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We’ve probably all experienced a sensation of ringing our ears...a brief, steady, high-pitched sound that seems to come from inside our ears and we might even use an old wives’ tale saying to comment that someone is talking about us. While most people experience this phenomenon a few times a year, for others, a much more profound and chronic condition plagues them. It’s a disorder called tinnitus. Despite being one of the more common medical conditions, it often baffles medical specialists. Due to its complexity, there is rarely a straightforward treatment.

Contrary to popular belief, tinnitus isn’t actually a disease, it’s a symptom. Often, the ringing is due to damage to the microscopic endings of the hearing nerve in the inner ear. This damage can come from a number of things including: exposure to loud noise, allergies, high or low blood pressure, a tumor, diabetes, thyroid problems, and head/neck injuries. Certain drugs including anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, sedatives, antidepressants and aspirin can also cause tinnitus.

Tinnitus is sometimes so severe that it interferes with daily activities. When sounds similar to a ringing and even roar, squeal, whine, buzz, click, hiss, or hum affect one or both ears, the disorder can be so disturbing that people can’t hear well, work or even sleep.

While it can be important to visit an ear/nose/throat (ENT) specialist to rule out any sort of tumor inside, damage to the ear, upper respiratory infections, abnormal bone growth, hearing loss or even excessive ear wax, make sure to research alternative therapies and don’t be afraid to speak up about your desire to seek them out.

Ginkgo biloba has shown to offer relief by reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow to the neck, head and brain. CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can also provide some sufferers with relief. As well, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, stress reduction, meditation and hypnosis are all alternative therapies to consider when trying to find relief of tinnitus.

In order to reduce the symptoms tinnitus brings, things to avoid include caffeine/alcohol/nicotine, salt/sodium, loud noise, stress and a poor/unbalanced diet.

This bothersome disorder is one that affects many so don’t give up on your search for relief! Joining a support group, whether in person or online may provide some answers for help along with friendship and alleviation of stress. You are not alone and, just like with other conditions, it’s important to keep moving forward in your quest for health.