Are you often bothered by unwanted sounds like hissing, roaring, buzzing or ringing in your ears?  If no one else seems to be hearing that unwanted sound, you likely have tinnitus.  In fact as many as fifty million Americans are suffering with this condition.

    Some of the latest research and thinking about tinnitus believes that it is likely more of a brain issue than an ear issue.  Although tinnitus may begin with age-related hearing loss, the brain may begin to compensate for the sensory input it expected by activating neurons to create a perception of a sound.  Tinnitus may also happen because of long-term exposure to very loud noises.  This may change brain function as well.  

   So what can you do if you suffer from tinnitus?  First of all, see your medical doctor.  Your doctor will make sure you do not have a physical problem such as excess earwax which can be a common reason for tinnitus.  By reviewing your medications, your doctor may identify a prescription drug or over-the-counter medication such as aspirin or Motrin which can cause tinnitus in some people,  Diuretics, cancer medications and some antibiotics can sometimes trigger tinnitus.  Always consult your doctor before decreasing the dose or stopping the use of a particular prescription.  If medication is behind the tinnitus, your doctor can change your drug prescription to eliminate the symptom.

     According to the American Tinnitus Association, some people have gotten relief from tinnitus by using supplements.  The ATA recommends the B vitamins particularly B-12 and the minerals, magnesium or zinc.  Again, these should be taken on the advice of your doctor.

    Some medical doctors also prescribe drugs to reduce tinnitus symptoms.  These medications are created to treat other symptoms but are prescribed "off label" for tinnitus.  They include Alprazolam (Xanax), an anti-anxiety medication, which seems to give temporary relief in some patients, SSRI antidepressent, and Acamprosate, Campral, which is designed to treat alcohol addiction but has helped some tinnitus sufferers.

    Many people with tinnitus are hoping to get relief without using drugs.  Masking sounds with background noise such as a fan or a white-noise device helps some people.  Sound therapy called tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is provided by audiologists and has a reported success rate of about 80%.  Acupuncture, biofeedback and hypnosis are also used in treating tinnitus.

     Research conducted at the University of Liege in Belgium  found that among 49 tinnitus patients who had hypnosis and were  taught basic self-hypnosis, 35 completed the training and reported relief from tinnitus symptoms after five to ten sessions.  If you are ready to get relief from that ringing in your ears, hypnotherapy can be another tool in your tool box.  Relieve the ringing and BE WELL.