- Education and Science
Five Tinnitus Treatments You May Not Be Aware Of
Tinnitus is a term used to describe a persistent ringing in the ears. It can have a variety of causes and there is currently no single treatment that will cure all forms of tinnitus. There are, however, several things you can do to significantly reduce the sound of your tinnitus, and in some cases, eliminate the sound completely.
In this article I highlight 5 tinnitus treatments that, as a tinnitus suffer, I think are effective yet haven't received the media attention they deserve. Some of the treatments apply to only certain types of tinnitus, while others apply to all types of tinnitus. Let’s get started!
5) Avoid Certain Types of Toothpastes
Many types of toothpaste, especially those for sensitive teeth, contain as an active ingredient a compound known as Potassium Nitrate (also known as saltpetre). Potassium Nitrate is a known irritant of tinnitus. It can be the source of your tinnitus or be worsening your existing tinnitus. Some suffers have also reported a feeling of fullness in their inner ear and experienced partial deafness (examples: here and here). Discontinuing use of such toothpastes can alleviate these side effects.
4) Keep a Food Diary
Caffeine, MSG, salt, sugar, saturated and trans-fats, red wine, and spicy foods have all been labeled as possible problem foods for people with tinnitus. Though not all tinnitus suffers experience an increase in ringing volume after consuming them. Instead of depriving yourself of foods you might otherwise enjoy, it's better to keep a food diary so you can narrow down which foods specifically give you problems, if any.
3) TMJ Syndrome Treatments
If you suffer from headaches, pain or soreness in your jaw, pain when chewing or experience jaw noises, your tinnitus may be due to a condition known as TMJ Syndrome. Tinnitus due to TMJ Syndrome is curable and subsides in most people who get treatment for it. You should see a doctor if you suspect your tinnitus is due to TMJ Syndrome.
Vinpocetine is a chemical that is marketed as a supplement that will improve memory. In several different small studies it has shown positive results for reducing tinnitus and reducing inner ear damage after noise trauma. Like Ginkgo Biloba, another supplement thought to improve tinntius, Vinpocetine is a cerebral vasodilator and has antioxidant properties. However, Vinpocetine has been shown to be more effective and to work in a shorter period of time. Ginkgo Biloba typically takes 4 to 6 weeks to show effects, whereas Vinpocetine typically shows effects after 7 to 10 days.
Vinpocetine is available in most countries, including the US, as a supplement. It should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with low blood pressure, people with seizure disorders, or people with liver problems. A typical dosage for treatment of tinnitus is 30mg a day. Higher dosages have not shown additional benefits and sometimes lower dosages of 5-10mg are recommended. If you're interested in trying Vinpocetine and are on other medications, you should talk with a doctor first.
1) Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)
rTMS is a procedure where neutrons in the brain have their electrical activity manipulated by a pulsed magnetic field. In 2003, researchers found that rTMS treatment significantly reduced the tinnitus in 10 of 11 different patients. Other small studies have indicated that rTMS may be a viable option for tinnitus treatment, and clinical trails for various rTMS treatment styles are currently being conducted. Many of these studies are actively recruiting volunteers.