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 (3,065 Responses)
  1. tadalafil dosage

    tadalafil gel https://elitadalafill.com/ what is tadalafil

    March 18, 2021 at 09:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. outbound links seo

    If you've spent your life's work building up a startups and small businesses, it can be hard to think about how the startups and small businesses could ever continue on without you. But the fact is that if you want the startups and small businesses to thrive even after your gone, in the way you think it should, you really need to take some time to for startups and small businesses succession planning. Since startups and small businesses succession planning can involve both legal issues and emotional issues, an attorney who specializes in startups and small businesses succession planning can really help you make sure that your startups and small businesses is legally sound for the future and...


    March 19, 2021 at 01:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. fun things to do in vegas

    My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I should check things out.
    I like what I see so now i'm following you. Look forward to looking into your web page repeatedly.

    March 19, 2021 at 04:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. house of fun free coins 2017

    Hi, I would like to subscribe for this web site to get latest updates, thus where can i do it please help out.

    March 19, 2021 at 04:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. fun things to do in philadelphia

    I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This piece of writing posted at this website is genuinely nice.

    March 19, 2021 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Collin

    Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great,
    as well as the content!

    March 19, 2021 at 05:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. generic vardenafil 20mg

    how does vardenafil work https://vegavardenafil.com/ where to buy online vardenafil with out prescribed

    March 19, 2021 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. seo article

    It's a known fact throughout internet marketing that the success rate is extremely low, and unfortunately the industry has acquired a bad rap. There are certain reasons why the home based startups and small businesses success rate has remained in this constant status for all these years, and it may even surprise you. The average person has the ability to do numerous things in order to increase their results, however, it ultimately has to be their decision to take it seriously and remain committed to their startups and small businesses.


    March 19, 2021 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. cvs men's sexual health supplements

    medication induced erectile dysfunction https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ why erectile dysfunction happens

    March 19, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. canadian customs pills vitamins

    canadian generic pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    March 19, 2021 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. href="https://kubet365.net/">soi cầu kubet

    soi cầu kubet


    March 19, 2021 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. href="https://kubet365.net/soi-cau/">soi cầu xsmb

    soi cầu xổ số miền bắc


    March 19, 2021 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. soi cau mb hom nay

    soi cầu miền bắc


    March 19, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. kucasino

    cau xsmb


    March 19, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. soi cầu

    soi cau


    March 19, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. viagra canada purchase

    new viagra in canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ is it safe to get viagra from canada

    March 19, 2021 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. I Fashion Styles

    I have mastered some new issues from your site about computers. Another thing I've always thought is that laptop computers have become an item that each residence must have for most reasons. They provide convenient ways in which to organize homes, pay bills, search for information, study, pay attention to music and in many cases watch television shows. An innovative technique to complete all of these tasks has been a notebook. These pcs are portable ones, small, highly effective and lightweight.


    March 19, 2021 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Best Window Washing Service Near Me Five Points, Denver, CO

    Thanks for the information.


    March 20, 2021 at 00:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. canadian pharmacy no perscription generic cialis

    canadian meds cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ cialis canadian

    March 20, 2021 at 05:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. tadalafil pills 20mg

    generic tadalafil united states https://elitadalafill.com/ buy tadalafil

    March 20, 2021 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. makeup remover

    UCANBE Spotlight 40 Color Eye Shadow Palette


    March 20, 2021 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. nail glitter

    Beautyforten‘s mission is to elevate, enable, approve, and eventually assemble confidence in ladies around the globe through astounding items that empower both inward and external beauty and otherworldly edification while additionally giving chances to self-improvement and budgetary reward. We let you feel beautiful.Changeable Pink Violet Nude Eye Shadow Palette


    March 20, 2021 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. nail dryers

    Beautyforten‘s mission is to elevate, enable, approve, and eventually assemble confidence in ladies around the globe through astounding items that empower both inward and external beauty and otherworldly edification while additionally giving chances to self-improvement and budgetary reward. We let you feel beautiful.Changeable Pink Violet Nude Eye Shadow Palette


    March 20, 2021 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. FOCALLURE Glitter Eye Shadow 18 Colours

    Beautyforten‘s mission is to elevate, enable, approve, and eventually assemble confidence in ladies around the globe through astounding items that empower both inward and external beauty and otherworldly edification while additionally giving chances to self-improvement and budgetary reward. We let you feel beautiful.Changeable Pink Violet Nude Eye Shadow Palette


    March 20, 2021 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Jerrie Kaku

    A fat tire electric bike usually has an aluminum frame with a front fork, which is much stronger than the typical fork used in regular bikes. The aluminum frame does require some extra attention as it is exposed to a lot of friction off-road. Some of the manufacturers offer suspension systems with a cable system to give the rider a smoother ride.


