- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
5 Simple Tinnitus Remedies to Relieve Ringing in the Ears
William Shatner and Tinnitus
What is Tinnitus?
Before looking at tinnitus remedies to relieve ringing in the ears, it will be beneficial to get a good understanding of what tinnitus actually is, its symptoms, causes and mainstream treatment...
First off, tinnitus is not a disease or illness. You see, tinnitus -- often referred to as 'ringing in the ears' -- is a symptom of some other underlying problem. For example, one of the chief causes of tinnitus is noise-damaged hearing.
Tinnitus is just the perception of sounds that don't have an external source. And the mild form of ringing in the ears is very common, with around 10% of people suffering mild tinnitus on occasion. But the number of people who get tinnitus so severely that it prevents them leading a normal life is as high as 1 in 200.
Tinnitus symptoms are the noises a sufferer hears in their head or ears. These sounds can be described as ringing, buzzing, roaring, swishing, whooshing, hissing, ticking, clicking, etc.
And they can be constant, intermittent, severe, mild, and so on, depending on each individual case. The kind of sound heard, e.g. hissing, clicking, etc., may be dependent on the underlying issue(s) causing the tinnitus.
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As mentioned at the beginning, tinnitus is actually a symptom of some underlying issue or problem, not a disease or illness in itself. The underlying causes of tinnitus are many and varied and include:-
- Hearing damaged by loud noise.
- Age-related hearing loss.
- Impacted earwax.
- Ear infections / inflammations.
- Head injury / whiplash.
- Acoustic neuroma (benign tumour of the auditory nerve).
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
- Stress / anxiety / depression.
- Atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries).
- Middle ear effusion (sometimes called 'glue ear').
- Twisted / kinked arteries in head / neck.
- Glomus tumour (benign tumour commonly found in the middle ear).
- Benign intracranial hypertension (increased pressure in the fluid around the brain).
- Intracranial vascular lesions (abnormal artery - vein connections).
- Venous hum (increased blood flow through jugular vein).
- Otosclerosis (tiny bones in middle ear become stiff and less mobile).
- Sinus allergies / inflammation.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Meniere's disease (resulting from increased pressure in the inner ear).
- Eustachian tube blockage (the tube equalizes middle ear / atmospheric pressure, and, drains mucous).
- Lyme disease (disease acquired through tick bites).
- Thyroid problems.
- Some drug therapy such as aspirin, quinine, diuretics, chemotherapy, analgesics, antibiotics, etc.
Anatomy of the Human Ear
Subjective tinnitus is the most common form of ringing ears by far. It is the name given to the type of tinnitus wherein it is only the victim who actually hears the sounds. No other person, including medical personnel using audio instruments, can hear them. Hence 'subjective.'
But, be in no doubt, the sufferer does actually hear the sounds, they aren't a figment of their imagination. And they can be so severe as to seriously disrupt their everyday lives.
One of the main causes is hearing loss, which can be brought about by issues like excessive noise, age-related hearing loss, impacted ear wax, Meniere's disease, ear infection, middle ear effusion, acoustic neuroma, and some drugs such as aspirin, analgesics, diuretics, antibiotics, quinine, naproxen.
Other causes are head trauma, whiplash, thyroid problems, vitamin B12 deficiency, iron deficiency, depression, anxiety, etc.
Objective tinnitus is the condition where both the tinnitus sufferer and a medical professional can hear the sounds. The professional can hear them with the aid of an audio instrument as simple as a stethoscope.
Objective tinnitus is usually the result of some sort of arterial disturbance -- turbulent blood flow -- in the head and / or neck.
A particular type of ringing in the ears that falls into this category is 'pulsatile tinnitus.' This is so-called because the sounds that can be heard are rhythmic and can pulse in time with the patient's heartbeat.
Bilateral and Unilateral Tinnitus
As well as falling into two main categories; subjective and objective, tinnitus can also be 'unilateral' or 'bilateral.'
Unilateral is simply where the tinnitus is present in one ear only. Bilateral means that it occurs in both ears at the same time.
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Mainstream Treatment to Relieve Ringing in the Ears
It has to be said that conventional treatment for ringing in the ears is not very successful. There is a statistic that shows that only around 3% to 5% of tinnitus sufferers achieve total tinnitus relief. The rest may get some temporary relief or some lowering of the symptoms.
