Understand 11 causes of ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
It is important to realize that the hearing system is one of the most delicate and sensitive mechanisms in the body. Since it is a part of the general nervous system, it is sensitive, to some degree, to anything that affects the overall health of the individual, both physical and psychological. Therefore, in order to lessen the intensity of tinnitus, it is advisable to make every effort to:
- Avoid exposure to loud sounds and noises
- Control blood pressure
- Decrease salt intake
- Avoid nerve stimulants such as coffee and colas (caffeine) and tobacco (nicotine)
- Reduce anxiety
- Try to stop worrying about the tinnitus. Often, the more you worry and concentrate on the noise, the more noticeable it will become.
- Get adequate rest and avoid fatigue.
- Utilize masking noise. Tinnitus is usually more bothersome when the surroundings are quiet, especially when you are in bed. A competing sound such as a ticking clock, a radio, a fan or white noise machine may help mask tinnitus. Small hearing aid like devices which generate a competitive sound may help reduce the awareness of the tinnitus.
- Biofeedback may help or diminish tinnitus in some patients.
- Avoid aspirin or aspirin products in large quantities
Medically reviewed by Peter O’Connor, MD; American Board of Otolaryngology with subspecialty in Sleep Medicine
Arda, H.N. et al. The role of zinc in the treatment of tinnitus. Otol Neurotol. 2003 Jan;24(1):86-9.
Azevedo, A.A. et al. Tinnitus treatment with acamprosate: double-blind study. Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2005 Sep-Oct;71(5):618-23. Epub 2006 Mar 31.
Megwalu, U.C. et al. The effects of melatonin on tinnitus and sleep. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006 Feb;134 (2):210-3.
Medically reviewed by Richard Clark, MD.