Tinnitus is when experience ringing or other noises in one or both of the ears. The noise if the person hears when have tinnitus isn’t caused by an external sound, and other people usually can’t hear it. Tinnitus is a common problem. It affects about 15% to 20% of people, and is especially common in older adults. Tinnitus is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, an ear injury or a problem with the circulatory system. For many people, tinnitus improves with treatment of the underlying cause or with other treatments that reduce or mask the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.
Tinnitus is most often described as a ringing in the ears, even though no external sound is present. However, tinnitus can also cause other types of phantom noises in the ears, including:
- Hearing loss: There are tiny, delicate hair cells in your inner ear (cochlea) that move when the ear receives sound waves. This movement triggers electrical signals along the nerve from the ear to the brain (auditory nerve). The brain interprets these signals as sound. If the hairs inside the inner ear are bent or broken. This happens as age increases or when a person is regularly exposed to loud sounds. It a “leak” random electrical impulse to the brain, causing tinnitus.
- Ear infection or ear canal blockage: The ear canals can become blocked with a build-up of fluid (ear infection), earwax, dirt or other foreign materials. A blockage can change the pressure in the ear, causing tinnitus.
- Head or neck injuries: Head or neck trauma can affect the inner ear, hearing nerves or brain function linked to hearing. Such injuries usually cause tinnitus in only one ear.
- Medications: A number of medications may cause or worsen tinnitus. Generally, the higher the dose of these medications, the worse tinnitus becomes. Often the unwanted noise disappears when stop using these drugs. Medications known to cause tinnitus include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and certain antibiotics, cancer drugs, water pills (diuretics), antimalarial drugs and antidepressants.
Other causes of tinnitus
Ear problems, chronic health conditions, and injuries or conditions that affect the nerves in the ear or the hearing center in the brain.
- Meniere’s disease: Tinnitus can be an early indicator of Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder that may be caused by abnormal inner ear fluid pressure.
- Eustachian tube dysfunction: In this condition, the tube in the ear connecting the middle ear to the upper throat remains expanded all the time, which can make the ear feel full.
- Ear bone changes: Stiffening of the bones in your middle ear (otosclerosis) may affect the hearing and cause tinnitus. This condition, caused by abnormal bone growth, tends to run in families.
- Muscle spasms in the inner ear: Muscles in the inner ear can tense up (spasm), which can result in tinnitus, hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in the ear. This sometimes happens for no explainable reason, but can also be caused by neurologic diseases, including multiple sclerosis.
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders: Problems with the TMJ, the joint on each side of the head in front of the ears, where the lower jawbone meets the skull, can cause tinnitus.
- Acoustic neuroma or other head and neck tumors: Acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops on the cranial nerve that runs from the brain to the inner ear and controls balance and hearing. Other head, neck or brain tumors can also cause tinnitus.
- Blood vessel disorders: Conditions that affect the blood vessels such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, or kinked or malformed blood vessels can cause blood to move through the veins and arteries with more force. These blood flow changes can cause tinnitus or make tinnitus more noticeable.
- Other chronic conditions: Conditions including diabetes, thyroid problems, migraines, anemia, and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus have all been associated with tinnitus.
- Loud noise exposure: Loud noises, such as those from heavy equipment, chain saws and firearms, are common sources of noise-related hearing loss. Portable music devices, such as MP3 players, also can cause noise-related hearing loss if played loudly for long periods. People who work in noisy environments such as factory and construction workers, musicians, and soldiers are particularly at risk.
- Age: As the age increases, the number of functioning nerve fibers in the ears declines, possibly causing hearing problems often associated with tinnitus.
- Sex: Men are more likely to experience tinnitus.
- Tobacco and alcohol use: Smokers have a higher risk of developing tinnitus. Drinking alcohol also increases the risk of tinnitus.
- Certain health problems: Obesity, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, and a history of arthritis or head injury all increase the risk of tinnitus.
- Hearing (audiological) exam: During the test, the person sits in a soundproof room wearing earphones that transmit specific sounds into one ear at a time. Indicate when can hear the sound, and the results will be compared with results considered normal for a person’s age. This can help rule out or identify possible causes of tinnitus.
