Tinnitus is a perceptual disorder that can affect up to 20 percent of all people. It can worsen progressively and affect every aspect of your life. I successfully cured my tinnitus that I suffered from in 2015. If you are looking for ways to stop tinnitus then please let me show you some of the things you can do to get relief.
What Is Tinnitus?
If you, a friend, or family member suffer from tinnitus then you already know what I’m talking about. This disorder is the “perception” of a ringing or other sound in one or both ears. It may be constant in nature or may be brought about by certain exacerbating factors like a sudden loud noise or sleep deprivation. In certain cases, it may indicate a more serious underlying neurologic disorder (more about this later).
18 Ways To Stop Tinnitus
Here is a list of things that you can try to treat your tinnitus. Some items in this list have proven success rates while others have been uses by people who claim they have been instrumental in stopping or improving their symptoms. Some causes and cases of tinnitus are clearly more difficult to treat than others but it is always worthwhile to try to find a treatment regimen that will work for you.
In the spirit of full disclosure, the official stance from the medical community is that tinnitus can be treated but not be completely cured. Many people (including myself) have claimed to have cured their tinnitus and most have followed on or more of these suggestions. Tinnitus is oftentimes an unavoidable complication of the aging process.
1. Turn down the volume – Chronic exposure to loud sound is a frequent cause of tinnitus. Occupational noise exposure comes from working in a loud environment, like a factory, without ear protection. Exposure to any type of music at high volume levels (not just rock music) is another risk factor for tinnitus as well as hearing loss.
If you are being exposed to loud sounds then always remember to wear appropriate hearing protection, such as earplugs. Do this even if your noise exposure will be for a short period of time. If you work in a noisy environment then be sure to have a yearly hearing evaluation.
2. Exercise regularly – Regular exercise can lower your blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and improve blood circulation to your ears. It’s important to keep to a regular exercise schedule and to include some aerobics to incorporate cardiovascular conditioning. See Fast Weight Loss Exercises – 5 Easy Ways To Lose Fat Quickly! (great, even if you don’t need to lose weight).
3. Lower your cholesterol – High cholesterol can compromise blood circulation to your ears by causing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Avoid foods high in cholesterol such as red meats, eggs, and dairy products. If your cholesterol is persistently elevated then your health care provider may recommend a medication.
4. Get a good night’s sleep – Poor sleep habits and sleep deprivation can worsen tinnitus. Plan to get a minimum of 8 to 9 hours a night of sleep. The quality of your sleep is also important. Melatonin may help you stay asleep and regulate your sleep-wake cycle. It is best to stay on a fixed sleep schedule to keep your biorhythm synchronized. For additional information see Natural Ways To Help With Sleep – Feeling Refreshed Every Morning!
If you are looking for a wearable device that combines sleep with mindful meditation then the number one brain-sensing system that I recommend is the Muse Brain Sensing Headband. It uses EEG-like technology to translate your mental activity into interactive soundscapes. It is designed to be comfortably worn at bedtime and is easily controllable from a smartphone. The Muse S comes with meditation experiences for mind, heart, body, breath, and sleep.
Here is a Youtube video from Electric Runway that reviews the main features of the Muse S.
5. Do not consume caffeine, alcohol, salt, and flavor enhancers like MSG – Caffeine and alcohol can adversely affect nerve conduction pathways between the inner ear and the brain. Salt and MSG can cause fluid retention and increased pressure in the inner ear. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and salt can also help lower your blood pressure.
6. Eliminate fatty foods and processed sugars – Saturated fats and trans-fatty acids can clog the insides of blood vessels and cause atherosclerosis. This can decrease blood flow to the inner ear and cause or worsen tinnitus. Eating a diet high in processed sugars can cause your body to secrete too much insulin (hyperinsulinemia), which can predispose you to tinnitus.
7. Control your blood pressure – Blood pressure that is poorly controlled (hypertension) can cause tinnitus. The best way to control your blood pressure is to eat right, exercise, and lose weight if necessary. You may ultimately need medication to adequately control your blood pressure to treat the tinnitus and prevent other serious complications such as heart attack and stroke.
