Have you ever noticed that your ears start to ring after leaving a concert hall or listening to an explosion?
This ringing typically stops with a few minutes to a few hours after the loud noise, but some people experience it continuously throughout the day.
This condition is called tinnitus and it affects 36 million Americans chronically. It may seem insignificant, but it’s known to severely impact the quality of life of its sufferers.
What Is Tinnitus ?
Tinnitus is a condition where sufferers experience ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds that aren’t caused by external auditory stimuli. You may hear it in one or both ears or even from inside your head. It’s most often perceived when you’re sitting in a quiet room, like before going to bed (1).
These sounds may come and go and may also vary in intensity in relation to factors like stress, diet and noise exposure. Common prescription and non-prescription drugs, such as aspirin, anticonvulsants and antibiotics may worsen the noise (2,3).
Rather then being a disease, tinnitus is a symptom of another condition, such as hearing loss or infection.
According to Web MD, common causes include:
- Blockages of the ear due to a buildup of wax, an ear infection, or rarely, a benign tumor on the auditory nerve
- Certain drugs – tinnitus is actually a listed side effect of over 200 drugs.
- The natural aging of the ear
- Meniere’s disease, which affects the inner part of the ear
- Otosclerosis, a disease that results in stiffening of the small bones in the middle ear
- Other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, circulatory problems, anemia, allergies, an underactive thyroid gland, and diabetes
- Neck or jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome
- Injuries to the head and neck
Tinnitus can be a frustrating condition to manage. Common side effects include fatigue, stress, sleep problems, trouble concentrating, memory problems, depression, anxiety and irritability (4).
5 Ways To Treat Tinnitus
Although there is medication on the market that claims to treat tinnitus, they can have side effects that make symptoms of the condition even worse in the long run.
If you’re looking for a non-invasive way to manage you tinnitus, look no further.
Acupuncture has been used in Chinese Traditional Medicine for millennia and is still widely used today. In fact, the World Health Organization actually considers it to be a viable treatment option for a wide variety of medical problems (5).
In the case of tinnitus, the Nation Health Institute has published multiple studies that found that acupuncture was an effective treatment to reduce the severity of the condition without any harmful side effects. In fact, a good acupuncturist can actually treat other related diseases during your appointment (6).
In some cases, tinnitus is cause by circulatory conditions that cause too little blood flow to the inner ear or damage to the blood vessels. Ginkgo, an eat Asian medicinal tree may be beneficial in these cases (7).
In fact, ginkgo leaf is often taken to improve blood flow to the brain and head in older or ill people. It’s know to treat headache, vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss and other auditory conditions. It also improves symptoms like memory loss, mood disturbances and trouble focusing.
3. Eustachian Tube Drainage
Tinnitus caused by ear, nose, throat or upper respiratory congestion can be relieved by opening up blocked eutachian tubes (8).
All you need to do is close your mouth and block your nose and gently blow as if you’re blowing your nose into a tissue. You should feel a change of pressure in your ears. Yawning and chewing gum may also have the same effect.
It you’re still feeling congested, place clean finger on your back molar on the lower left side of your mouth. Find the fleshy curved bone near your tooth and follow it under your tongue. You should feel a stringy tendon and a strange tube-like structure. Stroke the tube side to side for 15-20 seconds daily to get tinnitus relief.
Although it may seem strange, taking supplements can actually give your body what it needs to correct certain medical problems. Zinc, for example, is needed by your body to maintain its tissues, grow and conduct essential biological functions. It can also treat ringing in the ears by stabilizing blood pressure (9).
On the other hand, vitamin B12 is essential for the brain and nervous system. Most patients with tinnitus suffer from B12 deficiency and may experience relief by taking supplements (10).
5. White Noise
White noise treats tinnitus by masking the sound through external noise. It essentially drowns out the ringing and replaces it with a more pleasant sound, like the sound of the rain or of a fan (11).
All you need to do is play nature music when you find yourself in a quiet room or use a white noise machine to help you fall asleep.