Buzzing, clanging, whooshing, musical tones, humming, ringing, even jack hammering... tinnitus can drive you absolutely bonkers.
The internal racket can be caused from exposure to sudden or chronic loud noises, free radical damage, age-related hearing loss, medication side effects, ear wax and a number of diseases. That's just for starters. All I can do here is give you some more perspective about options. If your tinnitus doesn't yield to simple remedies, see your doctor for an evaluation.
Look in your medicine cabinet. There's a surprisingly long list of prescription and OTC drugs that have been tied to tinnitus: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), loop diuretics (like furosemide), and many antibiotics, anti-depressant drugs, and salicylates (like aspirin).
Auditory-related side effects might develop all of the sudden, even if you've been taking the drug a long time. Discuss this possibility with your doctor and pharmacist. In cases of reversible tinnitus, sometimes switching medications brings relief.
Stress ramps up the noise! Consider biofeedback. Studies suggest that biofeedback training could help you find your internal "control knob" and turn down the volume.
Deficiencies of specific nutrients can sometimes affect hearing health: zinc, Coenzyme Q10, vitamins D and B12. Also, magnesium, a mineral in spinach and leafy greens, has been shown repeatedly to support auditory mechanisms, improve hearing loss and ease tinnitus.
Chinese medicine doctors use acupuncture and a variety of herbals to deal with tinnitus. A few studies support the herbal gingko biloba, which may help by improving blood flow and scavenging free radical toxins. Other herbs worth looking into include black cohosh root and vinpocetine, which improve blood flow and oxygen to the brain; goldenseal could help, too, and also mullein herb, which addresses inflammation.
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Photo credit: Charles Haynes, Creative Commons license
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