Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is described as a noise in the ears that can only be heard by the individual experiencing it. The noise can manifest as ringing, roaring, hissing, etc. The intensity of the sound can be mild to severely disturbing and be constant or may come and go. Tinnitus is an unwanted sound occurring without an external origin. Approximately 10% to 15% of the population experience tinnitus.
- 1 Naturopathic Assessment
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Naturopathic Treatment
- 4 References
In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. Anything that affects hearing, such as an ear infection or excess wax in the ear, can make tinnitus worse. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing to tinnitus. Whether the tinnitus is constant or intermittent will provide a guide to specific causal factors.
- Postural misalignment, especially of the cervical spine, can result in tinnitus or can intensify the impact of other factors.
- Environmental allergies may worsen or trigger tinnitus.
- Prescription Medications
- Many drugs have tinnitus as a result of an adverse reaction. Often the tinnitus will resolve on stopping the medication, but in some cases it may be permanent. Common drugs associated with tinnitus include aspirin (if overused), aminoglycoside antibiotics and quinine.
- Tinnitus increases with age and is more common in men.
Initial assessment will include a complete history and physical examination. The onset of the tinnitus, the frequency and variability are provide a guide to determining root cause. For example, tinnitus that is due to auditory nerve damage is typically constant, whereas if the tinnitus is due to food or medication it is more likely to have more variability.
- Auditory Function Assessment
- Auditory testing including audiography, tympanometry, and speech discrimination testing should be performed to assess baseline auditory function.
- Other Imaging
- At times a computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be required.
Related Symptoms and Conditions
|Article||What Is That Buzzing In My Ear?, 2011 February NDNR|
Dilation of the blood vessels through the arteries of the neck can initiate or aggravate the symptoms. Health problems associated with tinnitus include:
- Pulsatile tinnitus is typically related to the blood flow near the ear. Associated conditions with pulsatile tinnitus include:
- Tinnitus is often secondary to hearing loss and can involve dysfunction in the brain or any portion of the auditory pathway. 
- Pulsatile tinnitus occurs when an individual is able to hear their own heart beat. This occurs more often in individuals with stiffened arteries.
The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Tinnitus is typically a chronic disease and requires ongoing evaluation and individualized treatment.
It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.
Home Care strategies include:
- Tracking any increase in intensity or frequency of tinnitus and the associated lifestyle factors can provide a valuable guide on how to minimize the impact of tinnitus on health.
- Nasal lavage may prove beneficial for some individuals.
- Relaxation therapy may be effective in mitigating tinnitus.
- If tinnitus is aggravated by teeth clenching or grinding, relaxation therapy to decrease these precipitating factors may be beneficial.
- Cognitive and behavioral therapy, sound therapy, music therapy are beneficial.
- Masking therapy has been shown effective in treating tinnitus. This therapy involves using a noise making device to produce white noise to reduce the perception of tinnitus.
Lifestyle recommendations include:
- Address any dietary triggers.
- Ensure you drink adequate water.
- Because of the connection between sleep disturbances and chronic tinnitus it is advisable to address any sleep concerns.
The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.
|Article||Efficacy of Vitamin B3 and its related Coenzymes for the Treatment of Bell's Palsy, Huntington's Disease, Migrain and Chronic Tension-Type Headaches, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson Disease, and Tinnitus J Orthomolecular Med 2012;Vol27(2)|
- Nutritional supplements that may be beneficial include: zinc, copper, magnesium, fish oil,
- Vitamins such as B Vitamins including niacin.
- Botanical remedies such as Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)., 
- Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture recognizes the different presentations associated with tinnitus and the following strategies are commonly employed based on individual presentation:
- Drain liver-fire, ease the ears, calm the mind and settle the ethereal soul, resolve phlegm, drain fire, subdue liver-yang, regulate the ascending of clear Qi and descending of turbid Qi, tonify the spleen
- Auricular acupuncture can be beneficial treatment.
- Naturopathic manipulation may be beneficial for some individuals, especially if the tinnitus is due to injury or postural misalignment.
- Transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS) has been shown to be effective in reducing and eliminating tinnitus in some individuals.
- Massage may be helpful.
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
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