- Movement: The doctor may ask to move the eyes, clench the jaw, or move the neck, arms and legs. If tinnitus changes or worsens, it may help identify an underlying disorder that needs treatment.
- Imaging tests: Depending on the suspected cause of tinnitus, may need imaging tests such as CT or MRI scans.
- Lab tests: The doctor may draw blood to check for anemia, thyroid problems, heart disease or vitamin deficiencies.
Individualization is the key to homeopathy treatment. Every person is treated as a unique individual with their own set of symptoms rather than being classified into a category. This aspect of focusing on the individual symptoms is an important criterion in the case of tinnitus since tinnitus is a condition that develops due to a variety of reasons. To find the correct solution, it is necessary to know the exact cause of the problem. In some cases, tinnitus occurs due to a blockage or obstruction within the inner ear, while in others, it may be a side-effect of a drug. These two cases cannot be treated with one medicine. Individual treatment for every case is therefore necessary, and this is the very basis of homeopathy. Homeopathy works in harmony with the body by restoring the natural healing processes. It can be used safely to treat tinnitus in people of all age groups. The duration of homeopathy treatments for tinnitus varies from person to person, although in most cases, gradual improvement over a given period has been noted.
Kali Mur is used to treat tinnitus where there is an excessive build-up or discharge of mucus in the nose or throat area. A history of long-standing ear discharges (otorrhea) is also indicative of this medicine. Popping and crackling noises in the ear are typical, and the latter sounds get worse upon swallowing. Deafness from ear catarrh is also possible.
Natrum Salicylicum is used to treat tinnitus that develops as a result of Meniere’s disease, where a triad of symptoms including noises in the ear, hearing loss, and vertigo appears. The sounds are low in tone and almost constant. Vertigo gets worse on sitting up or rising from bed and lying down provides relief. This is an excellent medicine for vertigo and tinnitus.
It is used to treat tinnitus where there are sudden spells of vertigo. The person may be able to hear high pitched sounds but be deaf to human sounds. The noises in the ear in these cases are mainly buzzing, ringing or roaring in nature. Tinnitus synchronous with heartbeats is another feature indicating the need for this medicine.
It is used to treat cases of somatic tinnitus, where the symptoms of tinnitus worsen when there is a movement of the head and jaw. The noises in the ear are mainly hissing, buzzing, whistling or roaring in nature. In some cases, cracking sounds in the ears are present. A feeling of ‘stuffed ear’ and dryness in the ears also indicates the need for this medicine.
It is used in cases of tinnitus where intense sounds of varies kinds of ringing, roaring, and buzzing are present. Vertigo and a decline in the hearing ability also indicate the need for this medicine. In some cases, a severe headache may be present. Chininum Sulph is also used as an effective homeopathic remedy for Meniere’s disease.
A humming and roaring in the ears, along with impairment of hearing, suggest the use of this remedy. Sounds may also seem to echo in the ears. People needing Lycopodium often have a tendency toward ear infections with discharge, as well as chronic digestive problems or urinary tract complaints.
When this remedy is indicated, tinnitus may be experienced alone or with vertigo. The person may have hearing problems, or cracking and pulsing sensations in the ears. People who need this remedy are usually chilly, easily fatigued, crave sweets, and feel overwhelmed and anxious when unwell.
This remedy is often helpful to people who feel touchy, weak, and nervous with sensitivity to noise and tinnitus. It is often indicated after fluids have been lost through vomiting, diarrhea, heavy sweating, and surgery or other conditions involving blood loss.
Tinnitus with ringing or roaring, accompanied by cracking noises and itching in the ears, may be relieved with this remedy. Vertigo experienced on turning is another indication. People who need this remedy are often quite conservative, with a rigid code of ethics. They tend to feel anxiety in the region of the stomach.
This remedy is indicated for tinnitus with very loud roaring or ringing sounds, which may be accompanied by deafness or vertigo. The problem may have begun with flu, or occur in a person with Meniere’s disease. Salicylicum acidum may also be helpful if tinnitus has been caused by too much aspirin.