Tinnitus is the perception of hearing sound in your ears or head when there is no actual sound present. These “phantom noises” as they’re called can include ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, whistling and hissing.
It can vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal and you might hear it in one or both ears.
Sometimes the sound can be so loud that it interferes with your life and your activities or even interfere with your ability to concentrate or hear actual sounds. Tinnitus can come and go or it may exist all the time.
A Common Misconception
We would like to clarify one very common misconception… Tinnitus is not a disease! It’s actually a “symptom” ranging from a number of causes that can include:
- Age-related hearing loss
- Exposure to loud noises
- Earwax blockages
- Stiffening of the bones in your middle ears
- Meniere’s diseases
- Stress and depressions
- Temperomandibular joint disorders
- Head or neck injuries
- Acoustic neuroma
- High blood pressure
- Turbulent blood flow
- Malformed capillaries
- Certain types of medications
The Most Common Cause of Tinnitus
The most common cause of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise so we’d like to focus on this for a moment…
Tinnitus can be caused by exposure to loud noise over a long period of time or it can also be caused by short, sharp exposure to loud sound such as gunshots, fireworks, planes taking off closely, vehicles colliding, or even vehicle airbag deployments as reported by some people.
People who work in factories where loud machinery is used or soldiers in the military who are around gunshots or artillery fire day in and day out are routinely subjected to over exposure to loud noise.
Even musicians who participate in large concerts, as well as the concert attendees themselves face exposure to loud noise on a regular basis which can all cause tinnitus.
When this prolonged exposure to noise occurs, cochlear damage is the likely (and most common) cause of tinnitus. The cochlea is the part of the inner ear that detects pressure and transmits electrical impulses through the auditory nerve and sends the sound transmission to the brain.
Now that we know what causes tinnitus, let’s look at some of the treatments…
Five Simple Rules For Tinnitus Relief
Rule #1) Cut back on salt intake, sugar intake, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine.
SALT – Some tinnitus sufferers report that cutting down their salt intake can be very helpful in reducing their tinnitus. This may be of particular benefit to “pulsatile” tinnitus sufferers where tinnitus may have been caused as a result of bad circulation and blood pressure abnormalities. Reducing salt intake is directly linked to a reduction in blood pressure so it is worth trying to reduce your daily salt intake for a week or two and seeing how it impacts your tinnitus severity.
SUGAR – (From the American Tinnitus Association): Some people find that foods with a high sugar content make their tinnitus louder. Monitor how you respond, and find a healthy balance where you do not eliminate all the foods that you love, but also where you do not unnecessarily exacerbate your tinnitus.
As for caffeine, it can overstimulate your nervous system, which is known to increase ringing for many people.
Rule #2) Lower your stress level.
Stress is a normal reaction to certain challenges in life and it can result in either positive or negative experiences. A new job, getting married, or having an illness can be stressful. When a person is experiencing stress, some chemical changes occur which triggers physical changes in the body. The blood vessels constrict which causes reduced circulation and decreased heart rate, while respiration and blood pressure increases. This alone can have a significant impact on the intensity of your tinnitus.
Rule #3) Make sure your tinnitus isn’t caused by allergies, medications or high blood pressure.
Tinnitus can be a direct result of allergy triggered inflammation of tiny blood vessels inside the ear. As with other ear problems, allergies should be considered as a possible cause of tinnitus if:
- You have allergies of the nose, sinuses or respiratory tract (hay fever, asthma, sinusitis, nasal polyps) Your symptoms are linked to specific foods or inhalants.
- Skin or blood tests indicate you have allergies.
- High blood pressure is also a known common cause of Tinnitus.
It’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly even if you don’t have tinnitus.
Here is a list of medications that are known to either cause or intensify tinnitus symptoms:
1) Salicylates – Aspirin and aspirin containing products
2) Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)
3) Antibiotics – Aminoglycosides, Erythromycin, Vancomycin
4) Loop Diuretics – Lasix, Endecrin, Bumex
5) Chemotherapy Agents – Cisplatin, Nitrogen Mustard, Vincristine
6) Quinine – Aralen, Atabrine (for treatment of malaria), Legatrin, Q-Vel Muscle Relaxant (for treatment of night cramps)
Rule #4) Cut back on tobacco and alcohol.
There are no solid scientific studies outlining the link between tobacco smoke and tinnitus, pro or con, however many people have reported an increase in their tinnitus symptoms after smoking.
Surprisingly, the same results have been reported with alcohol consumption. Some people report that alcohol intensifies their tinnitus.
Rule #5) Remove excessive ear wax.
Excessive ear wax is another well-known cause of tinnitus. If earwax is causing your tinnitus there must be plenty of it in your ears and a cotton swab is not the best way to fix it. This is because not only can it push it further in but as you struggle to dislodge it you may damage the inner ear causing permanent damage.
The correct way to remove stubborn earwax is with homeopathic treatments using hydrogen peroxide and warm water.
You should be able to find an ear flushing kit at your local drugstore. This will flush the earwax out of the ear with no risk of damage and do the job properly.
We hope you find this tinnitus information useful and wish you well in your journey to eliminating these symptoms so you can enjoy the life that you deserve without the annoying ringing in your ears.
All that is left for you to do is to take action and end your tinnitus for good. You have some of the best possible tools in your hands and now is the time to put them to use!
In Health and Happiness,
The Tinniticil Team