The Tinnitus Challenge

Coping with the constant ringing in their ears can be an enormous struggle for people with tinnitus. Many clinicians find treating tinnitus challenging and those who don’t specialize in it may not be aware of common tinnitus causes, the most effective tinnitus remedies, or helpful resources available to support counseling. Fortunately, there are ways to help tinnitus clients manage their symptoms and find relief. Read on to learn how.

What does tinnitus sound like?

What is it like living with tinnitus? The British Tinnitus Association shared these representative sounds of what tinnitus patients hear. Please note: Make sure the volume on your computer speakers is not up too high, as these sounds can cause discomfort.

What are effective tinnitus treatments?

  • Masking devices can cover the sound of tinnitus
  • Group AR or therapy can give patients a support network
  • Hearing aids, if tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy can help patients reframe their relationship with tinnitus
  • Hope – the knowledge that they won’t always struggle with tinnitus

Ethnographic Films

For those who have never experienced long-term tinnitus, it can be difficult to understand why it literally drives people to distraction. Ida's Senior Anthropologist Hans Henrik Philipsen interviewed people with tinnitus to provide a deeper understanding of their situations. The resulting ethnographic films explore their lives with tinnitus and the causes of their tinnitus.

Many people who have tinnitus live with more than one serious condition. Some of those interviewed were dealing with vestibular problems, depression, diabetes, and decreased lung capacity in addition to  tinnitus. In some cases, tinnitus was simply “one more thing to deal with.” For others, it is the greatest of their problems.

This film features Danny Maximo, a combat veteran who developed tinnitus after a tour in Vietnam. He discusses the different technologies he has used to mask the sound of tinnitus and reflects on some strategies he’s found helpful. He also talks about how post-traumatic stress disorder impacts his tinnitus.

View all of our tinnitus management films

Resources to support people living with tinnitus

Tinnitus First Aid Kit

The Tinnitus First Aid Kit supports people who have just discovered, or think they might have tinnitus. 


Tinnitus tools for clinicians

Tools to help you explore your clients' perception of tinnitus, understand how it impacts their lives, build hope and identify counseling and coping strategies.

From the editor

Help your tinnitus clients with free tinnitus tools

Hissing, buzzing, beeping. Ringing, clicking, roaring. No matter the sound, tinnitus can be frustrating or even disabling. Because the condition is so exhausting and because there is no cure, it is difficult to offer counseling. The client may have trouble articulating their experiences and you may find it hard to manage their expectations and set goals for their treatment.

Fortunately, effective tinnitus remedies exist that help your clients put words to their tinnitus and enable you to provide relief. In collaboration with a group of global tinnitus experts, the Ida Institute has developed a suite of tools that helps professionals to:

  • Explore the client's perception of tinnitus
  • Understand how tinnitus impacts their lives
  • Build hope and resilience
  • Identify relevant counseling and coping strategies


The Tinnitus Thermometer is based on a simple graphic that quickly and easily allows clients to describe how they are experiencing their tinnitus on the day of the appointment. Three open-ended questions structure the conversation, giving patients space to freely express their thoughts and feelings. Dr. Sharzad Cohen, Lead Audiologist at the Hearing Loss Solutions clinic and board member of the American Tinnitus Association, says: “I use the Tinnitus Thermometer with patients because it allows a visual aid to their emotions.”

By gaining an understanding of how clients are perceiving their tinnitus and how well they are coping, hearing care professionals are in a much better position to identify suitable strategies. The Thermometer can be shared with the client prior to the appointment and/or used at the start of every appointment to track how they are coping over time.


The way you talk to your patients about their tinnitus can affect them tremendously. One of the most profound ways in which professionals can support their patients is by providing comfort and instilling a sense of hope. The Tinnitus Communication Guide is designed to help hearing care professionals communicate effectively and compassionately with their patients. Sharzad Cohen says “This simple guide makes our clinic staff think about the wants and needs of patients and consider how tinnitus could affect the lives of not only the patient, but also their family and co-workers.”

A simple forecast graph is used to visualize how the tinnitus develops over time and illustrate that although the tinnitus is unlikely to subside, the level of distress it causes can decrease. This emphasizes an important and encouraging point: that many people with tinnitus find it becomes more manageable and less intrusive over time.


Developed in partnership with the British Tinnitus Association, the First Aid Kit gives patients easy access to a wide range of informative material. While not intended to replace professional advice, the kit includes a collection of practical and tried-and-tested methods to help patients cope – from relaxation techniques to basic sound therapy.

The Tinnitus Management Tools were developed by leading audiologists from around the world. The tools are readily and freely available at where you can also view videos of the tools in action and access related research and resources.