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. appomannoni

    men with erectile dysfunction kayamy erectile shots diagram
    compare erectile dysfunction medicines slilicy which erectile dysfunction drug is best
    10 best erectile supplements sicAdofs compare erectile dysfunction drugs

    June 22, 2021 at 21:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Repair Near Me Now

    Spot on with this write-up, I honestly feel this site needs far more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the information!


    June 22, 2021 at 21:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Recharge Mobile

    Best website for blos, many thanks


    June 22, 2021 at 21:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Engine Repair Near Me

    Good post. I'm facing many of these issues as well..


    June 22, 2021 at 21:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Google Marketing Specialists


    June 22, 2021 at 21:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. elon musk joe rogan podcast


    June 22, 2021 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Repair Near Me

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be helpful to read content from other writers and use something from other web sites.


    June 22, 2021 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repair Near My Location


    June 22, 2021 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Local Marketing Company


    June 23, 2021 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Internet Marketing Mechanics

    I blog often and I truly thank you for your content. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.


    June 23, 2021 at 00:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Parts And Repair Near Me

    This is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise infoÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 23, 2021 at 01:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. dan le batard show podcast


    June 23, 2021 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Camper Repair Near Me


    June 23, 2021 at 03:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Appliance Repair Near Me


    June 23, 2021 at 03:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. commentxddhn940

    Обзор базы и озера Bennet lake. Видеозарисовка с берега. Красиво, всем советую. https://demo2.vuottroi.vn/forums/profile/ozeropam708/ Достопримечательности на озере Гарда. ЗАПРОС ИНФОРМАЦИИ гребля.?jpg https://thirdaxisgaming.com/index.php/community/profile/ozerocheer924/ Озеро Ровкульское находится в западной части Карелии в Муезерском районе Юдала, Дермакдёги, Кавгадёги Лузингидёги; озера Миноярви и Дегра). https://www.vptn.de/community/profile/ozerohycle36 Рыбалка для настоящих мужчин на озере Таймыр моря и Хатангским заливом моря Лаптевых. Крупнейший полуостров России ( км2). https://www.DetachedGaming.com/community/profile/ozeroken490/ Туроператор Мегатур предлагает лучшую форелевую рыбалку в Италии. до самых впечатляющих европейских горных вершин Доломитовых Альп, Озёра являются неотъемлемой составляющей пейзажей Трентино. https://mcdemo.restassuredit.com/forums/profile/ozeroploro505/ Путешествие 15 лучших озер в Вирджинии. Озеро Гастон; Округа Брансуик и Мекленбург. Это также популярное место для рыбалки. https://theblessfirm.consulting/community/profile/ozerobleld401/ Предлагаем 5 комнатный дом из клееного бруса на Суходольском озере, спуск к и проектировался для комфортного загородного отдыха и рыбалки. https://hybridelectric.com.ng/community/profile/ozerotax632/ Лечебное озеро Мойнаки. Мы были в очень С полезной водичкой. https://www.consorziomega.it/community/profile/ozerowooks285/ Составлены крупномасштабные планы озера Ленёво. https://spedsheets.com/index.php/community/profile/ozeroshaby802/ #рыбалка,#сделайсам, #хобби, #рыбалка Задумывался ли ты когда-. РыбалкаДомашний Декор. https://addons.wpforo.com/community/profile/ozerohem393/ ской области озер, прудов и водохранилищ, площадь водного ремисское и Вьюновское – внут- ренние озера. https://techresearchonline.com/discussion-forum/profile/ozeroreeks4/ Водоемы платные Рыбалка. В пруду есть карп, толстолобик, карась, сазан, щука и линь. В Белом Колодце дозарыбили озеро. https://everjane.com/community/profile/ozeroskill778/ В четверг, 18 марта, на озере Большое Язно рыбалка чуть не обернулась На берегу его страховали водитель Юрий Кураш и уже. https://www.DetachedGaming.com/community/profile/ozeroken305/ Наблюдением поделился житель Жуковки Владимир Чесалин на святом озере необычные и непонятные явления, впечатлениями о которых он Владимир Чесалин заметил) платная рыбалка пиарит место. https://divisionkings.com/PracticeLobbiesForums/profile/ozeroerato642/ Видео: Пробиваем путик до избы. Рыбалка на Кольском, озеро Запоповье. Немного изучите, как производится. http://flowmango.com/community/profile/ozerodyeft576/

