One of the most important concerns a patient can ask his doctor about tinnitus is whether a cure is available. Is there a cure for tinnitus? Many experts are saying that there is currently no cure for it. To understand this further, we would have to bring to surface the fact that tinnitus is not a disease but only a symptom of a disease, and in most cases it is the main disorder that we cure, not the symptoms.
Doctors would agree that the ideal way to cure tinnitus is to cure the cause. This is why medical examinations are geared to pinning down the culprit. An ear infection, which causes ear pain, deafness, and tinnitus, may be treated using antibiotics. Once treated all symptoms, including ear ringing, disappear.
In other cases, the cause is identified but is untreatable. The most common irreparable disorder is noise-induced hearing loss, which results from damage to the cochlear hair cells due to frequent exposure to loud sound.
There are also cases when the cause itself is not identified. It’s as if tinnitus just happened with no previous warning.
In the two latter cases, the treatment options are geared to making the ringing in the ears less bothersome to help people cope whilst having it. It is wise to note that cure for tinnitus may not always be directed to stopping tinnitus. In fact, in these cases nothing has been proven yet to quiet the peculiar noise in the ears but there are countless options.
In cases where deafness at some degree is present, hearing aids are ordered to help patients hear better by amplification of external sound. Sometimes only specific frequencies are amplified. Strengthening the sensation of ambient sound offsets the effect of auditory deprivation due to hearing loss. The amplified ambient noise may serve to mask the internal noise, too.
People with normal hearing do not have to fit hearing aids. Instead, they are advised to wear masking devices. In mild or moderate symptoms for tinnitus, environmental noise is enough to actually drown the internal noise. This is why on a busy, active day outdoors; patients seem to forget they have tinnitus. However, tinnitus would become perceptible again once the ambient noise goes down, say when entering a quiet room or during night time. This is why masking devices should be set up in quiet rooms to generate a steady stream of white noise to make tones or noise in the ears less perceptible.
Of course, these devices are not an ultimate cure for tinnitus but they make the condition more tolerable and less troublesome. Nevertheless, there have been reports of residual inhibition, during which case patients seem to lose tinnitus perception a few minutes or a few hours after masking.