Does Medicare Pay for Tinnitus Treatment?

Have you ever felt like you could hear something, a buzzing or a ringing in your ears, but it’s a sound that’s coming from within, not from an external source? If the answer is yes, then you’ve experienced tinnitus. It’s a strange sensation and a condition that has no cure.

Tinnitus is experienced by people of all ages, and it is most commonly associated with other underlying health conditions, like hearing loss, especially loss that is linked with aging. To that end, many of you may be wondering if the treatment of tinnitus is covered by Medicare. Alas, the answer is no. Medicare will not cover the cost of treating either hearing loss or tinnitus. However, Medicare will reimburse patients around $38 per year for a hearing exam.

And while Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for tinnitus, it’s still important to address it, especially if it lasts longer than two weeks. Like with most medical conditions, you do not want to wait until it’s too late. The sooner you do something about it, the better your chances of getting better.

Overview of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition characterized by the perception of noise or ringing in the ears when there is no external sound source. This sensation can manifest as ringing, buzzing, hissing, whistling, or other similar sounds. 

Tinnitus is not a disease itself but rather a symptom of an underlying issue, and it can be temporary or chronic.

Here are the key aspects of tinnitus:


  • Exposure to Loud Noise: Prolonged exposure to loud noises, such as those in industrial settings or loud music concerts, can damage the auditory system and lead to tinnitus.
  • Age-Related Hearing Loss: Gradual hearing loss that comes with aging can be associated with tinnitus.
  • Earwax Blockage: The buildup of earwax can cause hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as Meniere’s disease, otosclerosis, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, can contribute to tinnitus.
  • Medications: Some medications, particularly those that are ototoxic, can cause or worsen tinnitus.


  • Subjective Tinnitus: The most common type, where only the person experiencing it can hear the sounds.
  • Objective Tinnitus: A less common type where the sounds can be heard by both the person with tinnitus and others. This type is often associated with vascular or muscular issues.


Tinnitus can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. It may interfere with concentration, sleep, and emotional well-being, leading to stress and anxiety.


A medical professional, usually an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), will conduct a thorough examination of the ears, head, and neck, and may order hearing tests to diagnose and determine the underlying cause of tinnitus.


Treatment options vary depending on the underlying cause. If an underlying condition is identified, treating that condition may alleviate or reduce tinnitus.

Management approaches include sound therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and relaxation techniques to help individuals cope with the symptoms.

Hearing aids are sometimes recommended, especially if hearing loss is present along with tinnitus.


Protecting the ears from loud noises can prevent noise-induced tinnitus. Regular check-ups with an audiologist or healthcare professional can help identify and address potential hearing issues early.

It’s important for individuals experiencing tinnitus to seek medical advice to determine the cause and appropriate management strategies tailored to their specific situation.

Understanding Medicare Coverage

Medicare coverage for hearing health care is limited, and beneficiaries may face challenges in obtaining coverage for certain services and devices related to hearing. 

It’s essential to note that policies and coverage details may change, so it’s advisable to check with Medicare or related sources for the most up-to-date information.

Here is a general overview of Medicare coverage related to hearing health care:

  1. Diagnostic Hearing Tests:

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) may cover diagnostic hearing tests if ordered by a doctor. These tests are typically covered when they are deemed necessary to evaluate and diagnose a medical condition.

  1. Hearing Aids:

As of my last update, Medicare still does not cover the cost of hearing aids. However, routine basic hearing aid tests may be available once a year. This does not include tinnitus evaluations or other diagnostic related assessments.

  1. Cochlear Implants:

Medicare may cover cochlear implants if deemed medically necessary. Coverage may include implant surgery and follow-up services.

  1. Audiology Services:

Medicare covers diagnostic services provided by audiologists if ordered by a doctor. However, routine basic hearing exams for the purpose of fitting or adjusting hearing aids may be covered once a year.

Balance Exams:

Medicare may cover balance exams if ordered by a doctor to diagnose a medical condition.

