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 (3,066 Responses)
  1. air conditioning technician near me

    Hey there! I just wish to offer you a big thumbs up for the excellent info you have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your website for more soon.

    https://www.anonym.to/?https://cool-air-tech.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 19:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Senior Care Providers

    Your style is really unique compared to other folks I've read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this blog.

    https://www.remontmix.ru/out?t=1&mid=19521&url=https://assistedlivingseniorcarepalmdesert.com

    May 18, 2021 at 20:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. JebgEncox

    generic pharmacy online http://pharmacylo.com/ drugstore cowboy

    May 18, 2021 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Maserati A6 Gcs

    http://www.semex.com/popurl.cgi?url=maseratiforum.net/

    May 18, 2021 at 23:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. zoom energy pills

    Excellent web site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    http://music-style.info/music-style/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=7897&url=http://energygopep.com

    May 18, 2021 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Roofing And Siding Contractors Near Me

    Hi, I do believe this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may return yet again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

    https://dir.tetsumania.net/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=3267&url=https://sanmarinoroof.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Maserati Granturismo White

    https://www.glorioustronics.com/redirect.php?link=https://www.maseratiforum.net

    May 19, 2021 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Video Marketing Maker

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you, However I am experiencing problems with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anyone else having the same RSS problems? Anybody who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

    https://www.p1-uranai.com/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=538&url=https://www.juicycalls.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Seo Marketing Companies

    http://enseignants.flammarion.com/Banners_Click.cfm?ID=86&URL=spokanevalleyseo.com

    May 19, 2021 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Local Marketing Events

    http://mytown.ie/log_outbound.php?business=118705&type=website&url=bestshopnearme.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Internet Marketing Agencies Near Me

    http://volkshilfe-salzburg.mobile-websites.at/?task=get&url=http://curtismelancon.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 03:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Ray Ban Retailers Near Me

    http://sys.labaq.com/cli/go.php?s=lbac&p=1410jt&t=02&url=http://sunglasseseyedoctorsoptometristphoenixaz.com

    May 19, 2021 at 04:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Recarga de celular

    Eu amo esse post, muito útil

    https://recharge-mobiles.com/pt/

    May 19, 2021 at 05:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 1966 Maserati

    http://www.twpusc.org/Redirect.aspx?destination=http://www.maseratiforum.net/

    May 19, 2021 at 06:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Maserati Wrong Place Right Time

    Your style is very unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.

    https://spotlight.radiopublic.com/images/thumbnail?url=https://maseratis.net

    May 19, 2021 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Eye Exam Doctor Near Me

    http://sports-ranking.com/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=7&url=http://bettersightovernight.com

    May 19, 2021 at 06:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Maserati Colors

    Very good information. Lucky me I recently found your site by chance (stumbleupon). I've saved as a favorite for later!

    https://www.twpusc.org/Redirect.aspx?destination=https://www.maseratiforum.net/

    May 19, 2021 at 06:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. American Eyeglass Near Me

    https://megalodon.jp/?url=http://eyedoctorphoenixaz.com

    May 19, 2021 at 06:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. AnooEncox

    viagra pour homme canada http://llviagra.com/ viagra and miscarriage

    May 19, 2021 at 07:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Maserati Wrong Place Right Time

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I stumbled across this during my search for something relating to this.

    https://serbiancafe.com/lat/diskusije/new/redirect.php?url=https://maseratis.net

    May 19, 2021 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Eyes Doctor Near Me

    Excellent post! We are linking to this great content on our site. Keep up the great writing.

    https://www.rondomusic.com/cgi-bin/affiliates/clickthru.cgi?id=bwcornwell&page=https://sunglasseseyedoctorsoptometristphoenixaz.com

    May 19, 2021 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. energy pills walgreens

    https://cps113.quicklaunchsso.com/cas/logout?service=http://bonus-books.com

    May 19, 2021 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Open Optometrist Near Me

    http://rondomusic.com/cgi-bin/affiliates/clickthru.cgi?id=bwcornwell&page=http://bettersightovernight.com

    May 19, 2021 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Parker Arizona Private Jet Ski Rental

    http://www.ladygamer.jp/ws/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=299&url=https://nevadapwcrentals.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Vehicle Lettering Near Me