One of the reasons for this could be that in order to remedy tinnitus you first need to identify the root cause. Unfortunately, this can sometimes prove fruitless. There is a study that showed that in 43% of victims, the underlying cause could not be identified.
The following are examples of typical conventional treatments for tinnitus:-
- The use of drugs such as intravenous lidocaine, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, cardiovasculars, antibiotics, and antihistamines, etc.
- Safe removal of impacted ear wax.
- Technical approaches such as tinnitus (sound) maskers and hearing aids to help reduce the difference between external noise and the tinnitus sounds, so that the sounds appear less.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy, which uses a combination of counselling along with background noise generation to help reduce the patient's perception of their tinnitus sounds.
- Electrical stimulation of the auditory cortex.
- Biofeedback, that helps patients to change their body's reaction to the stress and anxiety in their lives, and so helps to reduce the tinnitus that their stress / anxiety contributes to.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which combines cognitive (beliefs, thoughts) therapy with behavioural (behaviours as a result of those thoughts, etc.) therapy in order to change negative behaviours into positive ones.
- Surgery, where necessary and usually as a last resort.
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Complementary Therapies for Ringing in the Ears
There are several natural complementary therapies that are popular. These are things like: acupuncture, acupressure, hypnosis, yoga, reflexology, meditation, stress-relieving exercises, massage, and so on. Many complementary therapies are based around relieving stress and anxiety and fostering a state of well-being.
Why Natural Remedies for Tinnitus?
Because of the failure of conventional medicine to provide better outcomes more often, sufferers are increasingly searching out and using natural remedies to help relieve their ringing ears.
These remedies include things such as herbal remedies, homeopathy, dietary changes, lifestyle changes, dietary supplements, aromatherapy, etc...
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5 Natural Remedies to Relieve Ringing in the Ears
There are many natural remedies for tinnitus out there, so to help you along, here are 5 popular home remedies to relieve ringing in your ears:-
1. Dietary Changes
Avoid food that may help to trigger tinnitus. For example, reduce your fat and salt intake as these can lead to narrowing of the arteries and hypertension which we know can cause tinnitus.
You should also think about avoiding refined sugar, dairy products (especially cheese), caffeine, red wine, chocolate products, honey, soy / soy products, and over-ripe bananas.
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit as part of a healthy diet, so that your body gets the correct amount of vitamins, minerals, etc., that it needs.
But remember to talk to your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet.
High stress and anxiety levels can lead to tinnitus. So using stress-reducing exercises can help to counter this.
And exercise physically everyday. It can be as simple as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, etc. As well as helping to reduce stress, this also helps to improve overall health, reduce hypertension, and lower cholesterol, especially when combined with a healthy diet.
3. Herbal Tinnitus Remedies
One of the most talked-about tinnitus remedies is Gingko Biloba which is believed to improve blood circulation in the small blood vessels in the head and ear and so helps to relieve tinnitus. It is widely used in Japan and Germany in particular. You can get it in supplemental form.
Other popular tinnitus herbal remedies are; lesser periwinkle, niacin, goldenseal, black cohosh, wild hyssop and burdock root.
4. Take Supplements
Since much of popular western diet nowadays is low in many important vitamins, minerals and nutrients etc., which can adversely affect tinnitus, the use of supplements can prove pretty effective in helping to reduce the symptoms of ringing in the ears.
For example, it is known that the lack of vitamin B12 can help to trigger tinnitus, as can the lack of sufficient magnesium, zinc and melatonin. And vitamins A and E are also important.
But remember to first consult with your physician about dietary supplements in relation to your tinnitus.
For this you need to locate a fully-qualified homeopathic practitioner. Homeopathy is an extremely old treatment system based on the idea of treating 'like' with 'like' using totally natural ingredients.
In other words, if a natural ingredient can produce symptoms of the problem in a healthy person (without the problem), then that same ingredient can actually cure the person who actually has the problem, when applied at the correct dosage.
So there you have it...5 natural remedies to relieve ringing in the ears.
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The content of this Hub is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be a substitute for proper medical diagnosis, treatment or advice, and you should not assume that it is. Always consult your health-care provider / physician / doctor before taking any medications, natural remedies, supplements, or making any major changes to your diet.