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Tinnitus treatment

A number of treatments are used to help relieve the symptoms of tinnitus. Treatment will depend on the cause of tinnitus.

Introduction

Tinnitus is the expression used for hearing noises in one or both ears or in the head when there is no obvious source of outside sound present. Although commonly described as a ringing noise, tinnitus is also described as buzzing, humming, whining, roaring whistling or droning. Some people have even described tinnitus as hearing musical tunes or songs in their head. Studies have demonstrated that tinnitus may stop without any treatment, although this can take several months or even years and it is therefore in the best interest of the tinnitus sufferer to know which treatment options are available and best suited to them.

This page describes a variety of treatments available to help combat tinnitus symptoms. It starts by looking at treating tinnitus where there is an underlying cause for the problem, then looks at treatments when there is no apparent cause for tinnitus.

Tinnitus treatments when there is an underlying cause

The most appropriate tinnitus treatment will depend on whether there is an underlying reason or trigger factor that caused the tinnitus to appear in the first place. Follow the link for more information on tinnitus causes.

Tinnitus is sometimes a symptom  of another condition. If tinnitus has occurred for a specific reason that can be treated then this would usually lead to complete subsidence of tinnitus. A few examples include:

  • An ear infection, if tinnitus has been the result of an ear infection, your doctor may need to prescribe an antibiotic to clear the infection, hence resolving the problem that caused tinnitus in the first place.
  • Ear wax, if tinnitus is due to excess or impacted ear wax, your doctor or pharmacist may recommend ear drops or syringing of the ears to dislodge the wax to relieve your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Meniere’s disease, if you have been diagnosed with this inner ear disorder that may affect hearing, balance and cause tinnitus, your doctor may prescribe Betahistine, an antihistamine which has been found to help decrease attacks of this disease, hence resolving symptoms of tinnitus.
  • A medication, many medications are known to cause tinnitus and so it is important if you are taking any other medicines to talk to your doctor or pharmacist so they can determine whether your medication is causing the problem.

Follow link for more information on tinnitus causes.

Tinnitus treatments if there is no underlying cause

If there is no major underlying cause for your tinnitus and symptoms of tinnitus are mild, your doctor will probably suggest you try some alterative therapies to relieve your condition. The following treatments or aids may help to distract you from the tinnitus symptoms you are experiencing:

  • Sound generator which is placed close to your bed and plays natural sounds such as sea waves, bird songs, white noise etc. These external sounds take your mind off tinnitus and may help those with sleeping difficulties due to tinnitus to fall asleep.
  • Maskers – these noise generators are worn in the ear like a hearing aid and can mask tinnitus by producing sounds that distract you from the noise you normally hear.

Complementary tinnitus treatments

There are no conventional medicines available to treat tinnitus symptoms where an underlying cause is unknown. There are however a number of complementary medicines that popularly aid in the relief of tinnitus including:

  • Acupuncture, a traditional chinese therapy where fine needles are inserted into certain points in the body to correct imbalances in the body’s energy.
  • Aromatherapy can help you to relax through the use of diluted plant essential oils, massaged into the skin by an aromatherapist.
  • Reflexology where the feet are worked on by a reflexologist to clear energy pathways to different parts of the body.
  • Osteopathy is where the body is manipulated and massaged to correct any body imbalances.
  • Homeopathy, specific homeopathic products such as Calcarea carbonica or Cimicifuga have been suggested to relieve tinnitus symptoms, however there are many other homeopathic preparations that may be more suitable depending on individual symptoms.
  • Herbal medicines such as Ginkgo biloba, Garlic and Plantago  have been shown to have a favourable effect on reducing tinnitus symptoms. There is a licensed version of Ginkgo biloba  indicated in relieving tinnitus symptoms.
  • Zinc supplements, the B vitamins and magnesium have been recommended to relieve tinnitus.
  • Apple cider vinegar has been recommended in water or honey once or twice a day by many naturopaths.

The role of diet in tinnitus

Diet is another area that can be changed to help decrease tinnitus symptoms. The following products should be reduced or stopped by tinnitus suffers to help alleviate ringing in the ears

  • Salt intake
  • Caffeine intake
  • Chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Alcohol

For further information on things you can do to help relieve tinnitus symptoms please read the tinnitus self-help pages.

Further reading:
Tinnitus
Tinnitus symptoms
Tinnitus causes
Tinnitus self-help
Ringing in ears