Can tinnitus be treated?


A comprehensive hearing and tinnitus assessment at MAC will provide you with detailed information about tinnitus management and your hearing health. Our audiologists have many years experience and will provide you with the appropriate recommendations regarding treatment options.

If you have a ringing or buzzing in your ears or head, you may have tinnitus. People with tinnitus experience a sound that is not actually in the environment around them; it is sometimes referred to as a ‘phantom’ sound. One in three people will experience tinnitus at some time in their lives, one in six has persistent tinnitus and for some people, the tinnitus can disturb sleep or concentration. The prevalence of tinnitus increases with hearing loss.

Our audiologists can assist people to manage their tinnitus. We believe in a holistic approach to tinnitus management and offer the latest tinnitus treatment including:

  • Amplification
  • Sound therapy
  • Tinnitus counselling
Learn more

Tinnitus is defined as the perception of sounds in your ears or in your head when no such sounds are present in the world around you. It is often described as “ringing”, “whistling” or “buzzing” and may be continuous or intermittent.

Some people can hear their tinnitus only in quiet situations, but some can find it extremely bothersome or loud and it can affect their ability to concentrate or sleep. In the majority of cases the tinnitus is subjective meaning that only the person with tinnitus can hear it, but on very rare occasions tinnitus can be objective and others can hear it as well.

Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom usually caused by some damage in the hearing pathway from your ear to the brain. Tinnitus varies from one person to the next, being bothersome in some people and a mild nuisance to others. It can also be affected by ongoing noise exposure, certain foods, and medications, as well as stress and the general well-being of the individual.

The Tinnitus Cycle

Tinnitus can be a vicious cycle. You begin to hear the tinnitus, you then start attaching negative emotions to it causing worry and stress. Each time you subsequently hear your tinnitus you become more and more stressed which causes it to become louder. This, in turn, causes you to worry and stress more, which makes the tinnitus louder forming a vicious cycle of worry and stress which can make the tinnitus worse. A holistic approach to tinnitus treatment will help break this cycle.

Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. It most often occurs when there is a problem in the auditory system. The auditory system begins at the ear and ends in the brain. Tinnitus is more common in people who have a hearing loss but it can occur in people with normal hearing.

Cause of tinnitus include:

  • hearing loss
  • ear wax
  • exposure to loud noises
  • ear infections
  • tumours
  • head injuries
  • ménière’s disease
  • some medicines

However, it may not be clear what is causing the tinnitus. Stress, anxiety, caffeine and some medicines can make tinnitus worse for people who already have it.

Many people will find that the tinnitus subsides over time or that they easily learn to ignore it or live with it. Others may find it distressing and want it checked out and a smaller proportion of people can find it very distressing, or it can affect their sleep or ability to concentrate.

If you suspect or have any concerns about tinnitus please book an appointment with one of our audiologists. All of our audiologists can test and advise you on your hearing health and how to manage your tinnitus. We also have two senior audiologists who are out tinnitus specialists; they have additional training and experience in helping people who are very distressed by tinnitus. You can also speak to your doctor and ask for a referral to ‘Melbourne Audiology Centre’ before coming to us.

Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss. About 70% of people with hearing loss report tinnitus. For these people, tinnitus can often be reduced or eliminated through the use of appropriately fitted hearing aids.

Hearing aids are beneficial to tinnitus sufferers due to a number of reasons:

  • With hearing loss, the brain does not receive normal sound stimulation from the ear, and this causes hyperactivity in the brain that can be heard as tinnitus. Hearing aids amplify sounds and restore the sound stimulation of the neural pathways in the brain; this helps to reset the brain activity back to normal so tinnitus is reduced and in some cases eliminated.
  • Hearing aids also help to reduce the contrast between tinnitus and silence. With hearing aids, you will be able to hear all the normal environmental sounds around you and so you will not be as aware of the tinnitus.
  • Hearing loss can cause stress and fatigue because of the amount of concentration required to understand what is going on. Stress is known to exacerbate tinnitus. The use of hearing aids can alleviate this stress to help reduce the perception of tinnitus.
  • Many of today's hearing aids incorporate sound generators such as a tinnitus masking noise (Oticon's Ocean sounds) or fractal tones (Widex's ZEN therapy) to stimulate the neural pathways. We call these combination devices. They work to reduce the hyperactivity in the brain that is associated with tinnitus. The Widex ZEN fractal tones have an added benefit in that they are specifically designed to relax the user and reduce stress levels which in turn can further reduce tinnitus perception.

