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Jo Camm
Having read that caffeine and spirits can cause, or increase, tinnitus I have stopped taking my glass of wine and two cups of instant coffee daily.

The result??
Tinnitus increased
What then?
Email Jo Camm

Thomas Smid (Forum-Manager)
If it worsens your tinnitus, it is obviously difficult to recommend that you give up your habits.
I wonder however if your experience was probably only a kind of withdrawal symptom and if in the long term you might not be better off without caffeine and alcohol.
Another factor which comes to my mind is that you probably did not replace your coffee and wine by enough alternative drinks. In my own experience, dehydration through insufficient fluid intake can worsen the tinnitus.

I found that not drinking alcohol or coffee/tea at all, for nearly three months (due to working in middle east) definitely made the tinnitus worse . The condition only improved after returning to the UK and my old habits, i,e. beer and tea/coffee . Ive had tinnitus for nearly 5 years, and i have found that the only thing which improves things in my case, is to try and always keep ones mind occupied as much as possible, except of course at bedtime, when Im at a loss as to what to suggest !
Email Kmasonkenny

Jen Avondale
Just found this forum and had to reply about a few experiences. I noticed that one of your possible causes for the "t" was dental work. I had a root canal done by someone who over injected my lower jaw area with local anaesthetics. It took about a week for me to notice the ear noise. I will leave all the details out but I know that a nerve was damaged as it was my back bottom right molar and the same side as my noise. I think that residue from the injections so close to the ear nerves entered or are irritating the ear hairs. There is a lot more to this but it would be too long.

I find in my case that coffee, one cup in the morning, greatly decreases the noise. Ginkgo and niacin greatly increased the noise to the point that it put me on my knees. So I think as you do that it is a nerve problem in some cases. Using pain med to work on the nerve area greatly helps. As does anti-anxiety med.
Food wise the only problem is salty stuff for me and sugary fruits. Went on an all fruit and vege diet for a while and found out that the fruit made it much worse. High fiber cereal shredded wheat and bread was much better.

Just a thought for you.... Thanks, Jen
Email Jen Avondale

Thomas Smid (Forum-Manager)
Just a clarification:
I did suspect in the beginning that a dental problem might be responsible. I went to the dentist who in fact discovered a hidden hole in one of my molars on an x-ray (on the same side as the main tinnitus). A day after the treatment for this, my tinitus improved considerably, but I believe now that this was only a coincidence and the improvement actually due to some painkillers I took at about the same time (after all, about a year later now, my tinnitus has still not quite vanished although it has become progressively weaker).

I have had tinnitus for about one and a half years. Sure it has gone through a number of phases. The first year I worked through it often telling people that I would like them to turn down the sound. Of late I have noticed a dramatic improvement. I seem suddenly genuinely stronger, The greatest breakthrough was when I took my old T.V. down from my bedroom and put the newer T.V. up into the bedroom. The older T.V. produces a softer more mellow sound. Wow I can now watch the T.V. now. I now have a normal relationship with my partner. Before the meal would go on the table the news on the T.V. would go on and I would leave the room. My advice to fellow sufferers is as follows: Try older sound systems, as I believe the ears are damaged and irritated by the frequencies that they were exposed to immediately after a noise injury. Keep telling yourself that your brain will eventually ignore the stimuli because it is unremittent. If you don't hear the tinnitus for lets say five seconds tell yourself that that is evidence of the above. Set the sound at the same level as the tinnitus: IF the dialogue is hard to hear then you will have to strain to hear what is being said over the tinnitus therefore you will be getting better. You will get better. The harder you try to get better the quicker you will get better. Breaking through problems helps greatly too.

Thomas Smid (Forum-Manager)
Your experience coincides very much with mine. It seems that constant high pitched noises from electrical devices (T.V.-sets frequently emit these) tend to imprint themselves into the brain if you have already some kind of noise injury and therewith cause or aggravate the tinnitus. It appears that one is especially vulnerable during and shortly after sleep (when one is unconscious or half conscious, i.e. has little control over one's senses). It is striking how many people report that their tinnitus started at night. This may therefore not be a coincidence. My advice would be to avoid any constant frequency noises, even if these are not loud (many people have for instance problems with the noise of their computer), and if this is not possible to mask these with some other, variable noises (e.g. music) with at least equal volume.

