Information on Tinnitis and Possible Treatment Options
Q. I have this ringing in my ears almost all the time. My doctor says it is age-related tinnitus. I tried some of his recommendations to deal with it, but haven’t been successful. Any suggestions?
Most tinnitus – a symptom, not a disease – comes from damage to the microscopic endings of the hearing nerve in the inner ear. People who suffer from tinnitus hear phantom noises that include not just ringing but whistling, hissing, buzzing, roaring and clicking. There is no cure yet for tinnitus.
The noises may vary in pitch and volume, and they can affect one or both ears. Tinnitus can be intermittent or continuous.
Hearing loss can cause tinnitus. For many, the ability to hear diminishes with age. Tinnitus is most common in people over 65.
Tinnitus may also be caused by more than 200 medicines, head injuries, earwax blockage, allergies, abnormal blood pressure, tumors, diabetes and thyroid problems.
Here are some treatments for reducing tinnitus:
• Hearing aids. If you can hear more clearly, you will experience less tinnitus.
• Maskers. These are small electronic devices that use sound to make tinnitus less noticeable. Tinnitus is usually more bothersome in quiet surroundings. White-noise machines are helpful for getting to sleep.
• Medicine. Some drugs may ease tinnitus. These include medicines prescribed for depression, anxiety and alcoholism.
• Therapy. A combination of counseling and maskers can help people to avoid thinking about their tinnitus. There are also techniques for dealing with tinnitus:
• Music. Many people find focusing on music helps them ignore their tinnitus.
• Noise. Avoid noise, which can make your tinnitus worse. If you can’t escape a noisy environment, wear ear plugs.
• Salt. Cut your salt intake, which impedes blood circulation. Good circulation can help relieve tinnitus.
• Blood pressure. High blood pressure can affect tinnitus. Get your pressure checked.
• Stimulants. Stay away from coffee, tea, colas and nicotine.
• Exercise. This improves circulation.
• Fatigue. Get enough rest.
• Stress. Stress can intensify tinnitus. Try relaxation techniques.
There are commercial products that claim success in treating tinnitus. You can find many of them by running an internet search for “tinnitus treatment.”
Fred Cicetti is a freelance writer who specializes in health. He has been writing professionally since 1963. Before he began freelancing, he was a reporter and columnist for three daily newspapers in New Jersey. If you would like to ask a question, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.