Your doctor will usually diagnose tinnitus based on your reported symptoms. However, to better understand the underlying cause of your symptoms, they may conduct further investigations. This can involve reviewing your medical history and performing a physical examination of your ears, head, and neck. Common diagnostic tests may include:

  • Audiological hearing test. You will take the exam while seated in a soundproof room with earbuds that play particular sounds into each ear separately. When you can hear the sound, you’ll indicate it, and the findings you get will be compared to what is thought to be typical for your age. This can assist in excluding or locating potential tinnitus causes.
  • Motion. Your doctor could ask you to move your neck, arms, and legs, as well as your eyes and jaw. Your tinnitus may indicate an underlying condition that requires medical attention if it alters or gets worse.
  • Imaging examinations. Imaging studies such as Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans may be necessary, depending on the suspected cause of your tinnitus.
  • Laboratory examinations. To check for anemia, thyroid issues, heart disease, or vitamin deficiencies, your doctor can take blood.

Try to provide your doctor with detailed descriptions of the type of tinnitus noises you are experiencing. These descriptions can assist your doctor in identifying potential underlying causes.

  • Pressing. This kind of sound indicates that your tinnitus may be caused by contractions of the muscles in and around your ear.
  • Hurrying, pulsing, or buzzing. You may notice these sounds after physical activity or when you change positions, such as lying down or standing up, as they are typically caused by vascular (blood vessel) issues, such as high blood pressure.
  • Low-pitched ringing. This kind of sound could indicate stiff inner ear bones (otosclerosis), Meniere’s disease, or obstructions in the ear canals.
  • High-pitched ringing sound. This is the tinnitus sound that is most frequently heard. Exposure to loud noises, hearing impairment, or drug usage are likely reasons. One ear may experience persistent, high-pitched ringing due to an acoustic neuroma.


The treatment approach for tinnitus hinges on whether an underlying health condition is responsible for it. If so, alleviating the underlying cause can often lead to a reduction in symptoms. Some examples include:

  • Removal of ear wax. The symptoms of tinnitus may subside if an earwax blockage is removed.
  • Taking care of a blood vessel issue. Treatment options for underlying blood vessel disorders could include medication, surgery, or other measures.
  • Aids for hearing. If your age-related or noise-induced hearing loss is the cause of your tinnitus, wearing hearing aids may help alleviate your symptoms.
  • Modifying your prescription medication. Your doctor may advise stopping, lowering, or switching to a different medicine if tinnitus seems to be caused by one you’re already on.

Noise suppression

Frequently, tinnitus cannot be fully cured. However, there are treatments available to alleviate the symptoms. Your doctor might recommend using electronic devices designed to suppress the noise. These devices include:

  • White noise machines: These devices generate sounds like static or environmental noises such as rainfall or ocean waves, which can effectively alleviate tinnitus symptoms. Consider using a white noise machine with pillow speakers to aid in sleep. Additionally, fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners in the bedroom produce white noise and may help mask tinnitus at night.
  • Masking devices: These devices, worn in the ear and resembling hearing aids, emit a continuous, low-level white noise that helps mask tinnitus sounds.


Behavioral treatment options are designed to assist individuals in coping with tinnitus by altering their perceptions and reactions to the symptoms. Through these approaches, individuals may gradually find their tinnitus less distressing. Counseling options include:

  • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): TRT is a customized program typically administered by an audiologist or at a specialized tinnitus treatment center. It integrates sound masking with counseling provided by a trained professional. With TRT, you wear a device in your ear that masks tinnitus symptoms while receiving directive counseling. Over time, TRT aims to reduce your awareness of tinnitus and alleviate distress associated with the symptoms.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other counseling approaches: Licensed mental health professionals or psychologists can offer guidance in learning coping strategies to minimize the impact of tinnitus symptoms. Counseling sessions can also address associated issues like anxiety and depression often linked with tinnitus. CBT for tinnitus is available in individual or group sessions, and online CBT programs are also accessible.


Medications cannot cure tinnitus, but they can help reduce the severity of symptoms or associated complications. Your doctor may prescribe medication to address an underlying condition contributing to tinnitus or to manage the anxiety and depression often associated with it.