TINNITUS – IS THERE ANYTHING THAT WILL HELP?

May 9th, 2012

 \"TinnitusMost of us think of tinnitus as that annoying ringing that happens in one or both ears, even though we know there is no outside noise causing it.  Tinnitus includes not just ringing, but other noise like roaring or hissing or buzzing.  The cause of tinnitus is not known, some people can live with it and find it tolerable and others may find it intolerable and even debilitating.

It is somewhat surprising to learn that as many as 50 million people in the U.S. alone experience tinnitus and over 10 million of those people are chronic sufferers and are at the point where it presents a major negative impact on their lives.

If there is something physically wrong with your inner ear(s) (infection, damage, earwax) or if you are taking medicines that may cause tinnitus, then it is possible that correction of these issues may resolve your tinnitus.  Tinnitus can also resolve on its own without any treatment in some people.

If tinnitus comes about as a result of age-related hearing loss, then there is no specific treatment that is known to cure this condition.  Though it is important to avoid things like excessive alcohol, smoking, too much aspirin use, stress and high noise levels which are thought to possibly worsen tinnitus.

The main purpose of this article is to familiarize you with those options that have been shown to be of help to some but NOT all sufferers of tinnitus.  You may want to slowly try just 1 or two of these various options at a time to see if you benefit.  Do not try more than two at a time or you might never know which is actually helping and find yourself doing or taking things that are unnecessary or useless.

If you find that any combination of two of the approaches we are about to discuss seems to work for you, first stay on the combination for 2-3 weeks to make sure the benefit continues.  If it does, then try stopping one of the two and see if your improvement continues. If it does, then keep taking only the one ingredient.  If it doesn’t, then wait a few days to see if the “ringing” continues and start taking the other ingredient by itself and allow a couple of weeks to see if you improve again.  If you do, then obviously keep taking it.  If you don’t, then try taking the 2 together again to see if the combination has some therapeutic effect that the individual ingredients or approaches don’t have separately.

Though this can be time consuming and require your focus, it really is the only way to determine what may help long term for your particular case.

I try to get to the “meat” of the problem in writing articles so I’m going to list the various ingredients/techniques that some research has found works for some people, without going into the science and possible mechanisms of action that will take many pages to do.

If you want more of the literature back up, you can either email me or do a Google search for each ingredient/technique and you should find plenty of back up information.

Ingredients/Techniques That May Help You With Your Tinnitus Problem:

1-     240 mg/day of ginkgo biloba extract has been found in some studies, but not others, to be of benefit. When it did work, it took 4-6 weeks of daily use.

2-     Exercise is believed by some clinicians to help increase blood flow to the head and help with tinnitus.  This has not been clinically studied as to its effectiveness.

3-     Reduction of dietary salt may reduce fluid buildup in the ear.  (Also not studied in large trials)

4-     3 mg/day of melatonin given at night for 30 nights tended to help people with bilateral tinnitus more so than sufferers with unilaterally tinnitus.

5-     Various B vitamin deficiencies have been demonstrated in some tinnitus sufferers. Some ear specialists have reported results with patients taking a B complex containing 100 mg each of the major B vitamins.  Try this for 3-4 months, if there is no improvement then stop.

6-     Zinc levels are low in tinnitus sufferers and it was found that 50 mg/day of zinc gluconate for 2-3 weeks helped some tinnitus sufferers.

7-     One study found that tinnitus brought on by loud noises was significantly benefited by 50 mg/day of vinpocetine (a dietary supplement available in health food stores) for at least 30 days.

8-     Co-Q10 a dietary supplement, at 150 mg/day was found to help some tinnitus sufferers after 30 days of use.

9-     Pycnogenol, a plant extract has also been shown in small studies to help tinnitus sufferers. Try 150 mg twice a day.

Tinnitus can be incredibly frustrating to some sufferers. Because there is NO known single cure for this condition, experimentation with what works or doesn’t work for you is necessary.  You may have been suffering for months or even years with this condition, so take the time to methodically combine no more than two of these options at a time and see if you can discover what works for you.

My some-what educated guess (and it’s only a gut feeling) is that I would try combinations of the vinpocetine and Co Q10.  If there’s absolutely no benefit in this combination then try the B vitamin complex along with the Zinc.  Then I would try combining the pycnogenol with some of these. Again remember if you do see benefits, try to figure out which ingredient is responsible for them.

Good Luck!  I hope you find an answer and please, if you do, let me know!

 

Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.