Sound therapies can be used to help you desensitize to the tinnitus you are hearing. Sound therapies are not aimed to cure the tinnitus, but to significantly lower the perception or burden of tinnitus.

Sound therapies can take a number of forms:

  • Hearing aids that can
    • generate sounds such as masking noise or fractal tones
    • amplify surrounding environmental and speech sounds to divert attention away from the tinnitus
  • Tinnitus devices such as the Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment
  • Using external sounds to divert attention from the tinnitus

Masking noise or fractal musical tones (Widex ZEN) and the Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment stimulate the auditory pathways and reduce the hyperactivity in the brain that is associated with tinnitus and hence reduce the perception of tinnitus. Each of these devices uses its own specific and patented sound to manage tinnitus. Our audiologists will advise you on the best solution for your individual needs.

Tinnitus masking noise and fractal tones are incorporated into hearing aids making these combination devices:

  • Easy and discreet to use because they are housed in a small, on-the-ear device
  • If there is a hearing loss, both tinnitus and hearing loss can also be addressed with the same device

The Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment uses a small lightweight device with headphones to deliver spectrally modified, precisely designed music embedded with an acoustic neural stimulus, to your ears and brain. We offer different levels of Neuromonics sound therapy depending on your individual needs. We will discuss these options during your tinnitus consultation.

The Oasis device (pictured) is part of one of the most comprehensive Neuromonics treatments that we offer; this treatment uses the Oasis device tailored to your audiological and tinnitus profile combined with a 6-month individualized counselling program to achieve optimal results.

Personalized tinnitus education and support

At the basis of all tinnitus treatment is a personalised program of education and counselling delivered by our skilled audiologists. Tinnitus counselling provides you with a thorough understanding of your tinnitus and how you can best manage it.

We will give you information about the mechanisms of tinnitus, the auditory system and how other brain areas such as your emotional area and the “fight or flight” response effect tinnitus. We will also explain to you about the habituation process.

We will address the effects of tinnitus on your emotional state and provide tinnitus management techniques and strategies. This may include relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation and tips on getting to sleep.

Sound therapies and hearing aid amplification work best when they are supported with counselling and education and the skill of your hearing health care professional.

Contact Us

Tinnitus is defined as the perception of sounds in your ears or in your head when no such sounds are present in the world around you. It is often described as “ringing”, “whistling” or “buzzing” and may be continuous or intermittent.

Some people can hear their tinnitus only in quiet situations, but some can find it extremely bothersome or loud and it can affect their ability to concentrate or sleep. In the majority of cases the tinnitus is subjective meaning that only the person with tinnitus can hear it, but on very rare occasions tinnitus can be objective and others can hear it as well.

Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom usually caused by some damage in the hearing pathway from your ear to the brain. Tinnitus varies from one person to the next, being bothersome in some people and a mild nuisance to others. It can also be affected by ongoing noise exposure, certain foods, and medications, as well as stress and the general well-being of the individual.

The Tinnitus Cycle

Tinnitus can be a vicious cycle. You begin to hear the tinnitus, you then start attaching negative emotions to it causing worry and stress. Each time you subsequently hear your tinnitus you become more and more stressed which causes it to become louder. This, in turn, causes you to worry and stress more, which makes the tinnitus louder forming a vicious cycle of worry and stress which can make the tinnitus worse. A holistic approach to tinnitus treatment will help break this cycle.

Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. It most often occurs when there is a problem in the auditory system. The auditory system begins at the ear and ends in the brain. Tinnitus is more common in people who have a hearing loss but it can occur in people with normal hearing.

Cause of tinnitus include:

  • hearing loss
  • ear wax
  • exposure to loud noises
  • ear infections
  • tumours
  • head injuries
  • ménière’s disease
  • some medicines

However, it may not be clear what is causing the tinnitus. Stress, anxiety, caffeine and some medicines can make tinnitus worse for people who already have it.

