Tinnitus --- That Ringing in Your Ears
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Last updated December 7, 2016 (originally January 22, 2008)
By Scott Minnter, Contributing Columnist
Constant ringing in the ears in called tinnitus. It is caused
when the tiny hairs in the inner ear are flattened, much like
someone stepping on grass. I have had it for years. It is
caused by sudden bursts of sound.
My tinnitus is also aggravated when I go to sleep with a
constant sound on such as from a TV. When I wake up,
there is always ringing.
To alleviate it, try to avoid sound bursts --- jackhammers
from construction, loud rock concerts, screaming. Protect
your ears by giving them quiet for a while during the day
and especially at night.
I have also found that tinnitus is aggravated when I try to
listen to two types of sound at once, such as when a radio is
playing at the same time as the TV or when someone is
talking at the same time as I am listening to music.
What Foods Help Tinnitus?
Some foods seem to help tinnitus but no one knows why.
Magnesium, zinc, potassium phosphate and vitamin B have
been found to be helpful in the treatment for tinnitus.
Foods rich in magnesium and potassium (bananas are a
great source) should be a part of your diet if you suffer from
tinnitus. A 2011 study by doctors at the Mayo Clinic found
that taking a magnesium supplement daily significantly
Although gingko biloba has been reputed as a treatment for
tinntus, a 2004 study from Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital
found that gingko biloba showed no change at all in tinnitus
levels after treatment with this herb.
Vitamin B-12 Is Promising as a Treatment for
Researchers have found an intriguing link between Vitamin
B-12 levels and tinnitus. A 1993 study from the Institute of
Noise Hazards Research and Evoked Potentials Laboratory in
Israel examined 113 army personnel who had been exposed
to noise and developed ringing in their ears.
Upon examination of their blood work, doctors discovered
that, of those with tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss,
47% also had Vitamin B-12 deficiency. After dietary
supplementation with Vitamin B-12, about 10% of the
patients showed improvement in their hearing.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to pernicious anemia. Here
is a list of foods rich in Vitamin B-12.
Stress Makes Tinnitus Worse
With stress being one of the main influences with tinnitus, it
may help to take stress relief or anti-anxiety medications to
help alleviate and make tinnitus sounds less loud.
To help combat stress, you should also try increasing the
amount of salmon, flax seed and omega-3 oils you eat.
(Read more about foods that reduce stress.)
What Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?
Certain Foods and Medicines Seem to Make Tinnitus Worse.
Certain drinks such as tea, coffee, cola and alcohol have
been found to increase one's tinnitus level.
Other foods such as salt, spices and spicy foods,
monosodium glutamate (MSG) and even cheese have also
been found to increase the tinnitus levels in certain sufferers.
Aspirin taken in large doses may trigger tinnitus. This is
however uncommon as there are more suitable treatments
available for treating certain conditions making the need for
large aspirin doses unnecessary.
Certain medications, consumed above the required dose,
may be the cause of a person experiencing tinnitus. It is
always important to find out from your local GP if the
medications he recommends may cause tinnitus.
Quinine in large and prolonged doses (such as during the
treatment of malaria) may cause tinnitus as it has the ability
to cause damage to the delicate structure within the ear. This
tinnitus is however temporary and usually ceases when the
person stops his/her quinine intake.
Cytotoxic drugs used to treat cancer patient may also cause
damage to the inner ear structure, leading to tinnitus. This
however only occurs when there are high levels of the
cytotoxic drugs present in a person's body.
Certain ototoxic drugs (diuretic drugs) used to increase the
production of urine in certain conditions such as kidney
failure may cause tinnitus.
It has also been mentioned that certain vitamins and
minerals may influence one's tinnitus. One such mineral is
said to be calcium.
Tinnitus is worsened by stress and loud sounds. It also is
worsened by listening to different levels of sounds (your
music in your ears at night from headphones of falling asleep
with the TV on is probably making it worse). Try dampening
sound by using ear plugs at night. Also, turn down the radio
even when you are awake to one or 2 levels lower to give
your ears a break. The other home remedy which seem to
help is to make sure you are not snoring. If you snore
loudly, you may aggravate the tinnitus.
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