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Tinnitus, Ambulatory Care


is when you hear ringing, clicking, buzzing, or hissing in one or both ears. You may also hear whistling, chirping, or pulsing. It may be soft or loud, at a low pitch or high pitch. Tinnitus may be caused by problems with your hearing system. Your hearing system includes your ear, the nerve that connects your ear to your brain. The parts of your brain that sort out sounds are also part of your hearing system. Tinnitus may also be caused by health conditions, such as Ménière's disease. Tinnitus that lasts for longer than 6 months is considered chronic.

Contact your healthcare provider for the following symptoms:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Tiredness and trouble concentrating or remembering things
  • Increased anxiety or stress
  • Deep sadness or depression
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Symptoms that get worse or do not go away
  • Questions or concerns about your condition or care

Treatment for tinnitus

You may not need treatment. Your symptoms may only appear when you are anxious or stressed. Your healthcare provider may stop certain medicines that may be causing your tinnitus. You may also need medicines to help decrease your symptoms. You may need any of the following:

  • Counseling can help you learn ways to relax, decrease stress, and make your tinnitus less noticeable.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you understand your condition. Your therapist will help you learn to cope with tinnitus. You may also learn new ways to relax and retrain your behavior to decrease your symptoms.
  • Sound therapy , such as white noise machines, may help cover your tinnitus with a pleasant sound. Sound therapy devices can help you fall asleep or help you relax. These devices can be worn in your ear or placed next to your bed at night.
  • Hearing aids or cochlear implants may help if you have hearing loss.
  • Surgery may be needed if your tinnitus is caused by abnormal blood vessels or a mass.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking decreases blood flow to your ear and can make your tinnitus worse. Ask for information if you need help quitting.
  • Decrease how much alcohol and caffeine you drink. Alcohol and caffeine can make your tinnitus worse.

Prevent tinnitus:

  • Avoid exposure to loud noise , such as loud music or power tools. Occasional exposure can still cause tinnitus. Move away from the noise or turn down the volume.
  • Wear ear protection when you are exposed to loud noises. Good ear protection includes ear plugs or headphones that reduce noise.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.