The AudioNotch Tinnitus Treatment Blog

Tinnitus With Ptsd

Written by AudioNotch Team on October 07, 2015

Categories: Tinnitus

Please note: the following information does not constitute professional medical advice, and is provided for general informational purposes only. Please speak to your doctor if you have tinnitus.


Tinnitus and post-traumatic stress disorder are at the top of the list of reasons veterans seek help from the VA. People who are not veterans can also develop both conditions. Tinnitus with PTDS symptoms can make both conditions worse, and some of the same brain areas are involved in both disorders.

An estimated 10 percent of the population suffers from PTSD. Many people are aware that veterans are at greater risk of developing this mental health condition, but new research is showing that PTSD is also common in people who have endured childhood physical and sexual abuse, neglect and exposure to domestic violence.

Adults victims of domestic violence, crime victims, and people who have gone through disasters can also develop PTSD, although the symptoms differ somewhat between these groups. Veterans are most likely to have tinnitus with PTSD as a diagnosis.

Tinnitus and hearing loss are the top two disabilities facing veterans, with PTSD coming in third. Tinnitus can be caused by exposure to loud sound, and it can also come on suddenly for unknown reasons. A person can be bothered by tinnitus symptoms and experience hearing loss at the same time.

The cross-over effect of tinnitus with PTSD symptoms has to do with the areas of the brain that are affected. Both disorders affect the amygdala, an area that regulates the brain’s emotional alarm system; as well both are associated with chronic arousal of the autonomic nervous system.

Veterans and others with PTSD are likely to have worse symptoms of tinnitus than people who have tinnitus alone. Both conditions damage auditory neurology, increasing the person’s sensitivity to sound, startle response and tolerance for certain sounds. There is also an association between general anxiety, depression and OCD and tinnitus with PTSD.

Treatments and help exist for both tinnitus and PTSD. New neurological therapies for PTSD are replacing older talk therapies. EMDR is one of these newer approaches. It uses alternating stimulation of brain hemispheres using simple, non-invasive techniques. It has become the most successful treatment for PTSD to date, and it is now approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

As PTSD symptoms get better, symptoms of tinnitus can also improve, because the same neurological pathways are healed. Open-fit hearing aids are also sometimes helpful for people who have tinnitus with PTSD. They work by amplifying ambient sounds, helping to crowd out the ringing and buzzing of tinnitus.