Tinnitus is a condition that causes ringing in the ears, often accompanied by other abnormal sounds and sensations. Most experts believe that tinnitus causes can be attributed to an underlying disorder that affects auditory sensations and nerves near the ears. Tinnitus symptoms often include hearing phantom sounds, along with changes in sound intensity, pitch and volume. (1) Natural tinnitus treatment methods can help patients find pain relief and coping methods to manage symptoms.

Tinnitus Causes and Risk Factors

  • A history of ear disorders or ear infections
  • Cardiovascular disorders that affect blood flow, arteries and nerves
  • Nerve damage
  • TMJ symptoms, jaw, head or neck injuries
  • Overcoming an upper respiratory infection, a cold or an ear infection
  • A history of drug use or excessive alcohol consumption that causes neurological changes
  • Acute anxiety, insomnia or depression
  • Being exposed to high amounts of noise, wearing loud headphones or having a job that exposes you to high-pitched noises
  • Hearing loss that is linked to aging (2)

Tinnitus Symptoms

  • Hearing phantom sounds when no sound is actually coming from any source
  • Hearing sounds including ringing, clicking, sizzling, buzzing, hissing, humming or roaring
  • Change in sound intensity, pitch, onset, volume and type
  • Tinnitus symptoms may only come from one ear at a time or from both ears
  • Hearing musical sounds or voices (rare)
  • Hearing loud sounds that interfere with the ability to hear or concentrate
  • Brain fog, confusion and trouble focusing
  • Anxiety, depression, irritability, fatigue and insomnia caused by symptoms

tinnitus treatment pain

Tinnitus Treatment

1. Try Counseling, Coping Strategies and Education

Patients who are educated about tinnitus and learn about coping strategies may be better able to manage irritating symptoms. Coping strategies can help with the emotional symptoms caused by tinnitus, such as anxiety, insomnia, lack of focus and depression. (3)

2. Use Masking Devices

Masking devices and hearing aids can help dull the intensity of unwanted sounds or increase the volume of soft sounds in order to drown out tinnitus noise. A white noise machine may help patients relax, concentrate or get a better night’s sleep. (4) Other devices for tinnitus treatment include:

  • White noise machines or sleep machines
  • Masking devices worn in the ears, such as earplugs or hearing aids
  • Certain hearing aids that can be custom fit to your ears
  • Free apps on your phone that play soothing sounds, including falling rain or ocean waves
  • Natural sources of light noise, such as fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers and conditioners

tinnitus treatment fan

3. Avoid Very Loud Noises

Being exposed to very loud noises, such as heavy machinery, construction equipment, gun shots or even loud music, can cause hearing loss. To help protect your hearing, keep the volume of your phone, iPod and other devices on the lower end when wearing headphones, and don’t play loud noise for long periods of time. (5)

4. Don’t Use Q-tips

Using a Q-tip to clean your ears can actually cause earwax blockages, along with ear infections and ear damage. Earwax acts as a barrier to protect the ear from harmful substances, by trapping dirt and bacteria. If you have excessive earwax, talk to a health care professional about removing it safely.

tinnitus treatment q-tips

5. Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

Research has shown that some medications, including over-the-counter painkillers, can worsen tinnitus. Smoking and drinking alcohol are also linked to tinnitus. Talk to your doctor if you are taking a medication that may contribute to ear damage. (6) These include:

  • Antibiotics: polymyxin B, erythromycin, vancomycin and neomycin
  • Cancer medications: mechlorethamine and vincristine
  • Diuretics: bumetanide, ethacrynic acid or furosemide
  • Quinine medications
  • Some antidepressants
  • Aspirin when taken in high doses

6. Reduce Stress and Inflammation

High stress levels and inflammation can increase the risk of ear problems. Stress can also worsen symptoms of tinnitus. Participate in stress-relieving activities on a regular basis to help reduce anxiety and lower inflammation levels. Try exercising, yoga, meditation, warm baths and spending time outdoors for stress relief.