Tinnitus is a condition marked by ringing or buzzing in one ear, both ears or the head in the absence of actual sound. It can be heard as ringing, buzzing, roaring, hissing, whistling, throbbing or booming. The problem can manifest as a single sound or a number of different sounds and can develop either gradually or suddenly. The mechanisms of Tinnitus are not yet fully understood but the principal underlying cause is irritated nerve endings in the inner ear. It is advisable to see a health care professional, in some cases treatment can completely remove the symptoms of the complaint.

Causes of tinnitus

  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Otosclerosis – fixation of the tiny stirrup bone in middle ear
  • Menieres disease
  • Some prescription and non – prescription medications
  • Degeneration of the small bones in the middle ear
  • Misalignment of the jaw (TMJ)
  • Nutritional deficiencies (Magnesium, B Vitamins, Vitamin E, essential fatty acids)
  • Disorders of the middle ear, inner ear or central auditory pathway

Orthodox treatments for tinnitus

  • Therapeutic noise generator – An electronic device to present sound to the ear to mask tinnitus; occasionally allows temporary residual inhibition of the tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy – A psychological method changing the patient’s attitude and evaluation of tinnitus through counseling and the use of sound based on a neurophysiologic concept of tinnitus.
  • Hearing Aids – can reduce and even completely diminish ringing in the ears in some cases

Diet tips for tinnitus

  • Ensure adequate hydration, water is needed to improve circulation and decrease pain and inflammation
  • Consume more foods high in antioxidants to assist with circulation such as berries, herbal teas and black tea and fish
  • Increase essential fatty acid intake in the diet by eating more fish

Lifestyle factors for tinnitus

  • Acupuncture, magnet therapy, yoga
  • High doses of Aspirin (blood thinners) may cause tinnitus
  • Avoid loud noises and music. Many jobs can be an occupational hazard to the health of the hearing and if you work in an industry where they use loud machinery or equipment it would be wise to use ear muffs as well as minimising your exposure
  • Reduce or abstain from smoking as cigarette smoking dramatically reduces circulation to the peripheries
  • Address sinus complaints if this is an underlying issue

Natural remedies for tinnitis

  • Herbs which may assist in improving circulation and reducing the symptoms of tinnitus are Ginkgo Biloba, Dan Shen, Passion flower and Horse tail. The herb Ginkgo Biloba has been used with a lot of success to improve vascular circulation to the peripheries, as is the case in tinnitus
  • Co Q10 – may help treat tinnitus in those with Co Q10 deficiencies by increasing the circulation to the minor capillaries of the ear
  • Avoid aspirin or aspirin-like herbs such as Willow bark, Meadowsweet and Wintergreen. Some other herbs that may aggravate tinnitus are Cinchona, Black Haw and Uva Ursi.
  • Zinc and B Vitamin supplementation with higher amounts of B12, B6 and B3, as these help to ensure perfusion of blood to the tissues, circulation and nerve repairing.
  • Take a supplement which contains Choline as this is a mineral specific for the protection of sensitive nerve fibres
  • Fish oil or flax seed oil (essential fatty acids) may help to reduce inflammation and improve circulation to the peripheries