8. How to Quiet the Ringing in Your Ears

Imagine hearing ringing or other noises in your ears when no outside source makes the sounds. The noises can range in volume from a ring to a roar. When hearing these sounds persists, suspect tennitus.

This problem affects nearly 36 million Americans, most of them older adults. Seven million people are so seriously bothered by tinnitus that living a normal life is impossible. Tinnitus can interfere with work, sleep, and ordinary communication with others.

Like a toothache, tinnitus isn’t a disease in itself, but a symptom of another problem. Exposure to loud noise which damages the inner ear is the most common cause. Other causes include: Ear disorders, such as labyrinthitis; persistent allergies; high blood pressure; and reactions to medications, such as aspirin and levodopa (used for Parkinson’s disease). Ringing sounds in the ears that occur with dizziness and hearing loss are symptoms of Méinière’s disease. (For proper diagnosis, consult an ear, nose, and throat specialist.)

What can you do to relieve tinnitus?

  1. For mild cases, play the radio or a white noise tape (white noise is a low, constant sound) in the background to help mask the tinnitus.

  2. Ask your doctor about using a tinnitus masker which looks like a hearing aid. Worn on the ear, it makes a subtle noise that masks the tinnitus without interfering with hearing and speech.

  3. Use biofeedback or other relaxation techniques.

  4. Exercise regularly to promote good blood circulation.

  5. Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and aspirin.

Chapter 1
  1. Fast Relief for Everyday Health Problems