It’s important for Medicare beneficiaries to be aware of the limitations in coverage for hearing-related services and devices. Many individuals with hearing loss find that hearing aids are a critical aspect of their daily lives, but the lack of Medicare coverage for these devices can present financial challenges.

Some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans may offer additional benefits, such as coverage for hearing aids, so beneficiaries should explore the specific details of their plan.

As policies and coverage may change, it’s advisable to check with the official Medicare website ( or contact Medicare directly to get the most current and accurate information regarding coverage for hearing healthcare services and devices. Additionally, individuals may explore supplemental insurance plans or other options to help cover the costs of hearing-related needs not covered by Medicare.

Types of Tinnitus Treatment

The treatment of tinnitus depends on its underlying cause, and in many cases, it may be challenging to identify a specific cause. However, various approaches can be used to manage and alleviate tinnitus symptoms. Here are some common types of tinnitus treatments:

Hearing Aids:

For individuals with both hearing loss and tinnitus, hearing aids can be beneficial. Amplifying external sounds can help mask the internal noise of tinnitus and improve overall hearing.

Sound Therapy:

Various sound-based therapies aim to provide external sounds that either partially or completely cover the perception of tinnitus. This can include white noise, pink noise, nature sounds, or specially designed tinnitus masking devices. Sound therapy can be delivered through hearing aids, wearable devices, or smartphone apps.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of counseling that helps individuals change negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with tinnitus. It can be effective in reducing the emotional impact of tinnitus, helping individuals better cope with the condition.

Relaxation Techniques:

Stress and anxiety can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation may help manage stress and, in turn, reduce the perceived intensity of tinnitus.


While there is no specific medication approved solely for the treatment of tinnitus, certain medications may be prescribed to address underlying conditions or to manage associated symptoms such as anxiety or insomnia.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT):

TRT combines sound therapy with counseling to help individuals habituate to the perception of tinnitus. It aims to retrain the brain’s response to tinnitus, making it less noticeable over time.


Biofeedback techniques involve monitoring and controlling physiological processes, such as muscle tension and heart rate. This can be used to help individuals gain better control over their body’s response to stress and reduce the impact of tinnitus.

Alternative Therapies:

Some individuals explore alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or dietary supplements, for tinnitus relief. However, the effectiveness of these approaches is often subjective and varies from person to person.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of tinnitus treatments can vary, and what works for one person may not work for another. A personalized approach, often involving a combination of treatments, is typically recommended. Individuals experiencing tinnitus should consult with healthcare professionals, such as audiologists or otolaryngologists, to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for their specific situation.

Medicare Coverage for Tinnitus Treatment

Medicare coverage for tinnitus treatment is limited. Tinnitus is often considered a symptom rather than a standalone condition, and the coverage depends on the specific services or treatments prescribed by a healthcare professional and whether they are deemed medically necessary.

Below are some points to consider regarding Medicare coverage for tinnitus treatment:

  1. Diagnostic Services: Medicare Part B may cover diagnostic services ordered by a doctor to determine the underlying cause of tinnitus. This could include visits to an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist for evaluations and tests.
  2. Hearing Aids: Medicare generally does not cover the cost of hearing aids, and this includes hearing aids that may be prescribed to help manage tinnitus. Since tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, the lack of coverage for hearing aids can be a limitation.
  3. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) and Counseling: Services such as counseling or therapies like TRT may be covered if they are provided by a Medicare-approved healthcare professional and are deemed medically necessary for the treatment of a diagnosed medical condition. Coverage for mental health services under Medicare may also extend to counseling related to the emotional impact of tinnitus.

It’s important for individuals with tinnitus to consult with their healthcare providers and check with Medicare for the most up-to-date information on coverage.

Coverage policies can change, and individual cases may vary. Additionally, Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) may offer additional benefits beyond Original Medicare, so it’s worth exploring the specifics of a particular plan for any additional coverage related to tinnitus treatment.

As Medicare policies can change, we recommend checking with the official Medicare website ( or contacting Medicare directly for the most current and accurate information regarding coverage for tinnitus treatment.