    June 23, 2021 at 04:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. vtv3 hd online

    Thẳng đá Bóng Hôm Nay, Liên Kết Coi Bóng Đá Trực Tuyến 24hxem truc tiếp bong da trên truyền hình k+ pmTheo thể thức thi đấu, đội thắng ở cặp đấu này sẽ giành tấm vé đến Lithuania vào ngày hội bóng đá lớn nhất thế giới cho futsal. Tuyển futsal Việt Nam bước vào trận play-off lượt đi tranh vé dự play-off World Cup 2021 với sự tự tin. Tuy vậy, HLV Phạm Minh Giang bày tỏ, toàn đội ko ngán Lebanon tuy vậy sẽ tìm cách để khắc chế sức mạnh của đối thủ bởi bên trên băng ghế huấn luyện là nhà cầm quân Ramiro Lopez, người từng dẫn dắt futsal Tây Ban Nha.|Dựa vào lịch thi đấu, bạn hoàn toàn có thể chuẩn bị xếp làm việc


    June 23, 2021 at 04:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. appomannoni

    botox for erectile dysfunction kayamy erectile brokenness
    erectile tools slilicy erectile implants video
    erectile medications sicAdofs youth erectile dysfunction

    June 23, 2021 at 05:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Chassis Repair Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thanks, However I am having difficulties with your RSS. I donít know why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 23, 2021 at 05:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. pharmaceptica

    erectile tissue around the urethra https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 23, 2021 at 05:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Collision Repair Near Me

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and the rest of the site is also really good.


    June 23, 2021 at 06:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Video Marketing Near Me

    That is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate infoÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 23, 2021 at 06:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Brake Repair Near Me

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. There's no doubt that that you ought to write more about this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but typically folks don't talk about these subjects. To the next! Many thanks!!


    June 23, 2021 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. pharmaceptica.com

    cloroquin https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 23, 2021 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Repair Store Near Me

    This is a topic that is close to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?


    June 23, 2021 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. andrew klavan podcast

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast simply because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this issue here on your blog.


    June 23, 2021 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Internet Marketing Services


    June 23, 2021 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. culpable podcast

    I blog often and I really appreciate your information. This article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to book mark your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your Feed too.


    June 23, 2021 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. SEO Marketing Agencies


    June 23, 2021 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Google Marketing Company

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may return yet again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    June 23, 2021 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Repair Center Near Me


    June 23, 2021 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Internet Marketing Business

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article. Many thanks for providing this info.


    June 23, 2021 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. appomannoni

    is erectile dysfunction a chronic disease http://canadasildenafill.com#

    June 23, 2021 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Camper RV Repair Near Me


    June 23, 2021 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Local Marketing Service


    June 23, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Digital Marketing Company

    I was able to find good advice from your articles.


    June 23, 2021 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV And Truck Repair Near Me

    I love it when individuals come together and share views. Great website, stick with it!


    June 23, 2021 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Fridge Repair Near Me

    Hi, I do believe this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may come back once again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    June 23, 2021 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. dunkin near me


    June 23, 2021 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Social Media Marketing Businesses

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Finding the time and actual effort to make a top notch articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a lot and don't manage to get nearly anything done.


    June 23, 2021 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Google Marketing Service


    June 23, 2021 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. used cars near me


    June 23, 2021 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repair Center Near Me


    June 23, 2021 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. buffet near me

    I enjoy reading through an article that will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!


    June 23, 2021 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Internet Marketing Near Me

    You are so interesting! I don't suppose I've read through a single thing like that before. So good to discover another person with a few unique thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!


    June 23, 2021 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Social Media Marketing Firm


    June 23, 2021 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. shopping near me


    June 23, 2021 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. appomannoni

    why does erectile dysfunction happen http://tadalafilod.com#

    June 23, 2021 at 20:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Repair Shops Near My Location


    June 23, 2021 at 20:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Repair Service Near Me

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


    June 23, 2021 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. harbor freight near me


    June 23, 2021 at 21:45 | 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 KndnMile


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.