For most tinnitus sufferers, whether they've just begun to notice the tinnitus or they've had it for years, most people are hopeful for a cure. Many people first turn to the internet to research a tinnitus cure. Others may visit a general practitioner, otolaryngologist, audiologist, or other specialist in hope of a cure. It can be confusing and even disappointing to try to figure out what is actually helpful in treating tinnitus and whether there's a cure for tinnitus in 2021.

Alexandra Costlow, AuD

Medically Reviewed by
Dr Jameel Muzaffar
Audiologist and Tinnitus Specialist
May 4, 2021

Is There a Proven Cure for Tinnitus in 2021?

For most tinnitus sufferers, whether they've just begun to notice the tinnitus or they've had it for years, most people are hopeful for a cure.

Many people first turn to the internet to research, in hope of a cure. Others may visit:

  • a family doctor / general practitioner
  • an ENT / ear, nose and throat specialist / otolaryngologist
  • an audiologist
  • another specialist

It can be confusing and even disappointing to try to figure out what is actually helpful in treating tinnitus.

Assuming that there is no obvious medical reason for the tinnitus, technically there is no “cure”.

Treatable causes of tinnitus might include problems such as:

  • an ear infection
  • ear wax build up
  • fluid in the middle ear

You Can Manage Tinnitus

Generally, tinnitus is considered a permanent condition that tends to become less bothersome over time. There are tinnitus treatments helping you to manage it so that it won't be as noticeable or impact your lifestyle.

An important consideration regarding the discussion of a “cure” for tinnitus is that a cure may look different to different people.

For some, it may mean improving the tinnitus to get good sleep and to others it may mean improving the tinnitus by treating hearing loss with amplification.  

Let’s explore several “cures” and treatments to see what is actually helpful in making tinnitus a concern of the past.

Some causes of tinnitus are inside the ear

Medical Management of Certain Tinnitus Causes

Some causes of tinnitus are medically treatable and, after treatment, the tinnitus improves or goes away completely.

These medically treatable pathologies include:

Occluding cerumen, or ear wax

Ear wax in the outer or middle ear canal can reduce the level of sound that passes through the ear canal. It can also make the ears feel full or clogged, and make speech sound muffled or unclear. Cerumen can be removed by a professional to relieve tinnitus and other symptoms.

Otitis media with effusion, or fluid in the middle ear

This can reduce the level of sound that passes through the middle ear. An otolaryngologist can medically evaluate otitis media with effusion to determine if treatment is warranted.

Acute otitis media, or infected fluid in the middle ear

This can likewise reduce the level of sound that passes through the middle ear. An otolaryngologist can medically evaluate acute otitis media to determine if treatment is warranted.

Abnormal or excessive middle ear pressure

This affects the function of the tympanic membrane (otherwise referred to as the eardrum) can cause tinnitus. Abnormal middle ear pressure can be caused by underlying allergies or Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. Addressing the root cause of the abnormal middle ear pressure may relieve the tinnitus.

If you notice tinnitus, it's important to stay on top of routine check-ups with your general practitioner and/or otolaryngologist so that any health concerns that may cause or exacerbate tinnitus can be addressed.

Some non-ear-related conditions such as disorders of the blood vessels and autoimmune disorders are associated with tinnitus, as well.

Image of specula, otoscopes, blood pressure monitor, and light.
Stay on top of routine hearing check-ups if needed

Safe and Effective Tinnitus Treatments

If there is no treatable medical reason underlying the tinnitus, there is technically no way to cure it.

It can be disappointing to feel like there is no medication, procedure, surgery, or cure for the tinnitus, but there is hope. Sometimes it takes several tools to improve tinnitus and it's a matter of selecting the right set of tools to achieve improvement.

The British Tinnitus Association explains that there are two main considerations in tinnitus treatments:  

  • Safety, or whether the treatment could cause harm
  • Efficacy, or whether the treatment is likely to effect tinnitus improvement

One treatment which has proven to be both safe and effective is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for tinnitus. Oto offers digital therapy through a mobile app so you can bypass long waiting lists or expensive therapy and get started with CBT, learning how to manage tinnitus day by day.

Safe and Potentially Effective Tinnitus Treatments

A group practice Tai Chi on a beach
Tai Chi can offer relief from tinnitus.

Other treatment forms that are safe and that may be effective include, but are not limited to:

*Always consult your general practitioner before taking vitamins, minerals, supplements, or other OTC or prescription medications.

Not Recommended Tinnitus Treatments

There are a number of treatments that may be posed as "cures" but actually have little to no evidence of actually improving tinnitus and may pose safety risks.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Ear candles
  • Cannabinoids
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • Ginko biloba*

*Always consult your general practitioner before taking vitamins, minerals, supplements, or other OTC or prescription medications.

A wall of vitamin and supplement jars
Pills or supplements posing as 'tinnitus cures' are not safe or effective

What Really is a Tinnitus "Cure"?

Each person's tinnitus treatment journey is unique and may take a multifaceted approach.

A helpful way to think about a tinnitus "cure" would be to determine which improvements are most important to you.

Here is a list of questions you can ask yourself about what a tinnitus cure would look like to you. They will help you figure out what approach may work best for you.

  1. Does it mean finding ways to sleep with tinnitus?  
  2. Distracting yourself more often from the tinnitus?
  3. Identifying tinnitus triggers?
  4. Developing better coping mechanisms?
  5. Treating sound sensitivity or hearing loss?
  6. Feeling less alone by talking to someone?
Tinnitus relief made simple with the Oto app digital therapy programme. Download today.

Relieve your tinnitus today with Oto's digital therapy

The Oto app features
Science-based tinnitus therapy programme
The Oto app features
Includes CBT, targeted mindfulness, physical therapy and sound therapy
The Oto app features
Created by a team of doctors, audiologists and tinnitus specialists
Try Oto for free

Start relieving your tinnitus today

Try Oto for free
The Oto app features

Instant access to science based tinnitus therapy

The Oto app features

Includes CBT, targeted mindfulness, relaxation and sound therapy

The Oto app features

Created by a team of doctors and tinnitus experts

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