Treatment options for tinnitus

Do you ever hear a prolonged ringing, buzzing, or roaring noise in your ears that you can’t attribute to anything in your nearby environment? If so, you might be experiencing what’s known as tinnitus. And though it’s more common in older adults, this subjective condition can affect anyone.

February 22, 2022

What is tinnitus?

Do you ever hear a prolonged ringing, buzzing, or roaring noise in your ears that you can’t attribute to anything in your nearby environment? If so, you might be experiencing what’s known as tinnitus. And though it’s more common in older adults, this subjective condition can affect anyone.

However, when we talk about tinnitus, you should understand that it’s not a hearing condition but a symptom of something else, which could be any of the following:

  • Age-related hearing loss (usually 55 or older)
  • Damage caused by frequent or prolonged exposure to loud sounds
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Middle ear muscle spasms
  • Impacted wax build-up in your ears
  • Middle or inner ear damage
  • Medications, like aspirin, can cause or exacerbate symptoms (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, some antibiotics, cancer medications, and diuretics)
  • Head or neck injuries
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Ear or auditory nerve tumors

Tinnitus treatment options

When talking about treatment, you must understand that there is, unfortunately, no cure for tinnitus. That can be very frustrating news for those afflicted with it, especially considering it’s usually the first sign of hearing loss. But there are steps you can take to manage it.

If you think you have tinnitus, an excellent place to start is to get a hearing test. In fact, we recommend getting one no matter what, so if you develop hearing issues in the future, your audiologist has a baseline for comparison. They can also assist in removing any excess ear wax that could be contributing to the problem. And if it is determined that your tinnitus is caused by hearing loss, hearing aids can help manage or correct the issue.

It would also be helpful to work with your medical doctor to rule out any health conditions listed above. And you should always consult with your doctor before stopping a medication that could be contributing to your tinnitus symptoms.

Lifestyle considerations

Suppose you’re unable to determine the cause of your tinnitus. In that case, several simple lifestyle adjustments can often provide relief:

  • White noise machines can help drown out any irritating ringing in your ears.
  • Utilize exercise, yoga, and meditation to manage stress and anxiety that could be contributing to symptoms.
  • Give up smoking and drinking.
  • Many patients report that acupuncture is effective in reducing the severity of tinnitus.
  • Coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer from tinnitus, so try adding an extra cup of coffee to your routine.

CBD alternative?

Alternatively, CBD is another treatment option for tinnitus that is gaining popularity. CBD is a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant—not to be confused with hemp seed oil—and it can be purchased as a gummy, oil, capsule, cream, and lotion.

But contrary to many misconceptions, CBD will not make you “high” because it lacks THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. However, it is important to know that all CBD products contain trace amounts of THC (again, not enough to make you “high”), but it could show up on a drug test.

However, research on whether CBD truly helps with tinnitus is still up for debate. A study in 2015 suggests that CBD (combined with THC) could make tinnitus worse. More recent studies from 2020 concluded that there’s not enough scientific evidence that CBD provides any relief. At the same time, other studies suggest CBD has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects, which could help with hearing loss and tinnitus. Ultimately, it is just too soon to conclude the effectiveness of CBD as a treatment for tinnitus. More research is needed, especially human studies, so talk with your doctor before trying CBD.

If you think you suffer from tinnitus and aren’t sure how to find relief, call or stop into our Sioux Falls or Madison locations and ask for Dr. Mandy!

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