8 Ways to Beat Tinnitus Naturally

8 Ways to Beat Tinnitus Naturally

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8 Ways to Beat Tinnitus Naturally

Tinnitus is a perceived sensation of a ringing, roaring, buzzing, chirping, or humming sound without any actual acoustical stimulation.  It is estimated that over 15 million Americans experience this very disturbing condition on a regular basis.

Research has shown that the many cases of chronic tinnitus are part of a degenerative process characterized by chronic inflammation (1).  Lifestyle based solutions can reverse this inflammatory damage before it is too late.

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Types of Tinnitus:

  • Tonal Tinnitus – This type of Tinnitus generates a continuous sounds like “ringing in the ears”, a single note playing over and over.
  • Pulsatile Tinnitus – The Tinnitus sounds are intermittent, continuous, or pulsating in time with the heartbeat.
  • Whisling Tinnitus:  Tinnitus in which the sound is a ringing, buzzing, roaring, whistling or a hissing noise.
  • Beeping Tinnitus:  Tinnitus, in which the sounds are described as beeping such as a Morse code type of signal, or even musical notes.
  • Multiple Noise Tinnitus:  Tinnitus that is described as hearing several different types of noises at the same time.

Most people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss.  This has led to the theory that one cause of tinnitus may be a compensatory homeostatic response of central dorsal cochlear nucleus auditory neurons that make them hyperactive to any form of auditory stimulus (2).

This means that the ears become more sensitive in order to compensate for the hearing loss.  This sensitivity picks up more faint sounds that create the tinnitus.

From a survival perspective, it would be more important to maintain sensitive hearing in order to be aware of danger quickly and live with tinnitus symptoms than to be insensitive to sounds and unable to respond to danger quickly.

The Most Common Causes of Tinnitus:

Tinnitus can be caused by a number of different conditions including build-up of inner ear wax, ear infections, vestibular disorders, exposure to loud noises, Meniere’s disease, low thyroid function, hypertension, allergies and on very rare cases a tumor.   Over 250 medications list tinnitus as a common side effect of usage including aspirin and anti-biotics (3, 4).

One of the most common causes of tinnitus is due to inflammation and poor circulation within the inner ear. When the body is chronically inflamed certain inflammatory mediating prostaglandins are secreted in high amounts (5).

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to tissue damage.  It can be a very good thing.  If you bang your elbow your body will produce inflammation to clean up debris and initiate the healing process.  However, when our body is in a state of chronic inflammation problems arise.  In fact, all degenerative disease such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, etc. are associated with inflammation at the cellular level (6).

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Must Control Inflammation:

These pro-inflammatory mediators cause an increase in vasoconstriction and platelet aggregation (7, 8).   This decreases blood flow into the smaller capillaries of the body such as the inner ear.  This inflammatory process also increases the lymphatic fluid in the inner ear.  This combination increases pressure in the inner ear which stimulates the auditory nerve enough to create a series of action potentials that the brain interprets as sound.

The presence of inflammatory based tinnitus may be a warning sign that the entire body is inflamed and disease processes are forming rapidly.  Most inflammatory conditions can be reversed through diet and lifestyle modifications and the use of beneficial supplementation.

Upper Cervical Spine and Tinnitus:

A 2000 study showed that tinnitus is very often caused by instability of the craniocervical junction (9).  This could be related to subluxation and joint deformation or a more significant issue such as a prolapsed intervertebral disc or metastases as low as C3.  Issues with the tempero-mandibular joint (TMJ) of the jaw can also play a role in tinnitus.

Chiropractic care specific to the upper cervical spine and TMJ can reduce stress on the region and improve function.  Several studies have shown that chiropractic care addressing the upper cervical spine and TMJ can improve auditory function and have a beneficial effect on tinnitus(10, 11, 12).

An Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Plan:

Begin eating an anti-inflammatory diet that consists of phytonutrient dense fruits & vegetables, healthy fat sources, and grass-fed/free-range animal products.  Keep sugar & grains to a minimum.  Use coconut, olive oil, grass-fed meat, free range eggs, avocados, nuts/seeds, and non-starchy vegetables as primary fuels throughout the day.

Load up on anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, ginger, dandelion, oregano, garlic, & green tea.  The primary fruits that should be used are low-sugar, anti-oxidant rich sources such as berries, lemons/ limes, & grapefruits.

High Quality Essential Fats:

Several supplements have been shown to be highly beneficial for reducing inflammation and enhancing circulation throughout the body and in particular the inner ear.   High quality sources of the omega 3 fatty acids EPA & DHA are critical for this process.

Omega 3’s are particularly key for influencing the balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory prostaglandin formation (13).   By providing the appropriate balance, these fats help to reduce inflammation and vasoconstriction that are part of the pathogenesis of tinnitus.

