Tinnitus is a Latin word meaning “ringing” and is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound. The symptoms of tinnitus are buzzing, ringing, whistling in the ear, clicking in the ear, chirping or other descriptors. Tinnitus may be hard to detect because the symptoms can come and go and can affect one or both ears. The most common noise heard is a shrill, high pitched unpleasant tone. Surprisingly, most of us at some point in time will experience this unpleasant tone but for the majority, it is only temporary.
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom resulting from a range of possible underlying causes which include:
- Ear infections
- Wax in the ear
- Fluid retention in the middle and inner ear canal
- Meniere’s disease which is a disease of unknown cause that affects the membrane in the ear
- Otosclerosis, a hereditary disorder due to overgrowth of bone in the inner ear.
- Certain medications may cause damage to the ear or trauma to the ear canal
- High blood pressure may trigger the symptoms in some individuals
Tinnitus may disappear completely if an underlying problem has been successfully treated, but in cases of chronic tinnitus, where there is no underlying causal factor, a variety of herbal and home remedies are often recommended which may help to provide relief from the symptoms. For these people, tinnitus causes a considerable amount of distress and can interfere with the ability to carry out daily activities.
Remedies to help alleviate tinnitus
It is always advisable to check with your GP what drugs or remedies are available to combat tinnitus. Certain drugs may help to alleviate the symptoms whilst others actually exacerbate the symptoms of tinnitus.
Masking is a technique that has proven to have some success in the treatment of tinnitus. As the name suggests, masking is used to reduce or mask unwanted noise. It is a non-invasive option involving the use of hearing aid type device which produces a neutral white sound. A neutral white sound is a sound frequency or a signal which one hears as a gentle hiss. Masking devices are not suitable for everyone and you should consult a specialist before embarking on this treatment.
Biofeedback is another treatment that may help some sufferers. The goal of this treatment is to control certain body functions such as pulse and muscle tension. In this way, stress and anxiety may be alleviated which certainly worsen the symptoms of tinnitus. As with masking, biofeedback may not help everyone and what is clear is that there is no cure for tinnitus. What we can do is try and help alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus, which in turn improves the quality of life of the sufferer.
The herbal remedy A Vogel’s Plantago Tincture has been found to be useful for tinnitus. Plantago lanceolata or English plantain is a common weed which is composed of numerous compounds including mucilage, tannins, zinc and silicic acid. Plantago has been found to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, astringent and demulcent properties, which explains its frequent use in helping to alleviate catarrh, sinusitis and many concerns affecting the nose and throat.
Plantago has also been found to help middle and inner ear infections as well as glue ear. It is the combination of its ability to break down mucus together with its tissue repairing and healing properties, due to its content of zinc and silica, which has been found to help those suffering from tinnitus whether temporary or chronic.
A deficiency in vitamin B12 is linked to many concerns associated with the nervous system including tinnitus. As we get older, we are more likely to have a vitamin B-12 deficiency. The main reason for this is our inability to absorb vitamin B12. As we age, our levels of intrinsic factor decline. Intrinsic factor is a specific protein which binds with vitamin B12 allowing it to be carried further down the intestine where it is then absorbed into the bloodstream. This is why many people require vitamin B12 injections.
Since vitamin B12 plays a vital role in the proper function of the nervous system and since tinnitus may trigger the nerves in the ear canal, and is often an age related concern, there is justification in the use of vitamin B12 supplements. The supplement of choice which by-passes the digestive system and is absorbed straight into the bloodstream is Methyl-B12 Lozenges. This supplement contains the active form of vitamin B12, methylcobalamin, and is free from side effects.
As mentioned previously, stress and anxiety worsen the symptoms of tinnitus. If you are a sufferer, you may benefit also from the use of Magnolia Rhodiola Complex. Magnolia Rhodiola Complex contains an extract of magnolia which helps to physically relax muscles and nerves as well as reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Rhodiola helps to increase serotonin, the mood elevating and nerve calming neuro-nutrient within the brain.
Sufferers of tinnitus are increasingly turning to natural remedies to help alleviate the ringing in the ears since there is no cure for tinnitus.