Ringing in the ears is a hearing condition in which a patient hears constant ringing, buzzing, or humming even when no sound is present. For some, tinnitus may only be noticeable at night or in quiet environments, as the ringing isn’t as noticeable when the noise is present. Because of this constant ringing, tinnitus can impede on getting eight hours of a solid uninterrupted sleep due to tossing and turning.
Tinnitus may also make it difficult for a person to pay attention to others or concentrate on one thing, so it definitely has a negative impact on one’s overall quality of life.
Ringing in the ears can occur momentarily – for example, after hearing loud noises. Or, it can be a chronic condition. Below you will find remedies and prevention tips for ringing in the ears.
Tips to stop momentary ringing in the ears
Skull-thumping trick: This trick is easily done by placing the palm of your hands over your ears. Rest your index finger on top of your middle finger, which should be pointing towards the back of your head. Now use a snapping motion of tapping your index finger onto your skull – it should sound like a beating drum. Continue this motion 40 to 50 times or until the ringing has stopped or lessened.
Waiting it out: Generally, ringing of the ears that is caused by loud noises will subside on its own within a few hours, but if it doesn’t stop after 24 hours go in and see your doctor. If you are waiting it out, avoid other loud noises.
Tips to stop chronic ringing in the ears
If ringing in the ears is a chronic problem, you will definitely want to see your doctor about remedies they can offer. Below are some of those therapies and treatments which can help ringing of the ears.
Sound therapy: The goal of sound therapy is to fill silence with neutral sounds to distract the patient from tinnitus. This can be as simple as opening a window or leaving a TV or radio on.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Often used for anxiety or depression, this type of therapy works to retrain your thoughts, which are believed to change the way you behave. In tinnitus, the goal is to retrain your thoughts to reduce stress and anxiety about tinnitus.
Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): This is a specific type of therapy which helps retrain the brain in the way it responds to tinnitus, so you can be better able to tune out the sound.
Music therapy: Music therapy, particularly classical, can be calming and ease a patient’s reaction to tinnitus.
Biofeedback and neurofeedback: These techniques connect the patient to electrodes that send signals to a computer displaying visual or auditory signals that indicate stress, blood pressure, heart rate, and brain waves. The patient is then encouraged to regulate their body based on these signals to reduce their stress and other factors. Over time, this teaches the patient to control their bodily functions.
Exercise, too, can be beneficial in managing tinnitus. Relaxation and meditation techniques help a patient reduce stress, a large contributor to tinnitus. Exercises that increase your heart rate not only keep your heart strong and weight in check, but also boost blood circulation in your body, including circulation in the ears, to help reduce the ringing.
To relieve your tinnitus symptoms, you can exercise alone or seek professional guidance. Whether you choose to work out in the comfort of your home or in a studio setting, regular exercise and mindfulness practice is always a good idea for the benefit of your overall health.
Prevention tips to stop ringing in ears
Avoid loud noises: While loud noises can sometimes be unavoidable, making an effort to reduce the controllable aspects of your life can make a big difference for preventing ringing in the ears. Decreasing the volume of your music player, staying away from noisy traffic by finding alternative routes, and avoiding any construction sites is in your best interest. A hint that your environment may be too loud is if you have to raise your voice to speak to someone about eight feet away from you.
Consume less salt: Tinnitus may be the result of a medical condition called Meniere’s disease. It is characterized by excessive amounts of fluid in the ear causing tinnitus, fullness in the ear, dizziness, and even hearing loss. While no definite treatments are available for this condition, patients are recommended to limit their consumption of table salt to 2,000 to help reduce symptoms.
Consume less caffeine: Coffee, tea, and cola all contain caffeine in them which can exacerbate tinnitus. Caffeine is known to constrict blood vessels and temporally raise blood pressure, while only worsening rigging in the ears. Giving up caffeine may not completely alleviate tinnitus, but could provide some relief.
Get adequate sleep: While ringing in the ears can prevent you from sleeping, you can be doing a couple of things to mitigate this negative consequence. You can mask the noise with a white noise machine, a fan, or even soft music. If nighttime sleeping is being disturbed, simply try to get more daytime naps. According to various experts, napping during the day for less than one-and-a-half hours or less won’t keep you from sleeping at night, and can even help to lower your risk of heart disease.
Listen to the sounds of nature: A common practice to help people relax and can be a great way to reduce ringing in the ears. Previous studies have found that the sounds of water and nature are significantly more effective for relieving tinnitus than other various types of white noise.
Natural remedies to stop ringing in ears
Holy basil: Holy basil can be made into a paste and put into the ear to help clear out any bacterial infections.
Onions: Onions contain antibacterial properties. Put a few drops of the juice of a heated up onion into your ear to clear out bacteria.
Garlic: Garlic can be used to treat tinnitus caused by high altitudes or cold weather as it helps reduce inflammation. Make a paste with sesame oil and garlic and add a few drops into your ear.
Saline solution: Saline solution can help with tinnitus caused by blocked nasal passages. A saline solution can be sprayed with a nasal spray to help clear passages.
Mustard oil: Mustard oil is an antifungal agent, so it can help clear infections and boost the immune system.
Pumpkin: Pumpkin is packed with vitamin A, and a deficiency in vitamin A has been found to contribute to tinnitus.
Pineapple: Pineapple can help lessen inflammation and also contains vitamin A.
Tinnitus is permanent in about 25 percent of patients. In many cases, addressing the underlying cause of tinnitus can help ease the symptoms. Treatment methods may include taking antibiotics, removing obstructions or ear wax, changing medications or dosages, treating certain neurological illnesses, getting a surgery to correct joint problems, going for counseling for stress or depression, and getting dental work done.
If no underlying cause has been identified, then alternative treatments may be required. Common options include wearing a device (similar to a hearing aid) that provides soothing or pleasing sounds, training the brain not to hear the annoying sounds, wearing hearing aids in case of hearing loss, as well as avoiding loud sounds, caffeine, and stressful situations as all these factors can aggravate your tinnitus condition.
If managing tinnitus on your own is a challenge, speak to your doctor about your treatment options.
Related: Natural home remedies for tinnitus