Additionally, liposomal curcumin and glutathione are powerful at downregulating inflammatory pathways.  Our Pro Omega CRP product is the best thing I have found for reducing inflammation and improving conditions such as tinnitus.   I really like Nordic Naturals brand due to its commitment to purity through molecular distillation and 3rd party testing.

Vitamin B12 and Tinnitus:

Vitamin B12 is a critical player in the formation of the myelin sheaths that surround and insulate nerve fibers.   A vitamin B12 deficiency makes nerves more susceptible to the inflammatory damage that causes tinnitus (14).

Healthy meat sources are a great way to get Vitamin B12.  Use digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar with your meat products to enhance protein and B12 absorption.  You can also use specific supplementation to get your B12 levels up.  If you are low in B12, I recommend a sublingual dissolvable form of methyl-B12 in order to get right into the blood stream, so it can go to work without any disruption from the digestive system.

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Boost up Anti-Oxidants:

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an enormous role in many disease processes because they damage various structural and functional cellular components.  Studies have indicated that individuals who suffer with tinnitus have elevated serum values for reactive oxygen species (15, 16).

A 2007 study demonstrated that oral antioxidant therapy in patients with idiopathic tinnitus seems to reduce the subjective discomfort and tinnitus intensity (17).  Other studies have shown that elevated levels of magnesium, vitamins A, C and E were effective at reducing trauma to the inner ear structures (18).

8 Steps To Beat Tinnitus:

1)  Good Sleep:  It is absolutely critical to sleep well in order to reduce inflammation and heal.  Inadequate sleep will result in elevated stress hormone production and increased inflammation.  Follow these strategies to improve your sleep quality.

2)  Anti-Inflammatory Diet:  Focus on good fats, anti-oxidants and clean proteins.  Good fats such as coconut oil, grass-fed butter, avocados, olives and olive oil and fish oil provide the key fatty acids needed to for optimal neurological function.   Here is a helpful group of shopping lists to help you follow the right diet.

3)  Intermittent Fasting:  Going 16 hours between dinner and breakfast is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation and improve tissue healing.  Consume your meals in an 8 hour window such as 11am – 7pm.  Read this article for more info on fasting.

4)  Optimize Your Vitamin D:  Low vitamin D3 is associated with chronic inflammation (19).  Be sure to increase your vitamin D through good amounts of regular sun exposure and/or taking a high quality vitamin D3/K2 supplement.

5)  Zinc and Magnesium:  Be sure to optimize your zinc and magnesium levels.  Both of these nutrients are key for reducing inflammation and improving the symptoms of tinnitus.  Pumpkin seeds are one of the richest sources of both zinc and magnesium. Additionally, make green drinks or use super green powders and consume healthy organic meat products.

I recommend using zinc glycinate (40mg – 1x daily) and magnesium threonate, which has been shown to cross the blood brain barrier and positively effect the neurological tissue.

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6)  Chiropractic Care:  Chiropractic care works with the upper cervical spine and the connection processes between the brain and the body.  The key areas that correlate with tinnitus include the upper cervical region, TMJ and the forward head posture.   Find a chiropractor that specializes in taking care of the upper cervical spine, TMJ and reducing forward head posture.  I recommend Maximized Living doctors here

7)  B Vitamins:  Be sure to optimize your B Vitamins.  You can get an indepth test to see where your B vitamins are as well as your neurotransmitters and gut microbiome with the organic acid test here.

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8)  Use Lemon & Lime:  Citrus bioflavinoids found in lemon and lime as well as other citrus fruits help to improve capillary permeability.  They do this by protecting the endothelial tissue from oxidative stress.  They not only help to improve blood flow into the inner ear but they also help to protect the internal membranes of the ear from oxidative stress.

Drink lemon water in the morning each day, put a lemon/lime in a fresh made green juice and squeeze lemon/lime on meat and vegetable dishes.

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Sources For This Article Include:

