Can Xanax Help With Tinnitus Symptoms?
February 14, 2022

Tinnitus is a condition that is more common than most people would initially think. Tinnitus is characterized by an individual perceiving a sound that is non-existent in their immediate environment. Typically the sound is a high-pitched tone, but it can differ in exactly the sound that is heard. Some people hear tinnitus as a whooshing sound, static, or even just a pure tone. 

Tinnitus has a high amount of variation from person to person, yet in many cases, tinnitus can persist for some time. Unfortunately for those with persistent tinnitus, there is no cure, but there are techniques and potential options that can help to lessen the severity of tinnitus. 

The treatments for tinnitus include mainly therapy to help lessen the impact of tinnitus on your day-to-day, but there are other potential treatments. One such treatment option that could have the potential to help ease tinnitus is alprazolam. 

Below is a closer look at the types of tinnitus, potential causes of tinnitus, alprazolam for tinnitus, as well as other treatments that can help those with tinnitus to live a more comfortable life. 

Tinnitus

As described previously, tinnitus is a condition that is characterized by hearing a sound that is not present in your immediate environment and not perceivable by others. While this may seem like a fairly specific definition, there are actually two main types of tinnitus which include objective and subjective tinnitus. 

The types of tinnitus are differentiated based upon their cause. Below is a closer look at the specifics when it comes to the main types of tinnitus and what differentiates them from one another. 

Objective Tinnitus

Objective tinnitus is tinnitus that has an identifiable source of sound that is picked up by the ears. When you stop to think about it, the body actually makes a ton of internal noises, and the fact that, for the most part, the ears are able to not perceive them is quite amazing. 

One scenario where you are likely to perceive internal noises is when you are chewing. If you’ve ever eaten chips while trying to listen to something, you likely had a difficult time due to the competition between the sounds coming from within your mouth and the sounds you are trying to listen to.

One of the more common forms of objective tinnitus is a form of tinnitus known as pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is often caused by turbulent blood flow in or around the structures of the ear.

The turbulence emits a very quiet sound, but due to its proximity to the ear, it is picked up and results in tinnitus that pulses typically at a similar rate as your heartbeat. This is one reason why your ears may ring after a workout

Because there is an identifiable cause of pulsatile tinnitus, there are typically things that can be done to potentially help. Some of those things include improving blood flow through bettering your cardiovascular health and monitoring your blood pressure. Eating a well-balanced diet, getting routine physical exercise, and focusing on your cardiovascular health could help pulsatile tinnitus. 

While pulsatile tinnitus is a common form of objective tinnitus, there are other forms that could occur. These include defects in the structures of the ear or even muscle disorders of the ear. Objective tinnitus is essentially tinnitus with an identifiable source, and this form of tinnitus tends to be less common. 

Subjective Tinnitus

Subjective tinnitus makes up the majority of tinnitus cases. It is characterized by tinnitus that has no physical source of sounds. Subjective tinnitus in this way is a sensorineural disorder. Subjective tinnitus, which can also be referred to as sensorineural tinnitus, is a hearing disorder that impacts the sensory organ, nerve, or brain. 

The major downside to subjective tinnitus is that it tends not to have a clear-cut treatment available, with most treatments focusing on treating symptoms rather than curing the underlying problem. Some forms of subjective tinnitus like those caused by medication may be able to be reversed if the medication is stopped, while others may last a lifetime. 

What Is Alprazolam?

Alprazolam is a prescription medication that is often prescribed to individuals with panic, anxiety, or sleep disorders. The medication is a sedative and can help in instances where individuals feel anxious and unable to settle on their own.

Alprazolam is more commonly referred to as Xanax. While it is able to act as a potent sedative, it is often utilized sparingly due to its highly addictive nature and propensity to be abused. 

While the intended use of Xanax is as a sedative, there are a number of different studies looking at potential secondary uses of Xanax, including its potential use in treating tinnitus. 

Tinnitus and Xanax

Xanax has a very narrow on-label use to treat certain sleep disorders and anxiety. However, there have been studies that have looked at the potential use of the drug to help provide tinnitus relief. One of the best studies on the matter was a double-blind study conducted back in 1993.

The study looked at the effectiveness of Xanax for reducing the loudness of tinnitus. The study did find that within its sample that there was a notable decrease in tinnitus loudness for the Xanax group, but this one study is not enough to validate Xanax as a treatment option for tinnitus. 

The main concern with the study is that it had a relatively small sample size of 40 people and the fact that it was not compared to existing tinnitus treatment options. The largest barrier to using Xanax as a treatment for anything other than what is necessary is that it can be habit-forming.

Overuse can cause addiction and medication misuse. Even when it is used for anxiety, it is typically only prescribed for short periods of time to limit the chance of reliance and addiction. 

Other treatments like therapy have been shown to be effective for many people with tinnitus, and these treatments pose little to no risk as opposed to Xanax. Unfortunately, Xanax has a long list of potential negative effects. 

Treatments of Tinnitus

It certainly would be nice to have a simple pill that would cure your tinnitus. Sadly, this isn’t possible with current science. The current treatments for tinnitus focus on improving your relationship with your tinnitus or masking the sound so that it becomes less noticeable and disruptive in your day-to-day life.

Below is a closer look at the treatment options that are currently available for tinnitus and how they work. 

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are typically only thought of as a means of treating hearing loss, but they can also be utilized to help with tinnitus. Tinnitus and hearing loss are two conditions that are closely tied together.

Many people notice their tinnitus to a greater extent when it is quiet, and when you have hearing loss, it tends to be quieter more often. Having hearing aids helps by increasing the volume of sound to be within your hearing threshold, which can add sounds that help to drown out the tinnitus. 

Sound Machine

The next option for those with tinnitus is to utilize a sound machine. These are typically helpful when you are trying to go to bed. Many people with tinnitus can find it difficult to go to sleep with their tinnitus.

Through the use of a sound generator like a white noise machine, you increase the level of surrounding sounds, which can allow you to notice your tinnitus to a lesser extent. 

Therapy

The last and perhaps most worthwhile method of taking charge of your tinnitus is by utilizing the power of therapy. Tinnitus retraining therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy aim to modify the way you think and react to your tinnitus. Many times people with tinnitus become fixated on the ringing going on in their ears which can cause them anxiety and frustration.

Therapy aims to retrain the way you think about your tinnitus and change your response to one that is more neutral. This solution takes a lot of time and effort, but it is often the most worthwhile for those with persistent tinnitus. 

More Research Is Incoming

Xanax has shown promise as a medication that could potentially help decrease the perceived loudness of tinnitus, but due to its highly addictive properties and side effects, it is likely not replacing the more traditional forms of tinnitus treatment any time soon. 

Some of the tried and true methods for potentially attaining tinnitus relief include utilizing hearing aids, utilizing a sound machine, and therapy. If you have tinnitus, it is best to get it checked by an audiologist to ensure that the treatment option is best suited for your specific kind of tinnitus. 


Sources

Understanding the Facts | American Tinnitus Association

Use of alprazolam for relief of tinnitus. A double-blind study | NCBI

A Review of Alprazolam Use, Misuse, and Withdrawal | NCBI

Related Articles
Profile photo for Drew Sutton

Drew Sutton M.D.

Drew Sutton, MD is a board-certified otolaryngologist. He has extensive experience and training in sinus and respiratory diseases, ear and skull base surgery, and pulmonary disorders. He has served as a Clinical Instructor at Grady Hospital Emory University for more than 12 years.

Powered by GR0
DMCA.com Protection Status