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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Techniques for reducing tinnitus

Jun 28, 2022 10:57AM ● By Fred Cicetti

People who suffer from tinnitus hear phantom noises that include ringing, whistling, hissing, buzzing, roaring and clicking. The noises can be intermittent or continuous, may vary in pitch and volume, and can affect one or both ears. 

Hearing loss can cause tinnitus, which is why it’s most common in people over 65. It can also be caused by medication, head injuries, ear-wax blockage, allergies, abnormal blood pressure, tumors, diabetes and thyroid problems.

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Most tinnitus comes from damage to the microscopic endings of the hearing nerve in the inner ear. It’s a symptom, not a disease, but while there is no cure, here are some tips and tricks for reducing tinnitus: 

• Hearing aids. If you can hear more clearly, you will experience less tinnitus. 

• Maskers. These small electronic devices use sound to make tinnitus less noticeable. Tinnitus is usually more bothersome in quiet surroundings. White-noise machines are helpful for getting to sleep.

• Medicine. Some drugs may ease tinnitus, including medicines prescribed for depression, anxiety and alcoholism.

• Therapy. Join a support group or seek counseling. Sharing your experience with others who have tinnitus may be helpful. To ensure that the information you get in the group is accurate, choose a group facilitated by a physician, audiologist or other qualified health professional.

• Music. Focusing on music helps you ignore tinnitus.

• Suppress noise. If you can’t escape a noisy environment, wear ear plugs.

• Cut the salt. Sodium has been proven to aggravate tinnitus. Reduce your salt intake for better blood circulation, which can help relieve tinnitus.

• Mind your blood pressure. High blood pressure can exacerbate tinnitus. 

• Avoid stimulants. Sidestep coffee, tea, colas and nicotine.

• Exercise improves blood circulation.

• Relax. Fatigue and stress can intensify tinnitus.

• Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, Ginkgo biloba, melatonin and zinc supplements have been used as treatments for tinnitus, although there’s little evidence of their effectiveness.  

If you’re experiencing tinnitus, talk to your doctor. Come prepared with a list of signs and symptoms, any health conditions you have and all medications you take, including herbal remedies.

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