Can Physical Therapy help Tinnitus?

Can physical therapy help tinnitus?
Can physical therapy help tinnitus?

Can Physical Therapy help Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is defined is the perception of sound in the absence of an acoustic external stimulus. To a person, this correlates to a bothersome auditory perception of noise.

There can be many reasons why an individual has these symptoms. A subtype of subjective tinnitus is called somatosensory tinnitus.

This basically means that in some individuals, the pitch and loudness of the tinnitus can be modulated or adjusted from movements of the neck, jaw, eyes and turning the head.

Somatosensory Tinnitus is the type of tinnitus that can improve with comprehensive Physical Therapy..

What characteristics can mean a better outcome with Physical Therapy?

Research has shown a few characteristics that indicate better outcomes for patients with somatosensory tinnitus.

The following items that exhibit the most improvement are from Cote et al 2019 :

  1. Manifestation of the tinnitus was recent

  2. The tinnitus does not increase with loud noise exposure

  3. There is no family history of tinnitus

  4. No medication seems to increase symptoms and

  5. Somatic testing triggers tinnitus modulations through neck contractions, with the examiner applying pressure to the forehead.

How does Physical Therapy help Tinnitus?

People frequently report the presence of muscular problems in the head and neck regions, neck pain, and a decrease in cervical mobility in cases of tinnitus. Physical Therapists with training and expertise in the head and neck region address muscular problems with:

  1. Postural Education

  2. Trigger point deactivation by ischemic compression and/or dry needling

  3. Mobilization and/or manipulation of the cervical and thoracic spine joints

  4. Stretches and strengthening exercises for the neck and jaw

  5. Relaxation techniques for the jaw and neck

  6. Use of modalities in clinic or teach you how to use at home, if necessary. These can include transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS), ultrasound, and traction devices.

A recent exploratory study showed that a multimodal physiotherapy program is effective in decreasing the severity of tinnitus (Cote et al 2019). This was an echo of an earlier study by Michiels et al 2016. 

These authors found a positive effect of a multimodal cervical physiotherapy treatment in individuals with somatosensory tinnitus (tinnitus of cervocogenic causes). In their study, 53% of the treated participants benefited from a significant decrease in the severity of their tinnitus.


Managing tinnitus effectively requires a collaborative effort, as it takes a dedicated team of healthcare professionals, audiologists, and individuals to find the right strategies for relief and support.

If you suspect somatosensory tinnitus or experience any of the mentioned symptoms, we recommend seeking professional evaluation and guidance to better understand and address this unique form of tinnitus.

Patients presenting with tinnitus should consider specialized physical therapy.   We provide a comprehensive treatment approach through our Somatosensory Tinnitus Relief Program.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today so we can help you!

Tinnitus Treatment