I was sitting having lunch with some friends the other day when one of them asked if I could think of anything he could do to sort his tinnitus. He had had it for 10 years or more, a continual high pitched sound in his head that drove him to distraction. No sooner had he finished describing the impact it had on his life than other people started joining in too.
One had a dull hissing in her ears at all times, night and day; another described random banging inside his head which his GP had told him was just the sound of his heart beating. Yet another suffered continual low level whistling 24/7, so that he found it hard to get a good night’s sleep. The last one described an intermittent, random beeping. There were 10 of us sitting round the table, and 5 - that’s 50% - were struggling with tinnitus. None of them discussed the problem much: they had more or less given up hope of curing the problem. Their doctors had done everything they could and believed that they just had to learn to live with it.
Now I categorically know that is not the case having briefly suffered from the condition some time back. I had looked into natural cures in my own attempt to get rid of tinnitus and return my brain to the silence it likes to live with - and found my own answer to the problem.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus comes in a variety of shapes and sizes - all of them unwelcome and intrusive sounds that can reverberate inside your head some, or even all, of the time. Some people describe ringing in their ears; others hissing sounds, pulsing beats, an endless clicking or whooshing. Sometimes it’s a particular music or a telephone dial tone. Whatever the sound, tinnitus can impact your health, both physically - particularly if it stops you sleeping - and mentally. I checked the tinnitus statistics before writing this, and worldwide, 1 in 22 people will suffer from tinnitus. 66% of sufferers tend to be men and 80 % of those affected are over the age of 39.
Why do you get tinnitus?
Perhaps you have been on anti-biotics, anti-depressants or or over the counter anti-inflammatory pills like aspirin? They may have triggered the condition. Many prescription medicines list tinnitus as one of their ‘side-effects’. They should perhaps just call them ‘effects’, especially as they are often permanent ‘effects’!
Sometimes tinnitus is linked to ear infections; or to times of unbearable stress. Sometimes it’s a long term consequence of overly loud sound. Were you ever in the army? Have you spent too long in night clubs, pounded by throbbing music at far too high a decibel? It’s also been connected to low thyroid problems or a diagnosis of diabetes. It could also be linked to an allergy. Anecdotally, dealing with the allergic trigger resolves the noise inside your head. Some say clean out your ear wax and tinnitus will vanish overnight. It may be worth visiting your doctor for some drops and a clean out?
My conclusion is that it’s usually more complicated than any single solution, and probably sensible to work through the variety of natural remedies that have been shown to be effective to find out exactly which treatment - and there may be more than just one option - work for you.
At the root of any tinnitus problem there is likely to be some sort of inflammation in your inner ear, which increases the quantity of lymphatic fluid creating additional pressure and blocking normal circulation. If you can identify what has caused that initial inflammation and reverse the problem, often the tinnitus disappears alongside it.
What to do about it
First, work out exactly when you first noticed the condition and think back to what you were doing at the time. Were you particularly stressed? Or recovering from an illness? Had you just been diagnosed with high or low blood pressure?
Finding a solution to your tinnitus may not be an instant fix, so in the meantime it may be helpful to buy yourself a white noise machine of some sort to counteract and cover up the noises in your head and at least get you a better night’s sleep. There are also tiny noise generators for tinnitus that are worn in your ear like a hearing aid which also produce sounds that distract your mind.
Visit a chiropractor: Find one who specialises in adjusting the atlas vertebra. When you have a problem in the area where your head and neck join, it can block the messaging to your brain, triggering tinnitus amongst other issues. Look for an osteospinologist such as our Reboot Hero Dr Gregory Gumberich to correct any misalignment. Watch the video to understand the issues and how simply they can be resolved.
Reset your TMJ (Tempero-mandibular joint): Do you even know you have a TMJ or where it is? It’s your jaw joint. The area sits just below and in front of your ears, the ‘hinges’ that connect your lower jaw to the upper part of your skull. If you have a sharp blow to your head, fall off a chair or even have to force your jaw too wide open for too long a time, in dentists chair, for instance, you can throw your TMJ off balance. That can be a trigger for tinnitus. Dr Shabir Pandor offers TMJ workshops to reset it at his Harley St practice. Learn a lifetime skill that may also relieve your tinnitus.
Book a cranio-sacral session: This is the one that did it for me finally, in just a single, relaxing session. Therapists gently work with the brain fluid inside your skull, manipulating the different bones that encase your brain, and releasing and balancing any pressure that may be affecting your auditory nerve.
Focus on sorting any inflammation in your body: Cut out sugar and cut down on carbs. Supplement with Omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium and zinc, which are all anti-inflammatory and also get your Vit D3 and B12 levels checked, low levels of each are also linked to inflammation. Anecdotally, Gingko Biloba has been hugely successful in reducing tinnitus symptoms, increasing blood circulation in the neck and head area. You need to take it 3 times a day with meals for a minimum of eight weeks (240 mg daily max). Goldenseal is another herbal remedy that is said to relieve symptoms.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can help you to think differently about how you perceive tinnitus and reduce the stress of the experience. It shows you how your thoughts and attitudes about it create and affect your feelings and your behaviour. By changing the first you can retrain the second and create a different outcome for what may have felt an immovable, unchangeable problem.
Acupuncture: Researchers in Sichuan, China have shown that acupuncture works well for treating tinnitus. Therapy using normal acupuncture needles improved symptoms 64.5%. Electro Acupuncture, however, using electric pulses instead of needles to stimulate the points, was 89.6% successful. Sign up for a normal needle session or several! Study the points (which are a combination of SI19, GB2, TB17 and GB20 - once a day for 15 days and then repeated twice more) and then invest in a machine and treat yourself at home.
I have worked with homeopathic doctors for decades, and seen patients recover from long term illness treated ‘only’ by minuscule doses of natural remedies that trigger a healing response in the body, simply and effectively. As ever, the success of the treatment depends on the therapist and their diagnosis. These are the remedies that have been shown to work for the different symptoms and types of tinnitus:
Carbo veg: for tinnitus that develops after an illness
Coffea cruda: for buzzing in back of head, and insomnia
Graphites: for tinnitus and deafness
Kali carb: for roaring noises with itchy ears
Lycopodium: for echoing sound
Nat salicylicum: for tinnitus with a low, dull hum. Helpful in Meniere’s disease
Salicylicum acidum: for loud roaring, may present with vertigo or deafness.
And last but certainly not least: An emotional connection?
What was going on in your life when your tinnitus symptoms first arrived? What are you refusing to listen to? What are you closing your mind to? What are you trying to drown out? Think about it, and see if you can find a connection. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) connects tinnitus to problems with specific organs and the emotions they are linked to. Inflammation in your liver, kidneys or gallbladder may be triggered by anxiety, anger or fear and panic.
Try Emotional Freedom Technique to clear your emotional difficulties and clear up your physical symptoms at the same time.
Become your own tinnitus health detective. Grade your symptoms out of 10 - where 0 is ‘no problem at all’ and 10 is ‘unbearable’. Experiment with each of these remedies, one at a time, and track your progress.
Written by health advocate Sara Davenport, founder of one of the UK's leading breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Haven. With over twenty years' experience in holistic health, Sara's digital dose of wellness teaches you to listen to your body, tweak your lifestyle and improve your health.
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