Tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying condition involving the ears and is characterized by a ringing noise inside the ear. Tinnitus can develop as a result of hearing loss, an ear injury or circulation issues. Inner ear cell damage, chronic health issues, loud noise exposure, ear wax accumulation, Meniere’s disease, neck injuries, head injuries, high blood pressure and changes to the bones inside the ear can cause tinnitus.
Diagnosis and Treatment
See a doctor to determine the underlying cause of tinnitus. A doctor will examine the inside of your ear using an otoscope, and you will need an audiological examination to assess whether you have hearing loss caused by noise exposure or age-related hearing loss. The doctor will also examine your ears to see whether an accumulation of ear wax is causing a problem, and you may need a CT scan and MRI scan or X-rays to determine the cause of the ringing in your ears. Sometimes, the causes of tinnitus can be identified; in other instances, the exact cause of your condition cannot be determined. If your tinnitus is caused by an infection, you may be prescribed an antibiotic such as vancomycin, erythromycin, blemycin, chloramphenicol or tetracycline. Take the full course of antibiotics as your doctor prescribes to relieve your condition.
A few simple lifestyle changes can make dealing with tinnitus easier. Avoid loud noise and other irritants that might affect your ears. Stop smoking to avoid further irritation of tinnitus. Meditate or relax to lower your stress levels; high stress levels can intensify the ringing in your ears. Do not drink alcohol, because it forces your blood vessels to dilate, increases blood flow to the ears and can intensify your tinnitus symptoms. Finally, distract yourself with soft sounds to cover up and mask the ringing in your ears to reduce noise irritation. Listen to soft music or invest in a white noise machine that makes a soft sound to cover up the ringing in your ears.
Ginkgo biloba is commonly used to treat tinnitus. This herb can help decrease the intensity of the ringing in your ears, and it also enhances cognitive functioning. This herb is not ideal for children, but adults can consume 120mg of gingko biloba a day in divided doses; allow four to six weeks to experience the full benefits of this herb.
Side effects of ginkgo biloba may include dizziness, a skin rash, upset stomach and headaches. Breastfeeding or pregnant women should not use this herb, and if you are having an operation, you should stop taking ginkgo biloba three days before surgery; this herb can increase your risks of excessive bleeding. This herb can interact with anti-convulsants, anti-depressants, anti-hypertensive medications, blood thinners, diabetic medications, cyclosporine, diuretics and trazondone.
Zinc supplements may improve some tinnitus causes, especially those caused by infection. Zinc naturally boosts your immune system and fights off existing infections causing tinnitus. Consume foods high in zinc content, such as sunflower seeds, tahini, pumpkin, green beans, cooked greens, mushrooms, whole grains, tofu, brewer’s yeast, legumes, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, peanuts, soybeans, lima beans, miso, gouda cheese, Swiss cheese, crab, shrimp, poultry, red meats, oysters and shellfish. Take the supplement in capsule form for its immune-boosting properties. Men can take 60mg of zinc a day and women can consume 45mg of zinc daily in capsule form to fend off infections causing tinnitus. Consume the dosage mentioned for a seven days.
Side effects of zinc may include gastrointestinal upset, headaches, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Zinc may interact with amiloride and hypertensive medications such as captopril, benazepril, enalapril, lisinopril, fosinopril, ramipril, perindopril, perindopril, quinapril, moexipril and trandolapril. Zinc may also interfere with antibiotics, cisplatin, deferoxamine, immunosuppressant medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, penicillamine and thiazide diuretics.