Tinnitus sounds like ringing, hissing, or buzzing in one or both ears without external sound. About 10% of adults in the United States have tinnitus, and nearly 25% have had symptoms for 15 years or longer.
If you have tinnitus, you know it causes problems with problems anxiety, focusing, energy levels, and sleeping. As of this writing, there are no medications or FDA-approved devices to reverse or cure tinnitus.
However, there are treatments to help overcome the emotional distress of tinnitus. And hearing aids (and other devices) can hide tinnitus sounds. Other treatments on the horizon may eventually reverse tinnitus, but for now, the best we can do is treat the symptoms.
That’s not to say there isn’t much we can do right now to help you feel better and live better with tinnitus. One natural remedy–mushrooms– is making headlines by helping ear pain and tinnitus.
Follow along with El Dorado Hearing as we explain tinnitus, how you can avoid it and how we keep up with the latest science to help you.
Tinnitus, What is it, and How Do You Get it?
Tinnitus is a distinct ringing in the ear that occurs in one or both ears. This ringing isn’t discernible to others around you; it is solely between your ears. Exposure to loud noises is likely the root cause, but it can be caused by other means. Often the ringing is more prominent at night when there is less ambient noise. This can make getting to sleep a real challenge for some.
The largest group of tinnitus sufferers are older people. Since tinnitus comes and goes without rhyme or reason, it can leave sufferers feeling tormented. It can pop up at the worst times and be horribly distracting. And it’s not just a solid ringing that can occur. You may experience one or more of the following phantom noises.
Causes of tinnitus?
As we alluded to, the primary cause of tinnitus is hearing loss. You can see why people over 50 are most affected since hearing loss is most common at that age. But anyone at any age can experience hearing loss due to hazardous exposure to loud noises.
Physically, hearing loss occurs when the fragile hair cells inside the inner ear are contorted or broken. This opens the door for tinnitus as the damaged hair cells begin to send random electrical impulses to the brain.
A variety of tinnitus causes
- Injuries to the head– Small injuries to the inner ear, head, or neck can cause tinnitus.
- Ear infections can occur in the ear canal when dirt, wax, or fluid build-up is blocked.
- Medication– Medications like NSAIDs, antibiotics, cancer drugs, water pills, and antidepressants can cause or worsen tinnitus.
- Dysfunction of the Eustachian tube– If the valve of the eustachian tube becomes expanded or remains open.
- Changes to the ear bones– The middle ear bones need to be able to flex to work correctly. If they become stiff, tinnitus can occur.
- Meniere’s disease– The first indicator of Meniere’s disease can be the presence of tinnitus
- TMJ– A dysfunction in the sliding hinge between the skull and jawbone can cause tinnitus.
- Thyroid issues, lupus, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders can set off tinnitus.
- Neck Tumors– A tumor doesn’t have to be cancerous to cause tinnitus.
- Blood vessel disorders– High blood pressure or Atherosclerosis can trigger or worsen tinnitus.
What Can You Do if You Have Tinnitus?
If you have tinnitus and your quality of life is affected, getting help to cope with it is essential. Though there is no to reverse or cure tinnitus, there are things you can do to get back to hearing and feeling better!
Tinnitus and hearing loss are intimately tied together. So improving your hearing will decrease your tinnitus symptoms. If you have tinnitus, a hearing evaluation by one of our experienced hearing professionals is vital.
Hearing aids are the best tool we have to help with tinnitus.
Sound therapy and Counseling
Sound therapy uses sound stimulation to reorganize the brain cortex– with or without masking tinnitus–to ignore the sounds. Sound therapy is straightforward, non-invasive, simple, and effective.
We also offer counseling to help you with the mental/emotional side effect of tinnitus.
Mushroom Liquid and Other Natural Remedies
A recent clinical trial in China found that Wuling mushroom extract effectively reduces depression, anxiety, and tinnitus. This mushroom powder has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to regulate glutamate and GABA in the brain and helps with insomnia.
Glutamate and GABA account for 80% of brain function and work to counteract each other.
Tinnitus due to hearing loss is related to an excess of glutamate caused by noise damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. This damage also suppresses the more calming GABA. In the study, Wuling mushroom extract significantly reduced tinnitus symptoms and helped people sleep better.
Other mushrooms like Reishi, Maitake and Shiitake stimulate the immune system and fight inflammation to fight ear pain and infection. Mushroom extracts and mushroom liquids can be found at health food stores or online. Always speak with your doctor before starting any new supplement.
What you can eat to help with tinnitus
- Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 can help lessen your tinnitus symptoms. B12 can be found in chicken, salmon, beef, mackerel, and eggs.
- Bromelain – Bromelain is great for tinnitus symptoms and can be found in pineapple.
- Potassium – Since potassium contributes to regulating the flow of fluids through the body it is also great for tinnitus symptoms. You can get plenty of potassium from foods like apricots, apples, bananas, pears, papayas, sweet potatoes, spinach, mangos, and yogurt.
- Zinc – If your level of zinc is low it can be detrimental and add to tinnitus symptoms. Zinc is responsible for cell growth and healing. You can keep your level of zinc optimal by eating dark chocolate, nuts, yogurt, chicken, beef, spinach, shellfish, and lamb.
- Folate – This B vitamin improves blood flow to the inner ear by increasing circulation and can help improve tinnitus and hearing loss. Beans, spinach, romaine lettuce, broccoli, turnip greens, and asparagus are all good sources of folate.
What to avoid eating if you have tinnitus
- Processed foods
- Fast food
- Non-natural sweeteners
- Vegetable oil
- Saturated fats
- Empty refined carbohydrates
- Trans fats
- Caffeinated products
- Processed sugars
How We Can Help
If you’re suffering from ear pain or tinnitus, it’s best to get treatment as soon as possible. Natural remedies can be helpful, but most people need an evaluation and further for their tinnitus Contact El Dorado Hearing today to let us help you feel and hear better!