Many people will find that the tinnitus subsides over time or that they easily learn to ignore it or live with it. Others may find it distressing and want it checked out and a smaller proportion of people can find it very distressing, or it can affect their sleep or ability to concentrate.

If you suspect or have any concerns about tinnitus please book an appointment with one of our audiologists. All of our audiologists can test and advise you on your hearing health and how to manage your tinnitus. We also have two senior audiologists who are out tinnitus specialists; they have additional training and experience in helping people who are very distressed by tinnitus. You can also speak to your doctor and ask for a referral to ‘Melbourne Audiology Centre’ before coming to us.

Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss. About 70% of people with hearing loss report tinnitus. For these people, tinnitus can often be reduced or eliminated through the use of appropriately fitted hearing aids.

Hearing aids are beneficial to tinnitus sufferers due to a number of reasons:

  • With hearing loss, the brain does not receive normal sound stimulation from the ear, and this causes hyperactivity in the brain that can be heard as tinnitus. Hearing aids amplify sounds and restore the sound stimulation of the neural pathways in the brain; this helps to reset the brain activity back to normal so tinnitus is reduced and in some cases eliminated.
  • Hearing aids also help to reduce the contrast between tinnitus and silence. With hearing aids, you will be able to hear all the normal environmental sounds around you and so you will not be as aware of the tinnitus.
  • Hearing loss can cause stress and fatigue because of the amount of concentration required to understand what is going on. Stress is known to exacerbate tinnitus. The use of hearing aids can alleviate this stress to help reduce the perception of tinnitus.
  • Many of today's hearing aids incorporate sound generators such as a tinnitus masking noise (Oticon's Ocean sounds) or fractal tones (Widex's ZEN therapy) to stimulate the neural pathways. We call these combination devices. They work to reduce the hyperactivity in the brain that is associated with tinnitus. The Widex ZEN fractal tones have an added benefit in that they are specifically designed to relax the user and reduce stress levels which in turn can further reduce tinnitus perception.

Sound therapies can be used to help you desensitize to the tinnitus you are hearing. Sound therapies are not aimed to cure the tinnitus, but to significantly lower the perception or burden of tinnitus.

Sound therapies can take a number of forms:

  • Hearing aids that can
    • generate sounds such as masking noise or fractal tones
    • amplify surrounding environmental and speech sounds to divert attention away from the tinnitus
  • Tinnitus devices such as the Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment
  • Using external sounds to divert attention from the tinnitus

Masking noise or fractal musical tones (Widex ZEN) and the Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment stimulate the auditory pathways and reduce the hyperactivity in the brain that is associated with tinnitus and hence reduce the perception of tinnitus. Each of these devices uses its own specific and patented sound to manage tinnitus. Our audiologists will advise you on the best solution for your individual needs.

Tinnitus masking noise and fractal tones are incorporated into hearing aids making these combination devices:

  • Easy and discreet to use because they are housed in a small, on-the-ear device
  • If there is a hearing loss, both tinnitus and hearing loss can also be addressed with the same device

The Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment uses a small lightweight device with headphones to deliver spectrally modified, precisely designed music embedded with an acoustic neural stimulus, to your ears and brain. We offer different levels of Neuromonics sound therapy depending on your individual needs. We will discuss these options during your tinnitus consultation.

The Oasis device (pictured) is part of one of the most comprehensive Neuromonics treatments that we offer; this treatment uses the Oasis device tailored to your audiological and tinnitus profile combined with a 6-month individualized counselling program to achieve optimal results.

Personalized tinnitus education and support

At the basis of all tinnitus treatment is a personalised program of education and counselling delivered by our skilled audiologists. Tinnitus counselling provides you with a thorough understanding of your tinnitus and how you can best manage it.

We will give you information about the mechanisms of tinnitus, the auditory system and how other brain areas such as your emotional area and the “fight or flight” response effect tinnitus. We will also explain to you about the habituation process.

We will address the effects of tinnitus on your emotional state and provide tinnitus management techniques and strategies. This may include relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation and tips on getting to sleep.

Sound therapies and hearing aid amplification work best when they are supported with counselling and education and the skill of your hearing health care professional.

Contact Us