8. Try to avoid these medications – There are a variety of medications that can cause or worsen tinnitus. Aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen are commonly available over the counter medications. Do not stop your aspirin if it was specifically recommended by your health care provider.
Water pills (diuretics) like furosemide and bumetanide are prescription medications that may be used to control fluid build-up and treat heart problems. Antibiotics like erythromycin and vancomycin are used to fight infection. Some medications used to treat auto-immune diseases and cancer like methotrexate and cisplatin can also cause tinnitus.
Do not stop any prescription medication without first checking with your qualified health care provider. Your provider may be able to make a medication substitution that eliminates the tinnitus or get you off that medication altogether.
9. Try medications that can help – Tinnitus can often be treated with antidepressants such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline, or imipramine and mood stabilizers like paroxetine and sertraline. For helpful information see How To Deal With Depression Alone – A Rejuvenating Self-Help Guide.
Anti-anxiety medications like alprazolam or diazepam can improve tinnitus by lowering anxiety. These medications will usually need to be taken continuously for severe cases of tinnitus to provide the maximum degree of relief.
If you decide to take these types of medications then you can simultaneously work with a tinnitus therapist (see the section on Types Of Tinnitus Therapy) and eventually be weaned off them. If you would like a self-help guide then I recommend you read the New York Times Bestseller “Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts”. This book is a must-read for anyone trying to organize and control their negative thoughts and emotions in the midst of mental chaos.
10. Treat chronic ear and sinus infections – Infections of the ear or sinus that are untreated or incompletely treated can lead to tinnitus. It’s important to finish all antibiotics that you may be given to treat any infection. Incomplete treatment can lead to future infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are hard to completely irradicate. If you are having frequently recurrent infections then consider seeing an ears, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.
11. Get a hearing evaluation – A hearing evaluation can help diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your tinnitus. There are many ear problems and circulatory problems related to the ear that can cause tinnitus. See the section below on Medical Problems That Can Cause Tinnitus for additional information.
12. Get a dental evaluation – If you are a teeth-grinder and are having jaw pain then make an appointment to see a dentist. You may have a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which can cause tinnitus and is easily corrected by using a bite guard. You can buy a “one size fits all” bite guard at your local pharmacy. If you cannot sleep with the generic bite guard then your dentist can make you one that is custom-fitted by taking an impression of your teeth. These bite guards are expensive so try the generic one first.
13. Obtain a tinnitus masking device – A tinnitus masking device emits noise of various bandwidths (noise “colors”) or sound patterns. The constant sound produced by these devices provides a background that can dampen the intensity of the tinnitus or make it disappear completely. Tinnitus typically responds best to white, red, or pink noise masking. It can also respond to sound patterns such as ocean waves, or rain.
These masking noises or sound patterns can be built into a hearing aid or be purchased as a “stand-alone” sound-machine. This type of therapy may give temporary relief during the treatment or many be long-lasting and even curative in some instances.
Here is the number one sound machine that I recommend. It has 30 non-repeating high definition sound environments that eliminate all audio repetition and run for up to 30 minutes with a sleep timer. This machine also uses adaptive sound technology, which listens to your environment and then automatically adjusts its sound level. You can choose 3 sounds from 10 different categories including waterfall, fireplace, ocean, meadow, train, city, rainfall, brook, meditation, and white noise.
14. Consider using dietary supplements – Dietary supplements are thought to improve tinnitus by increasing blood flow and improving nerve conduction. Antioxidants may reduce cellular damage caused by free radicals. See Foods High In Antioxidant – Eating Smart For Better Health. Some of the most frequently used dietary supplements include Ginkgo Biloba, melatonin, lipoflavonoids, B12, magnesium, and zinc.
