Tinnitus comes from the Latin word meaning ‘to ring’. It is the perception of sound when no external sound exists but you hear it. People hear a wide variety of noises such as buzzing, humming and whistling.

Tinnitus is a hidden symptom. It can be incredibly distressing and may affect a person's quality of life. Tinnitus patients may also exhibit some associated factors including hearing loss, migraine, sleep disorders, discomfort, distress, anxiety and depression. It is important to reduce any negative feelings that you have about your tinnitus in order to reduce the distress. 

Our Tinnitus Factsheet (pdf) provides more information about tinnitus.

Techniques to help manage tinnitus.

Although there is no known cure at present, there are a number of techniques which can be used to help manage tinnitus, including:

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy focuses on trying to reduce the distress caused by tinnitus by changing the perception of the noise. Results vary, but for around one in 10 people the tinnitus goes away and in four out of five people the tinnitus distress is reduced.

A Tinnitus Masker can be helpful for some people find to mask the tinnitus noise. It is an electronic hearing aid device that generates and emits broad- or narrow-band noise at low levels to mask the sound of the tinnitus.

White Noise Generators are used as part of the retraining programme. They sit inside the ear and generate a quiet ‘sssh’ noise to help break up the tinnitus and help you become accustomed to it. 

Other tips 

  • Avoid silence. Use a pleasant background noise around the house.
  • Do activities that improve your well-being.
  • Do not exhaust yourself.
  • Try relaxation therapy. There are many ways to relax, so find one that works for you.
  • Ensure good sleep hygiene. A pillow masker may also be helpful if you have difficulty sleeping.

Read our Tinnitus Factsheet (pdf) for more information. 

Further information (links to other organisations)

The Ménière's Society can not recommend a particular manufacturer, product, device or organisation. Please speak with your medical professional to find the most suitable hearing aid/system to suit you.