    Hello, I do believe your web site may be having internet browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, great site!

    https://www.capnordic.dk/redirect.asp?url=https://www.360branded.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Metal Shop Near My Location

    When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a way you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!

    https://pakopako.misty.ne.jp/old/out.cgi?id=palette&url=http://jrkreations.com

    May 19, 2021 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Metal Fabricator Company

    Hello there, I do think your site could possibly be having browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Besides that, excellent website!

    https://mitsui-shopping-park.com/lalaport/iwata/redirect.html?url=http://jrkreations.com

    May 19, 2021 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Welding Fabrication Shops Near Me

    This is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!

    https://safebrowse.zorgselect.nl/r?url=https://jrkreations.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. LbsoZisse

    cialis no precription http://ucialisdas.com/ cialis with no prescription

    May 19, 2021 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. good paint shops near me

    Your style is so unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this web site.

    https://forums.womenshealthmatters.ca/gynegals/index.php?app=analytics&module=analytics&controller=link&topic=115902&url=https://www.goebel.indiedrawingsgig.com/page/19/

    May 19, 2021 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Dashboard California

    /

    May 19, 2021 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Collision Repair California

    https://www.chinarundreisen.com/publicbin/redirect.asp?url=https://clintbakerphotography.com/hohenzollern-castle-germany/

    May 19, 2021 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Parts Near Me

    This web site truly has all of the info I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    http://www.foodprotection.org/a/partners/link/?id=79&url=https://12rex.com/home-less/121_2162/

    May 19, 2021 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. rv parks orange county california

    /

    May 19, 2021 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. rv couches

    Everything is very open with a very clear description of the issues. It was really informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing!

    /

    May 19, 2021 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Toilets Los Angeles

    http://www.bam.ssru.ac.th/setlanguage.php?setlang=eng&action=setlanguage&&url=http://partypiraten.info/euer-feedback.html?start=1660

    May 19, 2021 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. camper fiberglass repair

    Hello there! This post couldn’t be written much better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I'll send this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a great read. Thank you for sharing!

    /

    May 19, 2021 at 19:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. BbshMile

    is viagra funded by government https://loxviagra.com/ does viagra make you harder

    May 19, 2021 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. camper trailer repair near me

    Excellent site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find high quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    https://www.texasbarcle.com/cle/LPGateway.asp?lResourceID=646&sURL=https://ingenieurleistungenreiter.com/index.php?option=com_phocaguestbook&view=phocaguestbook&id=1&Itemid=4&t=140&limitstart=57340

    May 19, 2021 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Video Marketing Consultant

    https://mkblog.cn/go/?url=https://postfallsbootcamp.com

    May 19, 2021 at 21:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. interstate collision center

    /

    May 19, 2021 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Upgrades California

    http://czech-guide.aspone.cz/language.aspx?culture=cs-CZ&ReturnUrl=https://staegestion.management.me.uk/annuaire/goto.php?id=30320

    May 19, 2021 at 22:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Digital Marketing Service

    https://trucktown.ru/go.php?https://bestlocalnearme.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Video Marketing Consultant

    https://consultaca.com/redir/?ca=12115&url=https://spokanevalleymarketing.com

    May 20, 2021 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Digital Marketing Experts

    https://www.5ivestarlondon.com/track.aspx?click=I&group=Z&item=Primrose+Bakery+Bespoke+Service&url=https://www.postfallsfitness.com/

    May 20, 2021 at 02:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Internet Marketing Mechanics

    https://shop.merchtable.com/users/authorize?return_url=http://postfallsphotographer.com/

    May 20, 2021 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Internet Marketing Agencies Near Me

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Take care! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    http://www.cssdrive.com/?URL=curtismelancon.com/

    May 20, 2021 at 02:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Content Marketing Firms

    That is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read article!

    https://sunhun.com/link.php?url=https://reviewnearme.com

    May 20, 2021 at 03:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Content Marketing Agency Near Me

    https://www.chromefans.org/base/xh_go.php?u=http://nearmyspot.com/

    May 20, 2021 at 04:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. siding installation

    I love this post, very useful for siding

    https://gutterstoronto.com/siding-installation-and-repairs/

    May 20, 2021 at 04:02 | 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 AbcfTeneseelt


 

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.