Tinnitus Awareness Week 2015This week (2-8 February) is Tinnitus Awareness Week.

Tinnitus can occur due to several different reasons and is not uncommon. The condition is characterised by ringing, swishing or other noises that seem to originate from the ear or head.

Whilst not normally a serious medical issue, tinnitus can be distressing and affects sufferers in different ways.

 

What causes tinnitus?
A variety of health conditions and side effects from medication can all cause tinnitus. These include hearing loss, circulatory problems, exposure to loud noises, an injury to the ear, Meniere’s Disease, stress, blood vessel disorders, depression and foreign objects in the ear.

Are there other related side effects?
Yes – side effects directly related to tinnitus can include depression, anxiety, sleep problems, fatigue, memory loss, concentration issues and increased stress.

How can I find out if I have tinnitus?
An initial visit to your GP is advisable. Your GP should ask general questions about your symptoms and check for obvious signs such as ear wax, foreign objects in your ears and hair rubbing against the eardrum.  A specialist physician may conduct further tests and examinations if necessary.

What is the treatment?
Naturopathic – I believe diet and lifestyle factors should be addressed initially. My recommendations are:

  • Drink 1.5 to 2 litres of hydrating fluids daily, mostly consisting of water, redbush tea, herb teas, green tea, fruit teas, coconut water or fruit juice diluted with water
  • Reduce or avoid intake of stimulants such as tea, coffee and alcohol
  • Reduce or avoid potential inflammatories such as dairy, gluten and sugar or sugar-rich foods and drinks
  • Increase consumption of alkalising foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes
  • Supplementing your diet with zinc, the B vitamins or magnesium have provided relief for some people
  • Herbal remedies such as gingko biloba, garlic and plantago have been effective in some cases
  • Try apple cider vinegar – mixed with water or honey 1-2 times a day

Conventional if a suspected underlying condition is found this will be treated first. If no underlying condition is responsible you may be offered other methods to suppress the symptoms, such as a white noise machine, hearing aid or sound masking device.


Links
Tinnitus Awareness Week 2015
British Tinnitus Association
Ménière’s Society
Nutrigold Supplements