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What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be an infuriating, incessant condition. Its symptoms are phantom sounds in the sufferer's ear(s), which range from ringing and whistling to buzzing and clicking. The pitch of the continuous or intermittent sound can vary from a low roar to a high squeal. The sounds often interfere with one's ability to concentrate, especially if the person becomes stressed out or nervous.
What Causes Tinnitus?
The most common cause of tinnitus is inner ear cell damage. The small, delicate hairs in your inner ear move in relation to the pressure of sound waves. This movement triggers ear cells to release an electrical signal through your auditory nerve to your brain, which then interprets these signals as sound. If your inner-ear hairs are damaged, they can trip random electrical signals to your brain, causing tinnitus.
A wide range of things can cause damage to your inner ear, such as ear infection, ear wax impaction, lead poisoning, toxicity, head injury, psychiatric disorders, or metabolic disorders.
Can Acupuncture Help Get Rid of Tinnitus?
While limited research is available to suggest acupuncture can relieve tinnitus symptoms, many naturopathic-leaning individuals claim its benefits. The practice of acupuncture is best known for relieving pressure at different points in the body and can bring significant relief to those suffering from tinnitus. When doing acupuncture for tinnitus, an acupuncturist will insert thin needles into pressure points of the neck, head, and ears. The needles remove obstructions in the meridians around the ears.
You can also do this at home without an acupuncturist or needles—simply use your hands and fingertips to apply gentle pressure. Your body contains dozens of pressure points for that could alleviate tinnitus and ringing ear pain, here a few of the most important:
- Ting Gong is a point located in the hollow directly in front of each ear that can be pressed to help cure tinnitus.
- Your Ting Hui is your auditory convergence and is located directly below your Ting Gong acupressure point. Last but not least, is the pressure point,
- Er Meng, which is located directly above the Ting Gong point.
Next time you're with your acupuncturist, request to massage points Ting Gong, Ting Hui, and Er Meng. At home, massage these positions for twice a day for 30 minutes each time. Use your thumb or knuckle, pressing with comfortable pressure.
Does Ginkgo biloba Offer Relief From Tinnitus?
Extracts from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Ginkgo is best known for its ability to help improve circulation and blood flow to the edges of the body, especially the brain. It is suggested to have a therapeutic effect on symptoms of cerebral deficiency, such as tinnitus, though studies show no significant difference between placebo treatment and Ginkgo for treatment, thus cannot support the effectiveness of Gingko for treating tinnitus (Drew and Davies, 2001).
Ginkgo biloba is one of the most studied herbal medicines, and it one of the top ten selling herbs in health food stores across the U.S. Health food stores. Ginkgo contains two plant metabolites known as flavonoids and terpenoids that help protect nerves and blood vessels. If your tinnitus is due to circulatory problems, it's possible ginkgo will subdue symptoms.
You can find Ginkgo biloba in many different forms, including capsules in tea form.
Try Gingko biloba At Home
Take 240 mg of standardized ginkgo in capsule or liquid form over the course of a day. Once relief from tinnitus is achieved, try lowering the dose to 40-60 mg daily. Be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning the dosage to avoid contraindications.
Can Zinc Alleviate Tinnitus Symptoms?
Nutritionists believe that zinc is one of the most important mineral supplements. Zinc strengthens the immune system by regulating immune responses and acts as a shield for the overall health of your body. Unfortunately, no evidence links the consumption of zinc to the alleviation of tinnitus symptoms. The inner ear contains the highest concentration of zinc in the body, which is why severe deficiencies of zinc are often associated with tinnitus.
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While this connection suggests zinc intake could be the missing link for those suffering from tinnitus, no demonstratable difference has been shown in patients suffering from tinnitus who consume zinc regularly (Paaske et al 1990).
Can Vitamin B12 Can Reduce Tinnitus Symptoms?
Vitamin B12 is essential for our senses and a healthy nervous system; in fact, several studies have shown a high correlation between symptoms of tinnitus and Vitamin B12 deficiency. According to Singh et al (2016), intramuscular vitamin B12 supplements can improve symptoms of tinnitus in B12 deficient individuals. According to Crummer (2004), low B12 levels are potentially linked to tinnitus and other hearing-related issues.
How Can I Increase My Vitamin B12 Levels?