Documenting Tinnitus Symptoms for Medicare

When documenting tinnitus symptoms for Medicare, it’s essential to provide clear and detailed information to support the medical necessity of any services or treatments. 

Here are some key elements for documenting tinnitus symptoms for Medicare:

  • Medical Records: Ensure that the tinnitus symptoms are documented in your medical records by a qualified healthcare professional, such as an audiologist, otolaryngologist, or primary care physician.
  • Diagnostic Information: Include information about any diagnostic tests or evaluations related to tinnitus, such as audiograms, balance exams, or imaging studies, that may help identify the underlying cause of the symptoms.
  • Underlying Conditions: If tinnitus is associated with an underlying medical condition, document the details of that condition. For example, if tinnitus is related to hearing loss, include information about the severity and type of hearing loss.
  • Treatment Plans: Clearly outline any recommended treatment plans for tinnitus, including medications, counseling, or therapies. Specify why these treatments are deemed medically necessary for the management of the condition.
  • Impact on Daily Life: Describe how tinnitus is affecting the patient’s daily life, including any challenges related to concentration, sleep, work, or emotional well-being. This information can help convey the impact of tinnitus on the patient’s overall health.
  • Counseling and Mental Health Services: If counseling or mental health services are recommended as part of the treatment plan, document the rationale for these services and how they contribute to the overall management of tinnitus.
  • Communication with Specialists: If the patient has consulted with specialists such as audiologists, ENT specialists, or mental health professionals, include summaries of these consultations and their recommendations in the medical records.
  • Prescribed Devices or Therapies: If hearing aids, tinnitus masking devices or other devices are prescribed as part of the treatment plan, document the specific recommendations and their intended role in managing tinnitus.

It’s important to note that Medicare typically requires documentation of medical necessity for services to be covered. Always consult with healthcare providers to ensure that the documentation meets Medicare’s requirements. 

Additionally, individual cases may vary, so it’s advisable to check with Medicare or your healthcare provider for the most up-to-date and accurate information specific to your situation.

Managing Tinnitus Symptoms

For most people, tinnitus is an occasional bother that lasts only a few minutes a couple of times a year. But for those who experience persistent tinnitus, it can be a real problem, making it hard for them to sleep or concentrate, leading to anger and sometimes even depression. That’s why managing tinnitus symptoms is so important for one’s well-being. So, let’s go over a few strategies that will help make tinnitus a little less disruptive.

Treat the bigger problem: Remember, tinnitus is not a disease, it’s a symptom, so addressing the larger issue is key. Meet with an audiologist to see if you can discover what the cause of it is. Depending on the kind of tinnitus, your hearing care specialist will have different ideas you can explore to find relief. Finding the treatment that works best for you is all about experimenting, so when one solution doesn’t work, keep on trying with something else!

Mask the sound: Since there is no cure for tinnitus, for some, masking the sound is an excellent way of finding relief. You can do this in a variety of ways, with a sound machine, using hearing aids, or even masking devices. All of these strategies work in different ways to block tinnitus, making it less uncomfortable while providing some relief. Talk to your audiologist to find the solution that’s best for you, it may even be a combination of these options. Only by experimenting will you know what’s best for you.

Take medication: At the moment, there are no medications or herbal supplements that help prevent tinnitus. However, seeing as tinnitus can lead to anxiety or depression, medication may be an option. Some patients experiencing anxiety or depression have found success taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication. Some medications can be habit-forming, so be sure to talk to your doctor to find the best option for your needs.

Can Tinnitus Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to prevent tinnitus altogether, but there are some strategies you can employ to reduce its impact.

Hearing protection: In many cases, tinnitus is caused by sudden exposure to loud sounds. If this happens occasionally, say at a concert, then you’ll want to be sure to always wear earplugs to protect your ears. This also applies to prolonged exposure to loud sounds. If you work at a shooting range or in an industrial setting with loud equipment, then wearing protective gear is a must. There are more options out there than just earplugs, so talk to an audiologist about the many options available to find the one best suited for your needs.

