps the peeks and valleys of personality at an ebb and hence anxiety and stress. But sound buzzes away still.
    I am interested in the few folks who wrote in about Dr. Christopher ear and nerve. Hell why not try it? I tried a few herbs to no avail. Perhaps I wasn't taking enough or long enough. There is scant information out there on how much and how long. But as a few people person pointed out it isn't life threatening or diblilitating. If you think you have it bad, just drive past a cemetery or go to a hospital. I don't mean do dismiss those who have this to the point of insanity. Just trying to put it in perspective.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
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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.