15. Relax and meditate – Don’t ever underestimate the mind’s ability to improve or cure any disorder, especially a “perceptual problem” like tinnitus. Start by eliminating as much anxiety as possible. See How To Beat Anxiety Naturally & Be Stress-Free! Some of the best things you can try are mindful meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi. For more information see Mind Relaxation Techniques – A Healthy Escape From Reality
16. Enroll in a therapeutic intervention – There are many types of therapy that can assist you in treating and eliminating your tinnitus. Select a therapy that seems like the best fit for your particular clinical situation and budget. You can get more information and guidance by making an appointment for a consultation at a hearing center. Medical insurance may not cover your treatment or may cover just a portion of it. Five of the most common therapeutic interventions are listed in the next section below (Types Of Tinnitus Therapy).
17. Seek ancient healing – Acupuncture has been shown to improve the loudness and severity of chronic and non-pulsatile (continuous sound) tinnitus. During this treatment, an acupuncturist will typically insert needles in one or more points of your ears or face. These points correspond to particular energy lines (meridians) of your body. There are many people who claim that their tinnitus was improved or cured with this method. Check with your qualified health care provider to see if acupuncture is a suitable alternative for you.
18. Get hypnotized – Hypnotherapy can work by teaching you to subconsciously “turn down” or “tune out” your tinnitus. Clearly, more research needs to be done in this area. Some people claimed to have had success with self-hypnosis but advanced hypnotherapy requires professional techniques that are generally more effective. To learn more about what professional treatment opportunities are available contact an audiologist or psychiatrist.
Types Of Tinnitus Therapy (Therapeutic Interventions)
1. Biofeedback therapy – Biofeedback therapy helps you to control your underlying anxiety, which can improve your tinnitus. It typically works by using a device that monitors body functions that are affected by anxiety, like your heart rate, breathing, and galvanic skin response (GSR). You learn to control anxiety by slowing these body functions. With enough practice, you will be able to do it without the aid of the biofeedback machine.
2. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – Cognitive-behavioral therapy is done with a psychotherapist or therapist. During a CBT session, you learn to deal more effectively with your tinnitus by discarding negative thoughts and non-productive responses associated with the frustration and despair of the ailment. This can allow you to better cope with day to day activities by finding their underlying positive attributes.
3. Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) – Tinnitus retraining therapy combines auditory masking technology with cognitive behavioral therapy to provide the best of both worlds. It is typically done in conjunction with an audiologist and a therapist. It teaches you how to relax and make the tinnitus fade away (habituate it) behind the auditory mask so that it is no longer disabling or noticeable.
4. Notch therapy – Notch therapy relies on electronically attenuating sound that falls in the pitch range of your tinnitus. The actual pitch of your tinnitus is defined during a tinnitus-matching session by an audiologist. A digital hearing aid is programmed to attenuate (“notch out”) the amplification of this particular pitch. This makes it easier to tolerate your tinnitus tone since reinforcing sounds of the same frequency from the environment won’t make it more prominent.
Tinnitus-cancelling hearing aids are also available, which take notch therapy a step further by creating tinnitus-matched “anti-noise”. These hearing aids function similar to noise-canceling headphones except that your brain is using the anti-noise to cancel out the “virtual” sound of your tinnitus. These devices are typically more expensive than traditional digital hearing aids but your medical insurance may cover a portion of the cost.
5. Acoustic neuromodulation – Acoustic CR Neuromodulation has been used to send a specially designed acoustic signal to the auditory centers in the temporal lobes of the brain. The signal attenuates “cross-talk” between the individual nerve cells in this region and can eventually improve and then resolve the tinnitus.
Here is a video from The Tinnitus Clinic in the UK that describes how acoustic neuromodulation works.
Medical Problems That Can Cause Tinnitus
1. Ear wax impaction – Ear wax that completely blocks your ear canals (external ear dysfunction) can cause tinnitus by decreasing your overall hearing and by changing your brain’s interpretation of the balance of sound produced by air conduction versus bone conduction. This is especially common in people that use Q-Tips and introduce them deep into the ear canal.
