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Tinnitus

Find out all you need to know about Tinnitus and how to combat the symptoms!

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Tinnitus is the name given to those whistling, buzzing or ringing noises in the ears that occur in the absence of external sounds and that are produced by our neurological system.

This page explores the causes and symptoms of tinnitus, and provides an array of natural solutions to alleviate tinnitus symptoms. There's also a Q&A service where you can get answers to all your questions.

What is Tinnitus

Most people experience tinnitus at some point in their lives – for example, when you go into a very quiet room, you become aware of a background noise in your ears. In addition, many people do experience the odd bout when tinnitus increases in intensity, but these usually disappear quickly.

People who suffer tinnitus find that the sounds are present all the time with a tendency to affect their quality of life.

Tinnitus is described in various ways, but most commonly as ringing in the ears. It is usually a continuous sound, but some people describe the sounds coming in pulses.

Many people think that tinnitus is a disease or an illness, but it is in fact a symptom related to an underlying physical (or sometimes, psychological) problem. The symptom has been known for centuries and historical records show that it was first described by the Egyptians.

Pulsatile tinnitus

Unlike the usual description of tinnitus as a ringing in the ears, pulsatile tinnitus can be described as a rhythmic noise.

Causes of Tinnitus

Often, tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss related to aging or excessive exposure to noise.

Other possible causes of tinnitus include:

  • Medication (such as ibuprofen) taken in high doses or over prolonged periods, which can damage cells in the inner ear;
  • Inner ear infection;
  • Diseases affecting blood vessels, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, etc.;
  • Head injuries;
  • Stress, etc.

Practical tips

  • Avoid the accumulation of ear wax;
  • Reduce exposure to loud noise;
  • Adopt relaxation techniques;
  • Avoid stimulants such as nicotine, alcohol and caffeine, which stimulate the auditory nerve in the inner ear;
  • Consider taking Ginkgo: by facilitating the microcirculation of blood in the head, it helps improve problems related to the inner ear.

When to see your doctor

If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms described above which persist and think you have tinnitus, it is important to make an appointment with your doctor to receive a proper diagnosis.

Tinnitus is rarely a symptom of an underlying serious illness and it may be so that your doctor will not be able to identify the cause of your problem. However, it will be important to rule out a treatable cause such as an ear infection.

If your GP cannot find any specific cause for your tinnitus, she may refer you to an ENT specialist. As well as considering all your symptoms, tests may involve blood samples and a hearing and balance check. Tests may also include scans such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) but the exact tests and whether these are necessary will depend on your healthcare professional.

How is tinnitus treated now?

If an underlying cause for tinnitus can be found, this will be the focus of treatment. If not, conventional medicine approaches treatment by distracting the mind from the noise with the use of ‘maskers’, counselling and ensuring the sufferer understands the condition and treatment options in order to help them cope better with the condition. There are however a number of other treatment methods that can be used to help manage tinnitus. These include:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Counselling groups and tinnitus help-lines to help you understand the condition better
  • Herbal remedies, such as Ginkgo biloba
  • Other complementary methods such as acupuncture
  • A change in diet.

What do you think?

Have you found what you read useful? If so, I would love if you would leave your comment below. Thanks Sonia Chartier

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