  1. Han BI, Lee HW, Kim TY, Lim JS, Shin KS. Tinnitus: Characteristics, Causes, Mechanisms, and Treatments. Journal of Clinical Neurology (Seoul, Korea). 2009;5(1):11-19.
  2. Schaette R, Kempter R. Development of tinnitus-related neuronal hyperactivity through homeostatic plasticity after hearing loss: a computational model. Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Jun;23(11):3124-38. PMID: 16820003
  3. Han BI, Lee HW, Kim TY, Lim JS, Shin KS. Tinnitus: Characteristics, Causes, Mechanisms, and Treatments. Journal of Clinical Neurology (Seoul, Korea). 2009;5(1):11-19.
  4. Vestibular Disorders Association: Tinnitus: Ringing in the Ears Link Here
  5. Ricciotti E, FitzGerald GA. Prostaglandins and Inflammation. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology. 2011;31(5):986-1000.
  6. Edwards T. Inflammation, pain, and chronic disease: an integrative approach to treatment and prevention. Altern Ther Health Med. 2005 Nov-Dec;11(6):20-7; quiz 28, 75. PMID: 16320856
  7. Smith JB. Prostaglandins and platelet aggregation. Acta Med Scand Suppl. 1981;651:91-9. PMID: 7034481
  8. Rajtar G, Cerletti C, Castagnoli MN, Bertelé V, de Gaetano G. Prostaglandins and human platelet aggregation. Implications for the anti-aggregating activity of thromboxane-synthase inhibitors. Biochem Pharmacol. 1985 Feb 1;34(3):307-10. PMID: 3918536
  9. Montazem A. Secondary tinnitus as a symptom of instability of the upper cervical spine: operative management. Int Tinnitus J. 2000;6(2):130-3. PMID: 14689631
  10. Emary PC. Chiropractic management of a 40-year-old female patient with Ménière disease. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2010;9(1):22-27.
  11. Björne A. Assessment of temporomandibular and cervical spine disorders in tinnitus patients. Prog Brain Res. 2007;166:215-9. PMID: 17956785
  12. Cherian K, Cherian N, Cook C, Kaltenbach JA. Improving tinnitus with mechanical treatment of the cervical spine and jaw. J Am Acad Audiol. 2013 Jul-Aug;24(7):544-55. PMID: 24047942
  13. Bagga D, Wang L, Farias-Eisner R, Glaspy JA, Reddy ST. Differential effects of prostaglandin derived from omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on COX-2 expression and IL-6 secretion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Feb 18;100(4):1751-6. PMID: 12578976
  14. Shemesh Z, Attias J, Ornan M, Shapira N, Shahar A. Vitamin B12 deficiency in patients with chronic-tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss. Am J Otolaryngol. 1993 Mar-Apr;14(2):94-9. PMID: 8484483
  15. Neri S, Signorelli S, Pulvirenti D, Mauceri B, Cilio D, Bordonaro F, Abate G, Interlandi D, Misseri M, Ignaccolo L, Savastano M, Azzolina R, Grillo C, Messina A, Serra A, Tsami A. Oxidative stress, nitric oxide, endothelial dysfunction and tinnitus. Free Radic Res. 2006 Jun;40(6):615-8. PMID: 16753839
  16. Neri S, Mauceri B, Cilio D, Bordonaro F, Messina A, Malaguarnera M, Savastano M, Brescia G, Manci S, Celadini M. Tinnitus and oxidative stress in a selected series of elderly patients. Arch Gerontol Geriatr Suppl. 2002;8:219-23. PMID: 14764394
  17. Savastano M, Brescia G, Marioni G. Antioxidant therapy in idiopathic tinnitus: preliminary outcomes. Arch Med Res. 2007 May;38(4):456-9. PMID: 17416295
  18. Le Prell CG, Hughes LF, Miller JM. Free radical scavengers, vitamins A, C, and E, plus magnesium reduces noise trauma. Free radical biology & medicine. 2007;42(9):1454-1463.
  19. Mangin M, Sinha R, Fincher K. Inflammation and vitamin D: the infection connection. Inflamm Res. 2014 Oct;63(10):803-19. PMID: 25048990

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5 Responses to 8 Ways to Beat Tinnitus Naturally

  1. Dr Prakash May 20, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

    Hello Dr David
    It is awesome info on tinitus which is a very common problem without much solution but by acquiring knowledge with articles like this on can really help himself. Great article.
    Could you please let me know for what maximum period one can use apple cider vinegar and – break – reuse again?
    Dr Prakash Chhajed

    • Dr. Jockers May 23, 2015 at 5:23 am #

      Hey Dr Prakash,

      You can use ACV ongoing unless you develop a food sensitivity. But a few servings each day is quite tolerable and beneficial for most people. Blessings!

  2. Jeff March 9, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

    My tinnitus did not change even after fasting for 32 days on pure water with rest, then eating 100% raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, for 9 months after. I have one of the worst cases ever documented, 17 tones ranging from 147 Hz to 11,640 Hz. Some of the lower frequency tones are reactive meaning their amplitude increases to compete with external noise, sounding similar to Morris Code, making the use of fans and other maskers more annoying. The higher tones seem to be affected by stress and often reach a perceived volume of 112 dB, so that standing next to a jet throttling for takeoff will not drown out the tones. I also developed hypercusis, extreme hearing sensitivity where external sound over 75 dB becomes distorted and somewhat painful.

    • Dr. Jockers March 10, 2017 at 8:45 am #

      Very sorry to hear about this Jeff!!! Have you checked your B12 levels? I have seen that make a big impact.

  3. Tom September 26, 2017 at 7:13 am #

    Hi Dr. Jockers, Could you tell me whether the treatments for inflammation and chronic inflammation be the same or different? Thank you for your time.

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