    March 20, 2021 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. best erectile medicine

    erectile rehabilitation https://erectiledysfunctionpillscvs.com/ erectile pain after peyronie s surgery

    March 20, 2021 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. 3D Mascara Lengthening Black Lash

    nail dryers


    March 20, 2021 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Daylight studio hire

    Photo studio hire


    March 21, 2021 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Photo studio hire

    Photo studio hire


    March 21, 2021 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Photo shoot location

    Photo studio hire


    March 21, 2021 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Photo studio hire

    We are Daylight Studio, a boutique photography studio and photo shoot location in East London available for hire. We are a creative natural light studio space with decorated French walls, lots of props and furniture and massive windows for great natural light. He have a unique selection of chairs, fabric backgrounds and a sofa for your next natural light photography project. The studio is great for fashion, portrait and commercial photography and if natural light photography studio is not your thing we have a lot of lighting equipment available for you as well and that includes studio strobe lights with various modifiers and LED constant lights for video production. We also have facilities for e-commerce photography. Please see the studio’s gallery here. Please consider Daylight Studio as your shoot location or film location for your next creative project.


    March 21, 2021 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. address to harrahs casino in new orleans

    deposit casino blog https://casinoxsgames.com/ planet 7 casino free money codes

    March 21, 2021 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. casino star free slots

    free casino slots games https://casinoxsbest.com/ haeeahs casino north carolina promo codes

    March 21, 2021 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. casino slot machines girl

    san manuel indian bingo & casino highland ca https://casinoxsbonus.com/ casino signup bonus vegas

    March 21, 2021 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. vegas world free casino games

    four winds casino new buffalo, mi https://casinoxsonline.com/ excalibur casino slot wins

    March 21, 2021 at 19:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. game online casino

    I'll be back on when we start getting double money on businesses.
    I needed to take a few weeks off anyway.

    my web-site; game online casino

    March 22, 2021 at 06:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. fun outdoor games

    you're in point of fact a good webmaster. The web site loading velocity is incredible.
    It kind of feels that you're doing any unique
    trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you have performed a wonderful job in this matter!

    March 22, 2021 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. fun things to do in salt lake city

    I always used to read article in news papers but now as I am
    a user of internet so from now I am using net for content, thanks to web.

    March 22, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. fun things to do in atlanta

    If some one desires to be updated with newest technologies therefore he must
    be pay a quick visit this website and be up to date daily.

    March 22, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. no deposit casino bonus

    bronco billy's new casino https://casinoxsonline.com/ new york new york casino las vegas

    March 22, 2021 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. house of fun slot freebies

    WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for

    March 22, 2021 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. fun toys for 11 year olds

    I got this web page from my friend who informed me regarding this
    web page and now this time I am visiting this website and reading very
    informative articles at this place.

    March 22, 2021 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. fun places to go with family near me

    Thanks for finally writing about > Finally, a treatment for that
    buzzing in your ears – The Chart – CNN.com Blogs < Loved it!

    March 22, 2021 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. fin fun mermaid tails for kids

    Wow, this post is pleasant, my sister is analyzing these things,
    therefore I am going to inform her.

    March 22, 2021 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. fun restaurants in orlando

    Good day! I could have sworn I've visited this site before but after looking at some of the posts I realized it's new to
    me. Nonetheless, I'm certainly pleased I found it and I'll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!

    March 22, 2021 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. fun diys

    Great post! We will be linking to this particularly great post on our site.
    Keep up the great writing.

    March 22, 2021 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Elva

    Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a team of volunteers and starting a new project
    in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work
    on. You have done a marvellous job!

    March 22, 2021 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. fun places to go with kids near me

    I really like what you guys tend to be up too.

    This type of clever work and reporting! Keep up the fantastic works guys I've
    incorporated you guys to blogroll.

    March 22, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. fun vr games

    What a stuff of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious knowledge on the topic of unexpected emotions.

    March 23, 2021 at 00:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. math is fun

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you need to publish more about this
    topic, it may not be a taboo matter but typically people do
    not discuss these topics. To the next! Many thanks!!

    March 23, 2021 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59

Leave a Reply to collision center of temecula temecula ca


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.

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.