2. Hearing loss – Hearing loss due to either middle or inner ear dysfunction is another common cause of tinnitus. Hearing loss correction by amplification with a hearing aid(s) can often improve or resolve tinnitus symptoms. Digital hearing aids can be programmed to optimally target and improve both types of hearing dysfunction. A masking noise or sound pattern can be activated in the hearing aid by the user for periods of additional tinnitus relief.
3. Meniere’s Disease – Meniere’s Disease is an inner ear disorder that can cause severe tinnitus, decreased hearing, and vertigo with loss of balance. It most often occurs in one ear. It is typically treated with medication, physical (vestibular) therapy, application with a hearing aid, and surgery to prevent the accumulation of fluid in the inner ear in the most severe cases that do not respond to other treatments.
4. Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) – Eustachian tube dysfunction is another cause of tinnitus. It is typically caused by swelling of the inside lining of the Eustachian tube, which that connects your nose to your middle ear. The dysfunctional tube cannot adequately equalize the air pressure inside the middle ear, which causes bulging of the eardrum in either direction. It can usually be treated with a steroid nasal spray and by forcing air through the tube(s) by exhaling forcibly with your mouth shut and nose pinched closed.
5. Acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma) and tumors of the base of the skull – Acoustic neuroma and other tumors can cause tinnitus and hearing loss in only one ear. If the tumor compresses adjacent blood vessels then the tinnitus may be pulsatile instead of constant in nature. These tumors are typically benign (not malignant) and can be diagnosed by an MRI or CT scan of the head and neck. Surgical correction often improves both the hearing loss and tinnitus. Malignant brain tumors are a much rarer cause of tinnitus.
Here is a video by Apollo Spectra Hospitals during which Dr. Lalit Parashar discusses tinnitus and its treatment.
If Nothing Works Then Get Creative
I personally suffered from tinnitus combined with hyperacusis (the perception of normal volume sounds being too loud), which began in 2015. I tried all the traditional treatments, both medical and natural. Nothing really worked to any significant degree except for auditory masking. One day I noticed that if I showered for longer than usual that my tinnitus improved significantly. I wondered if it was purely psychological. Could it be the sound of the water, the warmer air inside the shower, or even a combination of both?
I repeated my experiment several times and found that after about 20 minutes it worked each time and lasted for one to several hours. I digitally record 30 continuous minutes of shower noise and listening to this through headphones, which reproduced the effect without the heat or moisture of the water. I mixed a continuous pink noise sample over the shower sound and listened to the combination of these two sounds for 30 minutes three times a day. This unconventional “therapy” cured my tinnitus after about three months.
If you cannot find a way to improve your tinnitus then get more creative and never give up until you find a therapy that works. Have faith in yourself and the power of your mind. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of others, both friendly and professional. So, what happened to the hyperacusis? Well, I’m still working on that, although it improved significantly after I fixed the tinnitus. I’ll update this section when I figure out how to get rid of it for good.
Tinnitus Resources And Support Groups
Tinnitus is a perceptual disorder that has many possible causes and treatments. If this is your first episode of tinnitus and it does not improve and then resolve on its own then I recommend you get a professional hearing evaluation to exclude a potentially serious underlying problem. You will have the best possible chance for a cure from any treatment by keeping a positive attitude, paying careful attention to good nutrition, and keeping your body in the best shape possible.
Begin with trying some of the things that you think best apply to your particular situation. It’s important to be consistent with your treatment and to stick with it as long as it takes to begin to see results. Don’t become impatient and give up quickly. If your treatment modality begins to provide you with even a modest degree of symptom relief then it is worth pursuing it on a longer-term basis. If you are using a professional treatment option it is important not to miss appointments.
Finally, if you overcome your tinnitus then help someone else that is having difficulty dealing with their symptoms.
Tell Us What You Think
Please let us know what’s on your mind in the comment section, or if I can help you with anything.
- Do you have any additional tips or suggestions on treating tinnitus?
- Are you currently doing or using anything to treat your tinnitus?
- What have you found to be most successful in treating yourself, or helping a family member, or friend?