Are you hearing ringing, hissing, or buzzing in your ears? If so, you may be suffering from tinnitus, a condition characterized by persistent ringing, whistling, buzzing, hissing, or pulsing in either one or both ears, and is usually accompanied by hearing loss. These sounds may come and go for an individual or continually occur, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Tinnitus can range from slight annoyance to severe disruption of everyday life and cause significant stress such as:

  •  Irritability, anger and frustration
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Decreased enjoyment of life and withdrawing from activities
  • Increased worry or anxiety

The causes of tinnitus vary for each individual. Some of the causes include the following:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss and nerve damage
  • Earwax buildup
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Rupture of the eardrum
  • Ear infection
  • Trauma to the neck and head
  • Cardiovascular problems, such as hypertension

Getting Help

Due to the personal and unique nature of each tinnitus condition, proper evaluation and treatment is necessary. If you have not already been evaluated by an audiologist, this should be your first step before beginning Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Once you and your audiologist have explored the medical treatment options for your tinnitus, (CBT) can help you learn specific tools and strategies to reduce the impact of tinnitus on your daily life such as:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Changing how you respond to tinnitus
  • Identifying and changing negative thinking patterns
  • Training your attention to focus on things that are important to you while reducing the interference of tinnitus.

CBT is a brief approach that has been proven to help improve the quality of life for those suffering from tinnitus.