Can You Hear Me Now?

It’s been found that in the US between 8-25 % and outside of the US between 4-35% of the population suffer from tinnitus. 50% of tinnitus is physiological (caused by physical damage) and 50% psychological. It can cause stress, lack of sleep, inability to carry out daily functions, anxiety and even depression. It’s all about the information going from the ear to the brain via the 8th Cranial Nerve. Tinnitus can be temporary or permanent. Many things can affect our hearing and these are some common causes of tinnitus specifically, but not a conclusive list:

  • The technique used to clean our ears
  • Repeated and consistent exposure to loud noises
  • Ear infections
  • A perforated ear drum
  • Build up of ear wax
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Certain medications
  • Diet

Being a pharmacist, of course, I would not feel comfortable not providing a list of commonly known medications that may cause tinnitus, however, instead of stopping your medication or adjusting your dosage if you are on one of these, please, speak to your health care provider and gain advice as to the proposed course of action:

  • aspirin
  • quinine
  • certain antibiotics
  • chemotherapies
  • diuretics

Watch this short video that explains tinnitus by YouTuber Fauquier ENT entitled, ”What is Tinnitus? Causes & Treatment Strategies”.

Other treatment options that may help to improve or eliminate tinnitus:

  • First and foremost, if you suffer from tinnitus, make a visit with an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) who may also send you for a hearing test
  • After visiting the ENT and having a hearing test, if it’s determined that you have permanent hearing loss, a hearing aid may be recommended
  • Sound Enrichment Therapy may help (like music, white noise videos, nature sounds, etc)
  • Meditation: speak to your doctor or pharmacist to inquire if you take medications if any of them could be causing tinnitus and what is advisable to do if so
  • Bemfotamine: a synthetic version of vitamin B1 that the body converts to thiamine and has been shown to be promising in helping with tinnitus relief.
  • A lot of the B vitamins, such as B1, B3, B6, folic acid (B9) as well as choline and gingko have been shown to be promising in relieving tinnitus in the proper combinations. There are options to choose from that are preformulated.
  • Decrease salt intake (salt leads to inflammation which can contribute to tinnitus)

When should you be concerned and seek out immediate medical attention? This is a list of things to watch for by audiologist, Matthew Allsop, that may be a sign of a more serious matter. If you experience any of these, they require immediate medical inquiry:

  • Pulsatile tinnitus or tinnitus that follows your heartbeat
  • Tinnitus that presents itself in one ear
  • The tinnitus has changed in nature significantly in a short period of time
  • The tinnitus is causing you inability to sleep, contributing to anxiety or depression
  • Of course if you experience total sensory neural hearing loss with or without tinnitus go straight to the emergency room, urgent care or ENT Clinic
  • Also watch this last video by Dr. Mendell regarding natural tinnitus therapy (motivationaldoc)
STOP TINNITUS: How To Quiet Your Brain With Your Hands | Dr. Mandell

Cleaning our ears:

The best method for cleaning is to use about 5 drops of hydrogen peroxide 3% and drop it right into the ear. It should be left in for about 5 minutes each ear and then allow any fluid to flow out onto a paper towel. STOP USING Q-tips!!!!!!! Q-tips are very damaging to the ears and it’s parts. There are new devices that can be ordered that use a spiral entry cleaning technique such as Tvidler, it’s made of silicone and helps to clean the ears gently and effectively. The tips are reusable.

I hope that if you suffer from tinnitus, ear infections or a lot of ear wax build up that something in this post will help you and then you can recommend some of the methods to others.

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