Chances are you’ve heard the term tinnitus before. You may even have been diagnosed with this condition yourself. It is believed that tinnitus, casually referred to as buzzing or ringing in the ears, is one of the most common health conditions in the United States. Experts estimate that approximately 45 million people in the U.S. are affected by it.
While it’s often believed to be a stand-alone condition, it is often a symptom of something else, such as:
- Exposure to loud noises
- Fluid in the ear
- Ear infections
- Impacted ear wax
- Age-related hearing loss
- A head trauma
- An underlying medical conditions (high blood pressure, anemia, etc.)
It can also be a frustrating and often life-changing diagnosis, as there is currently no cure. The good news is that there are more options than ever now available to help manage it. Many of which are holistic, even offering health benefits beyond just tinnitus relief.
How to treat tinnitus
If you or someone you care about is living with tinnitus, it is crucial to seek treatment or recommendations on how to most effectively manage it as soon as possible. Untreated tinnitus has been linked to other serious concerns such as reduced social interaction, increased anxiety, and even depression.
While your hearing healthcare provider may recommend options such as medication (effective in some cases), a hearing aid with tinnitus masker feature, Sound Therapy to help cancel out the noise of tinnitus, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or similar treatments, more holistic choices are now becoming more and more popular on their own or in conjunction with more traditional management techniques. These include:
- Mindfulness meditation – often combined with other therapies, this option helps individuals observe and accept their thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Several studies are supporting mindfulness meditation for the relief of tinnitus, including this one and this one. Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to contribute to overall health and well-being.
- Relaxation Therapy – Who couldn’t use some of this? Relaxation therapy teaches individuals how to reduce stress using deep breathing, guided relaxation, and similar strategies.
- Gingko Biloba – While there are many plants and herbs that have been anecdotally linked to tinnitus relief, there is still little evidence supporting them. Ginko Biloba may be one with more definite proof. Preliminary research has shown that in some cases of tinnitus, this medicinal plant may help reduce the effects of tinnitus by improving blood flow throughout the body and inner ear.
- Acupuncture – In Traditional Chinese Medicine, practitioners believe that tinnitus is caused by specific disruptions of energy flow in the body. While more research is needed, some believe that acupuncture aimed at resolving those disruptions can help to lessen the symptoms of tinnitus.
Most experts agree that managing tinnitus requires an individualized approach that takes into account the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of the complicated condition. This may include a combination of treatments, and one option may work better than others for each individual.
While more research is needed when it comes to treatments for tinnitus, there are options available. Don’t wait to start managing your tinnitus.
If you believe you have tinnitus, contact our office to discuss treatment options.