Note: The information on this page is solely based on my own personal experience and does not represent professional medical advice. The facts are correct to the best of my knowledge however and I believe that my advice regards remedies and treatments is reasonable and appropriate. On the other hand, I would like it to be understood merely as a suggestion for a personal strategy against tinnitus.
Content: Personal Tinnitus Profile, Practical Tips (what to avoid, medication) , Tinnitus Therapies, Conclusion, ,Links, Disclaimer, Contact .
See also the New Tinnitus Forum and my new blog Tinnitus Treatments for Relief and Cure .
Food: Since in my case (and I am sure in many others as well) this seems to be a nervous disposition, it is obvious to avoid anything that would normally stimulate the nervous system, in particular coffee, tea and cola (drink decaffeinated types instead); alcohol on the other hand is less critical but can still worsen the condition; salt, spices and other food additives can also worsen the ringing in the ears (in particular the flavour enhancer Monosodium Glutamate (an amino acid) which is well known to enhance nervous transmissions and which is unfortunately added to many food products nowadays (ingredient E621)). I also appeared to have problems with mineral supplements like Calcium tablets. In any case, all the substances mentioned are only temporary in its effect (i.e. as long as their chemical action lasts) and there seems to be little indication that a permanent aggravation of the tinnitus can be caused by taking any of these substances for a limited period. Although an opportunist attitude in this respect may therefore be OK to prevent the tinnitus from getting too bad, it is in my experience advisable to be strict (in particular with avoiding caffeine and alcohol) if you are looking for a long-term improvement of the condition.
Medicines: Some medication can badly worsen tinnitus, at least temporarily. I had to discontinue use of tablets and a nasal spray to unblock the nose (prescribed by my doctor to improve the tinnitus !). As far as I am aware, asthma medication contains similar substances and might therefore cause problems in this respect as well.
Noises: A normal background of variable sound or noises is in my experience not only harmless but improves even the condition because the hearing nerve is obviously prevented from producing its own noise. However, I am still cautious of either very loud or continuous high pitched noises and usually use earplugs in these cases (e.g when hoovering). Of course, if the tinnitus is associated with a hearing defect one may have to take more care in order not to worsen the condition.
General: Avoid stress of any sort and try to get enough sleep in order to relax the nerves (this may be difficult during the first few weeks and one may therefor have to resort to appropriate medication which may help during this period). It is also advisable to avoid dehydration (due to sport or other causes), i.e. drink enough fluid (but no alcohol).
The effect of all these 'environmental' influences is likely to decrease with time (my sensitivity to some of the mentioned sources (e.g. spicy food) has, together with the intensity of the tinnitus, almost vanished), but it is obvious that one should keep up ones measures as strictly as possible in order to aid a further recovery.
I found that several substances reduce the intensity of the ear-ringing both in the short and long term (although this probably needs to be supported by the What to avoid measures above): in the early stages when the tinnitus was very intense and caused me a lot of anxiety, tranquilizers (Temazepam, prescribed by my doctor on my request for a sleeping aid) seemed to be the only way to give me a few hours sleep at night, but I soon discovered by accident that ordinary (caffeine-free) painkillers (Paracetamol (acetaminophen (Tylenol) in the US) or Aspirin in normal dosage) have a tinnitus reducing effect as well and so I used mostly these as they are less likely to have side effects or cause addiction (Aspirin is usually mentioned as a tinnitus- inducing substance, but this holds only for long-term consumption of more than 2g per day (I have not found any indication for this for allowed dosages). Strong herbal sedatives also calm down the tinnitus and help to find some sleep, although here again (like with the tranquilizers) there is the unwelcome side effect that the drowsiness caused by them may extend well into the next day (they also tend to cause me nightmares as well). Unless I felt that I really I had to catch up on my sleep, I usually preferred therefore the painkillers.
After about 8 weeks, the ear-ringing had weakened sufficiently, so that it did not cause me severe problems any more most nights. I still stuck to the What to avoid measures for the following 2 years or so in order not to have any setbacks (if these still occured sometimes, the problem was usually solved within a couple of days by means of small dosages (250mg) of painkillers (since then I have practically not taken any medication at all anymore as the tinnitus has become barely noticeable and is still further improving on its own).
All this indicates in my opinion again that tinnitus is a nervous problem which is improved, both in the short and long term, by substances which calm down or numb the nerves. I consider it even possible that one can prevent the tinnitus from fully developing in the first place by taking some painkillers in the first couple of days of the condition (in some countries like Germany, a blood-thinning infusion is usually performed as an emergency measure (in order to improve blood circulation to the inner ear), but in most cases this proves to be useless or even counter-productive (according to more recent medical theories, tinnitus is not a problem with the inner ear but a nervous problem); in my case it was anyway too late for such measures).
Warning: It is not recommended to use painkillers daily on a long term basis. The occasional intake however should generally be without problems as long as this is merely the exception rather than the rule (if in doubt for your particular case, consult the corresponding information leaflet and/or your doctor for advice). This is anyway only likely to be necessary in the first few weeks or months of the tinnitus, after which one should generally be able to sleep normally without medication.
In later years, a further good method to calm down the tinnitus had been alcohol-free beer: one can or bottle in the evening (an hour or so before going to sleep) improved for me the condition for several days and also had a positive long-term effect (only more recently did I find that this is apparently due to the Vitamin B12 in the beer, as Vitamin B tablets have a very similar effect (normal beer doesn't work as the alcohol prevents absorption of Vitamin B12); since Vitamin B tablets come much cheaper than alcohol free beer and also can be obtained in a wide vaiety of strengths/dosages, this is obviously a much more convenient choice),
Organizations (general information and support):
http://www.ata.org (American Tinnitus Association)
http://www.tinnitus.org.uk (British Tinnitus Association)
http://www.rnid.org.uk (Royal National Institute of the Deaf, UK)
Further Tinnitus Sites
A good cross section of Websites can be found in the Google- Directory.
Mytinnitus.de Forum (this site, english and german language forums)
Tinnitus Treatments for Relief and Cure (not a forum as such but a blog (set up by me) with facts, tips and musings about tinnitus where you can leave comments as well)
Tinnitus Support Message Board (registration required for posting messages)
Curetinnitus.org (discussion forum which, like this site, is dedicated to providing information for curing rather than managing tinnitus; full membership now only against monthly fee).
Some known Tinnitus Therapies (see however above Remarks)
The following links will launch a corresponding Google- Search for the corresponding therapy:
Infusion, Blood-Thinning Medication, Oxygen Pressure Chamber, Retraining Therapy, Biomental Therapy, Laser Therapy, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Massages, Vitamin A Therapy, Homeopathic Treatment, Hypnosis