What happens if that ringing in your ears occurs intermittently, or never stops? 

For some people, that annoying humming comes and goes randomly. For others, it's triggered by certain sounds or stimuli. Yet there are still others, that have buzzing in their ears on a constant, neverending basis. It can be maddening.

What's Causing the Ringing?

Ringing in the ears, or Tinnitus, can be caused by a number of things and, if left untreated, the constant sound can lead to situational depression and anxiety. 

These can be some of the things that can exacerbate ringing in the ears:
  • Age-related hearing loss - sometimes it's just a part of the aging process
  • Build-up of earwax
  • Head injury or trauma
  • Damage to the inner ear from loud, sustained noise
  • Ear infection
  • TMJ has been shown as a direct contributor to tinnitus
  • Ménière's Disease, which can also cause vertigo or dizziness and leads to permanent hearing loss
  • Hearing aids use

Common Triggers for Intermittent Ringing in the Ears

If you experience the constant rumbling, there is often a trigger that precedes it. If you can identify the triggers, one solution may be to avoid the situation as much as possible.

Triggers are different for everyone but can include:
  • Exposure to loud noises, like airplanes or construction
  • Some prescriptions or over-the-counter medications like aspirin (although aspirin in moderation may help as an anti-inflammatory)
  • Lifestyle choices, like:
    • smoking
    • alcohol
    • poor food choices
Sometimes triggers can't be avoided or you are experiencing a high-pitched buzzing or loud sounds and hissing without being around triggers. In those cases, here are some home solutions that you can try prior to seeing an audiologist.

Natural Solutions for Ringing in the Ears

1 - Clean your ears
Earwax build-up can cause painful earaches and lead to infection if it's not properly removed. It can also cause temporary hearing loss and tinnitus.

Your mother may have told you the old adage, "Never put anything larger in your ear canal than your elbow." While it may sound silly, the point is a good one. Never put your finger or a cotton swab (or any sharp object) into your ear canal or you could risk serious injury to the eardrum.

Instead, try a couple of drops of olive oil each day which will allow the wax to soften. Once the wax is softened, squirt clean, lukewarm water into the ear. A rubber bulb syringe works well for this purpose. As you tilt your head, pull on your ear to straighten your ear canal. Once you are finished, tilt your head to the side to let the water drain out. This can sometimes solve tinnitus and also mild hearing loss. 

It may become necessary to see an audiologist or healthcare professional if this method doesn't work.
2 - Sound Therapy
Shift your focus! Listening to the constant sound becomes increasingly loud because you are focusing on it. If you create pleasant sounds around you, the noise inside your head becomes less noticeable.

Try these various solutions until you find one that suits you:
  • Play Music - Any type will work and depends on what you are doing. If you are studying or trying to sleep, try soft, acoustic piano music. If you are driving or cleaning your home, get something jazzier going with the latest hits.
  • Listen to Television or Podcasts - Something educational maybe?
  • Ambient Sounds - You can open the window 
  • White Noise - Try a phone app or other device to play white noise, a low-pitched humming sound like a vacuum cleaner.
3 - Relaxation
It seems that a major trigger for ringing in the ears is from stress, which is ironic since the constant noise exacerbates the increase in stress.

Try one of these ideas for relaxation (and any can be combined with a form of sound therapy):
  • Meditation - not only relaxes you but also lowers your blood pressure and eases muscle tension.
  • Breathing exercises - relaxed breathing slows down everything and promotes calm.
  • Bathing soak - bathtub or hot tub - doesn't matter. Light a candle and lean in.
  • Exercise - take a run or walk, or visit your local gym. Use movement as a stress regulator.
  • Journal - write, write, write.
  • Spend time with loved ones.
  • Laugh.
young woman listens music
senior couple do yoga in the park
4 - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
While this may not directly impact tinnitus, many people find that it helps to reduce stress and encourages relaxation. Part of the behavioral therapy process involves working with a psychotherapist that specializes in CBT. That person guides you to look at behaviors, both helpful and destructive, to carve out a new path and more healthy choices. 
5 - Stop Smoking
If you smoke - stop! There are so many ways that smoking is bad for your health. But in terms of ear ringing or hearing loss, smoking significantly restricts the blood flow to the inner ear nerves and can aggravate tinnitus.

And don't forget that smoking is a stimulant. Conceivably, smoking makes the noise louder and much more irritating. It can only help to stop smoking immediately. 
woman destroy a cigaret
senior woman meditates
6 - Combat Fatigue - Get Enough Rest
Just a good idea for any number of reasons, getting plenty of rest also is a way to reduce fatigue. We know that fatigue is a strong contributor to aggravating tinnitus and getting plenty of rest will allow you to reduce the effects of the constant noise.
7 - Inflammation-Reducing Foods
Try adding some inflammation-reducing foods to your diet to help with tinnitus which may be caused by a chronically inflamed inner ear. Foods like tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, nuts and nut butters, olive oil, and fatty fish, like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are all foods that reduce inflammation and may lessen the symptoms of tinnitus.

Conversely, foods with refined sugar and unhealthy fats, tend to increase inflammation. Removing fast food, fried foods, processed meats, and foods with refined carbs helps your health in a number of ways beyond just your ears.

In Closing

For tinnitus sufferers or people with noise-induced hearing loss, the constant ringing in the ears can become untenable. Try these natural, at-home solutions and you may find the perfect solution or combination of answers for your ears. If your symptoms worsen or persist, you may want to seek a consultation with an audiologist or other healthcare provider. 

Contact us to learn more about hearing loss and hearing-related options or visit us at www.connecthearing.ca