I am going through the process of an acrimonious divorce. I have noticed in the past few months the onset of tinnitus. The tinnitus is not always present at high volume and very often only noticeable at night time. The greatest trigger for the condition is a discussion about my divorce and especially any involvement with lawyers. I have taken to drinking wine quite heavily, smoking (after 13 years abstinence) and playing loud rock music at home and in the car. I believe that my condition has been caused by depression/anxiety associated with my circumstances and having read a number of articles upon the subject, propose to give up smoking, moderate drinking to 3 glasses of wine per day and only play music quietly. Unfortunately, I cannot give up lawyers! but I can begin to exercise more and improve my overall level of health. I will report back upon my condition in one week's time if it is of interest to message board members.

Massimo Lazzari
Hi from Italy.
I have this particular personal experience, when the noise is louder I feel also an annoyance in the ears similar to the one that you feel when you are going on the mountains but in a continuous way. And another particularity, the noise is louder when I am in the car with all windows closed.
Is this the same for other tinnitus sufferers ?
Bye for now, Massimo
Email Massimo Lazzari

Marc Pierre
Well....... My story is somewhat different from those posted...... I remember as a child waking up in the middle of the night screaming for my mom when these sudden noises (high pitch) noises where sensed on the left side of my brain... Noise is heard inside the head and not from the ears as most people state. I believe truly that my Tinnitus has been with me since birth..... .Nobody in my family has any knowledge of Tinnitus and I myself lived with this all my life. Years ago Doctors had no clue what the ringing was and as noted I was told to "Live with it"..... and never even knew what it was hence during my childhood I believed truly that this was normal..... "What else did I know?"
One day I believe early to mid 80's when the Internet was in it's infancy I started to do some searched on "Ringing in the Ears" and low and behold I found out about tinnitus - I did not know this was even a problem or symptom until I was around 25 years old....... And suddenly I knew that I had been living with this all my life and started to try different things...... Doctors & Doctors & Specialists, Holistic Therapies, Hearing Tests, Ear Candling, Reflexology, Acupressure, Acupuncture, Cranial-Sacral Therapy, Polarity Therapy, Therapeutic Touch, and many many many more......... I am now 45 years old and still live with my "Tinnitus" it has become my constant companion and is accepted as normal as I don't have any other choice...... I am thank full that I have had this since my childhood because I don't know the difference and I could not imagine having this and knowing what silence is...... as I have not had a day of complete silence in my whole life...... This would be a miracle for me to actually sit down and experience silence because I don't know what this is really.... Because to me this ringing and high pitched sound in my left brain is always there.... 24/7..... With no deviation, no stopping, no lesser days, no minimizing, just 100% constant sound... day and night ....... The only time I am close to any calmness in my life is when I am lying down on a beach with the wind and water flowing then and only then can I say that my Tinnitus is lower than normal....... And this is only by coincidence because some of the water and wind sounds are masking the sounds I am experiencing...... Masking seems to be a possible solution but the price and cost of such devices are completely unreasonable and not covered by any insurance hence I cannot afford them.... So I go on knowing that I will hear these high pitched sounds until the day I die...... and I accept this because this is the only way I can move forward with my life....... I have read that many people who suffered with these symptoms have committed suicide and I completely understand what motivated them but I refuse to allow my story to end this way..... I will move forward, I will live with this sound and I will enjoy life to the fullest without any reservations or negative thoughts on how this has affected my life... I refuse to give in to it and I will fight it to the end...... with sincerity, with honesty, with dignity, with acceptance and with a positive outlook for tomorrow...... You have once chance at life.... Take it.... Run with it... Don't let tinnitus take this away from you..... LIVE..... LOVE..... AND ACCEPT.... Then you will be able to focus on what is important in your life...... I have and it works for me...... I hope everyone with these symptoms finds their way or accepting it and moving on with their lives.....
I am available by email to anyone with these symptoms in order that we may help each other to cope and live with this..... God Bless you all and YES - I understand what you are going thru.... YOU'RE NOT ALONE.....
Marc Pierre
Email Marc Pierre

Thomas Smid (Forum-Manager)
Just a brief comment regards your statement that the tinnitus noise is heard inside the head and not the ears:
this is very much different from person to person and can even change in the individual case; my own tinnitus appeared to be in the right part of my head in the early stages (when it was very much stronger), but now that it is only very weak it seems to be in my ears. I am sure this is only a kind of stereophonic effect: if you listen to music over headphones in the mono-mode (so that both channels transmit the same volume and phase), it appears to be exactly in the middle of the head. Like the tinnitus noise in the first place, this is therefore only a subjective impression. Still this does not mean that the ears actually produce the ringing, but this is likely to arise from the associated nervous systems in the brain.

