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Ringing in the Ears (Tinnitus)

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Home Treatment

The following tips may help you reduce symptoms of tinnitus.

  • Cut back on or stop drinking alcohol and beverages containing caffeine.
  • Stop smoking and stop using smokeless tobacco products. Nicotine use makes tinnitus worse by reducing blood flow to the structures of the ear.
  • Limit your use of aspirin, products containing aspirin, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise improves blood flow to the structures of the ear. But avoid extended periods of exercise, such as bicycle riding, that keep your neck in a hyperextended position. For more information, see the topic Fitness: Getting and Staying Active.

While waiting to see whether tinnitus goes away, or if your doctor has advised you that your tinnitus will be present for a long time, try these methods to cope with the constant noise:

  • Limit or avoid exposure to the noises you suspect are causing your tinnitus. If you cannot avoid loud noises, wear protective earplugs or earmuffs.
  • Try to ignore the sound by directing your attention to other things.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as biofeedback, meditation, or yoga. Stress and fatigue seem to make tinnitus worse.
  • Quiet rooms can cause tinnitus to seem more distracting. Background noise may reduce the amount of noise you hear. Play music or white noise when you are trying to fall asleep or anytime you find yourself in a quiet place. Try using a fan, a humidifier, or a machine that makes soothing sounds such as ocean waves.
  • Try the herbal supplement ginkgo biloba. Some studies suggest that it may help relieve tinnitus, but other studies do not show a benefit. Further studies are needed to determine the best dosage.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • Symptoms develop that are related to nerve damage, such as loss of coordination or numbness or weakness on one side of the face or one side of the body.
  • Other symptoms develop, such as significant hearing loss, vertigo, loss of balance, nausea or vomiting.
  • Tinnitus localizes to one ear.
  • Hearing loss becomes worse after an ear injury, or tinnitus or hearing loss does not improve.
  • Tinnitus continues for more than a week.
  • Your symptoms become more severe or more frequent.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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