Circulation: Tinnitus can sometimes be caused by conditions that affect the circulatory system, specifically blood vessel disorders that put more pressure on the heart to keep blood moving. In these cases, maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels could help tinnitus stay at bay. Doctors recommend changing your diet, alleviating stress, and exercising often to lower blood pressure.

Mental health: While stress, anxiety, and depression can be caused by tinnitus, tinnitus can also be the cause of those symptoms – a vicious cycle! Doing what you can to break that cycle may help prevent tinnitus from getting any worse. Whether you try acupuncture, talk therapy, meditation, or massage therapy, those are all great options to try and find the one that works best for you.

Living With Tinnitus

It can be really difficult to live with tinnitus, especially if you have a prolonged or severe version of it. The good news is there is help out there! First of all, reach out to an audiologist for a diagnosis as well as guidance on treatment options, it may even be recommended you go see an ear, nose, and throat doctor (otolaryngologist) too. 

You may also want to consider joining a support group. Sharing your experience with others who have tinnitus may be helpful. If possible, try to choose a group facilitated by a physician, audiologist, or other qualified health professional.

Try to keep informed on the condition too. The more recent news you keep up with, the better your chances of finding something new that will make the condition more bearable for you. Try to manage your mood and keep calm, as stress can worsen tinnitus, so you want to avoid that whenever possible.

Finally, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make that have been shown to help:

  • Reduce exposure to loud sounds
  • Avoid total silence
  • Decrease salt intake
  • Monitor blood pressure
  • Avoid/decrease your intake of stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, etc.)
  • Exercise often
  • Try meditating, going on walks, or practicing mindfulness
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink

While Medicare doesn’t pay for tinnitus treatment, it doesn’t mean there’s no help out there. There is plenty you can do on your own to combat the discomfort and pain, and a lot of insight can be gained from talking to your audiologist. Remember, the important thing to do is to stay connected. Talk to your audiologist, be open about it with your friends, and don’t isolate yourself. The more connected you are, the better your chances of reducing the stress and pain associated with tinnitus.

Tinnitus Treatments FAQs

Can Medicare reimburse the cost of specialized therapies for tinnitus?

Medicare generally covers certain diagnostic services related to tinnitus. However, coverage for specialized therapies may be limited. Coverage policies can vary, and individual cases may differ.

Are prescription medications for tinnitus covered by Medicare?

Medicare does not have specific coverage for prescription medications specifically indicated for the treatment of tinnitus. Coverage for medications may depend on the underlying medical condition associated with tinnitus. It’s advisable to check with Medicare for the latest information on coverage for prescription medications related to tinnitus.

What other insurance options are available for covering tinnitus treatment besides Medicare?

Individuals seeking additional coverage for tinnitus treatment may explore private health insurance plans that offer more comprehensive benefits for audiology services, hearing aids, and related therapies. Some employer-sponsored health plans, Medicaid in certain states, and private supplemental insurance policies may provide coverage.

Additionally, Medicare Advantage plans may offer expanded benefits beyond Original Medicare. It’s crucial to review specific plan details and consult with insurance providers to determine coverage options for tinnitus-related services.


Dr. D’Anne Rudden

Dr. D’Anne Rudden has been helping Longmont and the surrounding communities hear better and find tinnitus relief for over 20 years. She is an expert in the fitting, dispensing, programming, and verification of advanced hearing technology and implantable devices, as well as in the diagnosis of hearing problems. She uses best practices to assure that your hearing solutions are personalized and customized for your specific needs.
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Dr. D’Anne Rudden

Dr. D’Anne Rudden has been helping Longmont and the surrounding communities hear better and find tinnitus relief for over 20 years. She is an expert in the fitting, dispensing, programming, and verification of advanced hearing technology and implantable devices, as well as in the diagnosis of hearing problems. She uses best practices to assure that your hearing solutions are personalized and customized for your specific needs.
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