M. M.
I have had tinnitus from playing drums for one year now and I'm finally getting around to do something about it (since my doctor can't do much). I was just wondering, has anyone tried the homeopathic medicines you get on the internet? (Like I was also wondering, has anyone tried squeezing onion juice into your ear? I read this in a book saying it's a very effective way of reducing tinnitus not connected with age.
Please let me know!
Matt (Slovenia)
Email M. M.

Thomas Smid (Forum-Manager)
It is very unlikely that tinnitus has something to do with the outer ear or the eardrum, so putting something into it would not change a thing. Conventional medicine assumes that this is a condition of the inner ear, but in more recent times it has become evident that it is in fact a nervous disposition of the hearing system.
Some people claim that herbal medicines (in particular Gingko Biloba) have improved their tinnitus, but in most cases these are probably useless or even worsen the condition (although I am not sure how many of these were homeopathic preparations). If you want to try it nevertheless, Gingko Biloba tablets (non-homeopathic) are very cheap, but I would certainly not buy some obviously overpriced substances. If you visit the Tinnitus Support Message Board and do a search there for 'T-Gone', you will find a number of comments of people who have used it (in almost all cases without success; (homeopathic medicines in general are anyway somewhat controversial regards their effectiveness).

Emir Mosavi
I got severe tinnitus for almost 10 days after punching,or after going to music places. It continued severely; last week I plugged out the high noise refrigerator in the flat during the night times, and luckily I am getting better, at least I don't have any more severe tinnitus. I have to say during last week I started to use onions, and maybe it contributes to the result. Anyway, I wonder if someone shares this experience about the refrigerator with me.
Email Emir Mosavi

Thomas Smid (Forum-Manager)
Many people suffering from tinnitus have problems with motor noises even if these are not particularly loud, so avoiding them as far as possible may well improve the condition. I frequently used earplugs in the inital phase (when certain noises tended to aggravate my ear-ringing), but now the problem has become substantially less as the tinnitus has weakened very much.

Graham Dear
After reading some of the entries regarding tinnitus, I have to say it can be a completely debilitating complaint. I am ...well was a music producer making a great living until one morning without any warning I woke up with tinnitus, at first I completely panicked I didn't work for couple of months and thought that's it I'm going deaf!
Well three years on and I've only just come to terms with the fact I'm going to have to live with this for the rest of my life. The hardest time has to be at night when it just seems to get louder and louder and when I start thinking about it just gets ten times worse.
Stress has to be the biggest contributor to this condition. I've tried to give up alcohol and smoking. I hardly smoke at all now, from twenty a day to just a few a week; this has helped a small amount.
My job was extremely stressful. Working eighteen hour days with loud music has surely given me tinnitus, but at only 35 years old the biggest impact on my life has had to be that I can't listen to music for more than an hour or two without my ears feeling tired and my tinnitus being irritated, this just stresses me out even more. I've talked to other people in my situation and feel that hearing loss of one description or another is becoming a social condition in the modern world. We are constantly bombarded with noise everyday from one source or another.
I'm still looking for a miracle cure for this bloody annoyance but I'm sure we can all live in hope!
Do onions really work?

Graham Dear (UK)
Email Graham Dear

Thomas Smid (Forum-Manager)
From my own experience I can say that there are no miracle cures needed but only a consequent life-style which avoides the worst enhancers of the condition (i.e. any nerve stimulants like coffee, tea, alcohol and, as you mentioned, stress). As indicated on the main page, the occasional use of pain killers like Paracetamol (acetaminophen (Tylenol) in the US) and Aspirin (and in more recent times alcohol-free beer) has also been a great help for me (both in the long and short term), but this became only a reliable option after my body was 'decontaminated' by sticking to the former measures for 1-2 months. It is important to re-gain control over one's nervous system (which one has lost to a certain extent with the tinnitus) and this is rather unlikely if one carries on with his life as usual. A broken leg would not heal either if you would keep walking on it. In this sense I am sure that tinnitus can generally heal out, although it is likely to take longer than a few weeks because of the circumstance that a sensitory system is affected (inevitably this will lead to feedback effects which tend to self-sustain the condition). For me the process of improvement has lasted now almost two years, and the ear ringing has become so weak that I am confident to be rid of it completely in a few months time.

