Have you ever been sitting in a quiet room by yourself and noticed a faint ringing sound in your ears? Well, for some people, that ringing isn’t so faint. In fact, for some people this “ringing” can be more of a roar, or a shriek. These are people who are suffering from tinnitus, a condition which effects approximately 50 million people in the U.S. alone.
Many of those who suffer from tinnitus often turn to over-the-counter solutions to their problem, however these are usually not very effective and cause a variety of unpleasant side effects that could worsen the patient’s well-being. This is why I am providing you with five alternative treatments to tinnitus. But first, lets go into more detail about exactly what it is and what causes it.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is typically defined as having a ringing sensation in the ear that is not coming from any source of noise outside the body. Although the noise most people with tinnitus experience is typically described as a ringing, these noises can range from chirping to hissing, whistling or other sounds, and they can also range in volume as well.
In some people this noise can be continuous, while in others it can come and go. It is generally most noticeable when there is little or not background noise, such as when reading a book in a quiet room or trying to fall asleep. In some rare cases the sound can even become in sync with one’s heart beat.
The most common cause of tinnitus is prolonged exposure to loud noise. Instances where tinnitus is likely to occur can include being at concerts or nightclubs, working at construction sites, riding a motorcycle or being around guns or other loud devices. This loud noise causes permanent damage to cells located in the inner ear, causing tinnitus and in extreme cases hearing loss. It takes only a single exposure to an extremely loud noise to cause tinnitus.
Although loud noises are the most common cause of tinnitus, there are a variety of other causes. These can include:
- Blockages in the ear caused by wax build up, an ear infection or, in rare cases, a benign tumor
- Certain drugs such as aspirin, anti-inflammatories, sedatives and antidepressants
- The natural aging process
- Menier’s disease
- Injuries to the head or neck
In order to combat tinnitus, many people take pharmaceutical medication to help deal with its symptoms. Not only do these medications provide a new set of symptoms to worry about, they are also shown to not be very effective and in some cases they can even contribute to tinnitus symptoms.
Thankfully, there are a variety of alternative treatments to tinnitus that have proven effectiveness and don’t come with a long list of side effects. Here are the 5 best alternative treatments for tinnitus.
There have been several studies which highlighted the effectiveness of acupuncture when it comes to curing tinnitus. An acupuncturist who has studied Traditional Chinese Medicine will be able to differentiate the treatment for different types of tinnitus, and treatment usually focuses on fixing the “obstruction” in the ear’s channels.
A basic acupuncture prescription for tinnitus may take up to 10-15 sessions before noticeable improvement. Acupuncturists generally target the points on the scalp or ear during treatment.
Gingko biloba is an extensively studied herbal medicine that is said to be able to improve blood flow to the outer parts of your body, specifically the brain and head. This makes it effective at treating tinnitus that is caused by circulatory problems. It is advised to take 240 mg of a standardized Gingko capsule daily for maximum effectiveness. You should feel relief from tinnitus symptoms after 6 weeks of taking it regularly. Once symptoms go away you can reduce your dosage to 40-60 mg per day. It is important to note that a systematic review has determined that doses of 29.2 mg-150 mg are efficacious in treating tinnitus.
Eustachian Tube Drainage
This is a technique that is used to relieve congestion in the tube located behind your ear drum by draining the fluid in your ear. This is said to help treat tinnitus that is caused by congestion of the ears, nose, or throat, as the upper respiratory tract is connected to this tube.
To perform this technique, first, make sure your hands are clean.
Secondly, open your mouth and place your index finger on your back molars on one side. Behind these molars is a curved bone covered in flesh (this is the hinge that allows you to open and close your jaw).
Keep going farther back until you find a stringy tendon, and just beyond that tendon, at the root of your tongue, is the Eustachian tube. Gently stroke this tube from side to side for 15-20 seconds, and do the same on the other side.
Doing this daily for a week should relieve symptoms of tinnitus. If you do not feel comfortable performing this procedure, ask your local naturopath to perform it for you.
Zinc and Vitamin B12 supplements are said to be effective at treating age and noise related tinnitus, especially in people who are deficient in either of them.
Many studies have shown the benefit of taking zinc in age-related tinnitus. Taking 90-150 mg for 3-6 months may help. You can take zinc in the form of lozenges. If the zinc lozenges come with an unpleasant taste, then you likely are not zinc deficient, however you find they contain little to no taste you are likely deficient in zinc.
A B12 deficiency was reported in many people who developed tinnitus in response to loud noises. Weekly intramuscular injections of 1000 mcg of B12 was found to reduce the severity of tinnitus symptoms. Although no official studies have been conducted on the effects of oral consumption of B12 and tinnitus, some people claim that taking as little as 100 mcg daily had beneficial effects.
White noise can help reduce symptoms of tinnitus by suppressing the constant noise caused by it. Since tinnitus is usually most prevalent when there is little to no background noise, having a white noise machine can help by simulating background noise, such as environmental sounds like rain falling or ocean waves.
If tinnitus keeps you from sleeping, try using a white noise machine that has pillow speakers. If you don’t want to buy a white noise machine, fans, air conditioners, humidifiers and dehumidifiers can work as makeshift white noise machines. There are also certain hearing aids and other devices available that can help you block out the noise caused by tinnitus.
Let us know if any of these options helped treat your tinnitus, or if this information was helpful in any way, in the comment section.