You can increase your B12 intake by consuming more dairy products and fish. A daily dose between 1,000 and 2,000 mcg of a Vitamin B12 supplement is suggested. Weekly, intramuscular injections of 1000 mcg weekly can dramatically reduce tinnitus severity but are typically only available in the doctor’s office.
Eustachian Tube Drainage: A Possible Solution
The Eustachian tubes connect the ears to the back of the nostrils. If this tube becomes clogged, tinnitus may be a resulting symptom, along with changes in your hearing, feeling like your ears are plugged, and pain. In order to relieve congestion in the tube, and get rid of tinnitus, you must drain any fluid away from the ear. If your symptoms of a blocked Eustachian tube last more than two weeks, visit your naturopath or doctor.
Clearing Your Eustachian Tubes at Home
I prefer to clear my Eustachian tubes at home. I recommend checking with your doctor or naturopath before attempting to clear your Eustachian tubes at home.
Open your mouth and find your back molars on one on your mouth, using your index finger. Beyond the molars, you will find a flesh-covered bone that creates the hinge between your two jaws. Right after the jaw-hinge is your tonsillar pillar (a tendon), and just past the tonsillar pillar is the Eustachian tube. It should feel like a small tunnel under the flesh. To clear congestion, gently stroke the Eustachian tube from the ear side of the back of the throat towards the middle. Do this several times once or twice a day for up to a week to help relieve symptoms of tinnitus.
Can Aromatherapy Help Tinnitus?
Many essential oils contain healing properties that address both the body and mind. When the aromatics of essential oils enter the nose, they immediately stimulate the olfactory nerves. Once the olfactory nerves are stimulated, they alert the limbic system, which sets off a series of signals to create a natural healing response. While no published scientific data exists supporting that essential oils can alleviate tinnitus symptoms, essential oils are excellent for stress relief and are known to help with inflammation, which may be tertiary irritants to your tinnitus.
What Kind of Essential Oils Should You Use?
- Cypress helps tinnitus by calming and soothing your nerves while encouraging blood to flow smoothly.
- Juniper berry is a powerful detoxifier and an excellent blood cleanser, that can help clear away toxins that can cause tinnitus.
- Immortelle is another essential oil that boasts many therapeutic benefits and is especially known for regenerating nerves and reducing inflammation in the ear.
How Should These Essential Oils Be Used?
When working with these essentials oils it is often more effective to create a synergistic blend that will work more efficiently than a single essential oil might. To use, simply dispense a few drops into the palms of your hand, cup them together, and inhale deeply. You can also apply the oils to the back and front of your ear lobe while moving in a circular movement. Be sure the oils are diluted appropriately.
Quality Control: Knowing Which Oils Are High Quality
Remember, for maximum effectiveness, use pure essential oils without additives. Be sure the oils you use provide the following information:
- The Latin name (exact genus and species)
- The plant's country of origin
- No additives, or a statement purity
- Statement of how the plant was grown or gathered (wildcrafted, organic, traditional, etc.)
Tinnitus Is a Tricky Condition and Symptom
These are just a few natural ways that have been researched to help reduce the severity of tinnitus. While not many conclusions can be drawn, hopefully this article gives you a platform for ideas to research and ways to alleviate your tinnitus symptoms on your own. While many rumors exist about the efficacy of natural treatments, always talk to your doctor before self-diagnosing and treating tinnitus symptoms.
Crummer RW, Hassan GA. Diagnostic approach to tinnitus. Am Fam Physician. 2004;69(1):120-126.
Singh, C., Kawatra, R., Gupta, J., Awasthi, V., & Dungana, H. (2016). Therapeutic role of Vitamin B12 in patients of chronic tinnitus: A pilot study. Noise & health, 18(81), 93.
Drew, S., & Davies, E. (2001). Effectiveness of Ginkgo biloba in treating tinnitus: double blind, placebo controlled trial. Bmj, 322(7278), 73.
Paaske, P. B., Pedersen, C. B., Kjems, G., & Sam, I. L. (1990). Zinc therapy of tinnitus. A placebo-controlled study. Ugeskrift for laeger , 152 (35), 2473-2475.Chicago
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
How Do You Help Your Tinnitus?
Colwynn (author) on May 13, 2016:
Awesome, I hope they find some relief!
Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on May 02, 2016:
I know many people with Tinnitus and will share with them some of these natural cures.