Margo Kalogera
I am a musician in the USA and I recently purchased a digital recorder to record my original songs. After about a month of recording, I had to completely stop because my ears started ringing. They have still been ringing for 3 weeks. It's a high pitched ring. I also have a severe neck stiffness and have been going to a chiropractor where I am starting to get some relief. What puzzles me is that when I had other musicians over to record, they told me the volume in the headphones was way to low, so I turned it up for them. I have been careful to record at a low volume myself, and yet other musicians who were recording at a much higher volume seemed to have no problem at all!
The ringing is loudest when I wake up, but I'm noticing some diminishing. The ringing is not as constant as it was initially. Your article seems to indicate that you believe allowing yourself time to heal will improve the situation. I'm hoping this is so. I would like to finish my recording project. Perhaps I may be able to do this with some type of sophisticated ear plugs. Do you have any info about this?
thank you, Margo
Email Margo Kalogera

Thomas Smid (Forum-Manager)
You should be able to buy 'musician's earplugs' in stores that sell music instruments or HiFi- equipment. You can also find these offered over the internet. These, unlike ordinary earplugs, absorb all frequencies equally well and do therefore not 'muffle' the sound. I wonder however if there is any point in using these in your case, because you tend to have the volume at a low level anyway. I am pretty sure the problem was caused by your headphones: if you use headphones that close around your ears (or inner earphones like in my case) the pressure equalization in your ear may be inhibited depending on your personal disposition, and this can lead to tinitus, even at a low volume. If possible, use therefore only headphones with a flat pad that do not prevent the ventilation of your ears. Nevertheless, even this may only prevent your condition from getting worse. If you really want to improve the situation again, you may well have to take a break from the music for a year or two.

Do most people find that the variations in volume tend to stabilise, and things which send the volume up tend not to do so so much as time goes on? How long do people find this takes, and does it take about as long as they take to start forgetting the noises are there, or is it a separate issue?

Thomas Smid (Forum-Manager)
You would certainly expect variations to stabilize if the tinnitus as a whole gets genuinely weaker (as in my case). Tinnitus can be assumed to be caused by mal-adjusted neuro-chemical processes in the brain / hearing system which consequently reacts very sensitively to any changes in the body chemistry. Once these processes re-adjust themselves, the sensitivity to certain things or substances should also become less. This is clearly more than just 'forgetting' the noises.

Thank you very much for your reply. Is your assumption true whatever the cause? My specialist told me three weeks ago that statistically the chances of my hearing perception, which he believes has become over-sensitive as a result of a now resolved blockage in the eustacian tube, reverting to its norm - i.e. much reduced tinnitus - is good. Presumably three weeks is a good deal too early for any real improvement on that score?

Thomas Smid (Forum-Manager)
I am not a doctor, but from my own experience with tinnitus, reports of others and some scientific thinking (I am a physicist), I would dare to say that my above statement holds independent of the trigger event (which I think is what you mean with 'cause'). There is to my knowledge no evidence for the assumption that the chances of improvement are better for some trigger- events/conditions than for others, and it would indeed appear pretty implausible to me. This is not to say that your personal constitution might not allow a quicker recovery than for most people. As indicated in my reply to Graham Dear above (and elsewhere on this website), it is still unlikely though that the tinnitus, once it has established itself, will disappear out of its own account. You have to withdraw, as far as possible, the basis for the condition, i.e. everything which keeps the nervous system in the over-excited state. I have, after weeks and months of experimentation, found out for myself what to do in this respect, and because my condition started to improve steadily, decided to share my positive experiences through a website. Nevertheless, everybody should find out for himself what kind of measures are beneficial in this respect. I merely try to encourage people to to find their own way out of this condition rather than to believe in miracle cures.

Emir Mosavi
There are several components in the diet that seriously reduce tinnitus: intake of iron and magnesium and avoiding the consumption of suger perhaps will result in a rapid improvement because according to recent researches nerve cells will die soon due to the lack of the iron. Magnesium causes the easy flow of the blood, and sugar intake causes flushing out of magnesium from the cells, which results in a slow flow of blood and aggravation of tinnitus .
Email Emir Mosavi

Thomas Smid (Forum-Manager)
I personally can not share your experiences (if they are yours): for me minerals (in particular calcium) appeared to aggravate the condition, and I have stopped the usual intake of mineral supplements for this reason. Tinnitus has something to do with an enhanced sensitivity of the hearing nerve, and as minerals tend to improve nerve conductivity, they should worsen the tinnitus. A similar argument can be applied to substances that improve the blood flow (which again should improve nerve conductivity), and many people have reported that blood-thinning substances, which sometimes are prescribed by doctors to improve tinnitus, have in fact gravely worsened their condition.

I've always maintained that life throws many curve balls at you, you never know when and you never know what. If someone said to me 3 years ago " in one year from now you will be happily engaged to a lovely girl and your life will be happier than ever" I would have said "no-way" - well that happened.
So what happened to me on Tuesday 17th December 2002 at 6.30 pm will probably stick with me forever to. Good old fashioned tinnitus. Jesus. For 2 months I've been knotted up inside about this thing and I have been caught in that viscious circle. I've had a bad time recently, I've been depressed about my life for 3 years or more, my Mum and Dad split up leaving me emotionally void until I met my beautiful fiancee, I've just done a strenuous course, I've got flu and what's worse my mum told me she felt like throwing herself under a bus (after a dispute with her current partner). I'm sad and I'm watching TV, then bam, what's that hiss... hang on that's not right.... it won't go away !

I am what you could call a text book sufferer now, hissing in both ears that's always there, lack of concentration, obsession, worry, guilt and at the worse times despair (funnily no problem with sleep really...) I'm going through what alot of people on the forum have.

I wonder, if I could go back in time and tell that young man in his bedroom listening to loud music- TURN IT DOWN - would it have made a difference ? I mean, I've not done anything diffrent to what alot of people have done, been to night clubs occassionaly, noisy bars, I like rock, I've been to maybe 3 or 4 concerts, because I've lived in shared accomodation alot, I have had to wear headphones when I listen to music (typically for 15 mins at a time) so that I don't get shit off my flat mates.

So have I done this to myself ? Because I've had mastoiditis (glue ear) as a kid, did this weaken my ears so that I would ultimately get T ? Well, the audiologist tells me my hearing is perfect between +20db and -10db (top of the graph) my consultant said your ears are perfect. No way! Why do my ears hiss? oh, if I listen to it a night I can actually hear little beeps and squeaks and I'm sure there is a cricket in my left ear.

I'm an Engineer, so I'm inquisitive and I love to understand the mechanics of things. I understand electrics also, so the various theories I have reviewed, I have to ask that, if I damaged the hairs in my cochlea, how can I have such a sudden onset with effectively perfect hearing? those signals would have been building up with each hair I damaged (if you agree that each T signal is one or a group of hairs distorted) . Thus I would have developed T over not quite such a dramatic timescale. I'm sure that everyone on the planet has some kind of wooshing or swirling noise in their ear if they are reaaly honest and really listen hard. There is no such thing as total silence. And if there was, would'nt you crave some sort of noise to tell you you are not alone ? I guess this mind set is what helps me sleep at night. Yeah, I do get the odd night but that's more to do with working out late. And I hate the way that it gets louder too, but you've got to tell yourself that in it getting louder it is not getting worse as a condition, just that your brain has got nothing else to listen to now. Try listening to your breathing, and relaxing your tummy too. Don't TRY to get to sleep, just let it happen. And be assured it will. Also don't set yourself a 15 min, "that's it I'm getting up - time". setting goals for yourself like that will ensure you have many a sleepless night watching the clock. You should'nt be in a panic about your noises when you get into bed, if you are go and do something else for a bit and get the internal noises back into perspective with external noise.

To cope during the day, the best way I've found is to simply concentrate on what's going on around you and stop telling yourself you've got tinnitus because that starts the negative thought process that makes you track it. I've found with my T that if i'm in a bad mood or stressed it develops from a hiss to a continuous piercing note in the middle of my head (oh, did I just damage some more hairs, or is that theory beginning to seem a bit lame ?), so use some reverse logic in steering toward it being quieter in your own head. always acknowledge that it's there, the volume control is all yours except when in a quiet room, but don't worry, because when you hear some noise again you'll realise it's not that loud.

Believe in the theory that this is more complicated than cochlea damage and is in fact a mind-balance, neurone, chemical thing which has many triggers in life, not just rock and roll at 120db for 30 mins or whatever. I bet if you took 2 dead people who had tinnitus, and examined their cochlea under a microscope, one would have damage and one would'nt. So how do doctors know that it is down to cochlea damage. Not hearing tests. There are deaf people out there without tinnitus, those dead hair cells again ? why have'nt they got tinnitus?

Enjoy life and fight it, defeat it and ignore it. That's what I'll try to do.
That next curve ball should be wonderful.

Thomas Smid (Forum-Manager)
I fully agree with your statement regards the cochlea damage: this may (or may not) go together with the tinnitus phenomenon but is unlikely to be the cause of it. From my own experience (and the reports of other tinnitus sufferers), everything points towards an imbalance in the corresponding parts of the nervous system, which should therefore in principle not be an irreversible situation. Unfortunately, often the medical 'advice' is that the condition can not be cured (or at least substantially improved), which in my opinion is not the way to approach the problem.

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