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This Web page is not intended to replace your doctor's point of view. This is solely for information only. I have tried to keep the information as accurate and up to date as much as possible. If you have any medical questions refer those to your Ear Specialist. I am not a doctor. I am the Webmaster of this Web site. My goal is to gather information and make it available to people who suffer from tinnitus.

What is tinnitus?

Webster's dictionary defines tinnitus as a ringing, hissing or other sensation of noise in the ears. It may not be associated with hearing impairment. Tinnitus is not an audiological phenomenon, it is a medical condition that produces auditory sensation of tones and noises. This is why tinnitus can occur in a so-called dead ear. There is no known cure for tinnitus, except for a very few cases of disease symptoms or pathological conditions that can be medically corrected.

What causes tinnitus?

  1. Tinnitus often accompanies the high frequency hearing loss of presbycusis (hearing loss of advancing age).
  2. Noise pollution found in the work place and in recreational activites i.e. concerts, walkmans, guns.
  3. Pathological conditions:
    • abnormalities behind the ear drum such as ear infection
    • tumors (acoustic neuroma)
    • Meniere's Syndrome
    • high blood pressure
    • dental problems ie. TMJ
  4. Drug and food allergies
    • ASA
    • caffeine
    • monosodium glutamate (MSG)
    • nicotine
  5. Head injuries
    • blow to the head
    • whiplash
  6. Diseases
    • Otosclerosis
    • Diabetes
    • Arthritis
    • Meniere's

[The above has been taken from Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (Calgry Region) lealet on the Tinnitus Support Group.]

Is it possible to cure tinnitus?

If we can identify the cause...

If tinnitus is related to a disease of the ear, or to a specific health problem, it is possible to eliminate or alleviate tinnius once the disease has been treated. This is the notion of CURING an illness that we are used to with modern medicine.

When a diagnosis is not followed through, when treatment cannot reverse damage already done, or when the treatment has not yet been discovered, doctors day: "There's nothing we can do..."

If we can not identify the cause...

After a detailed analysis of the problem and after exploring several possible solutions, in certain cases, it is possible to eliminate tinnitus or else to lessen its unpleasant effects.

  • Medication and other medical treatment can provide relief from tinnitus for varying periods of time. Vasodilators, anti-convulsants and barbiturates can alleviate tinnitus for a limited time. However, operations to cut nerve fibers have been found to have little effect and entail numerous side-effects which should be discussed with your doctor.
  • Certain treatments intended to eliminate tinnitus (such as medication, operations, electrical stimulation, etc.) have in some cases increased the intensity and frequency of tinnitus.
  • The effectiveness of so-called alternative medicine (such as chiropractic, osteopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, etc.) has only been studied in a few cases. The results show these methods improve a person's general well-being.
  • Using different techniques (such as soft music, radio or television interference, or special masking devices) TO MASK tinnitus has been successful in some cases. THe masking noise, because it comes from outside and because the individual can control it, is often easier to tolerate than the noise in the ears. In some cases (and due to psychological factors not yet fully understood), masking techniques may even inhibit tinnitus, leading to its partial or total disappearance. However, masking devices are not suitable for everyone, and you should consult a qualified audiologist before using one. When there is hearing loss, tinnitus is sometimes masked when the person is wearing a hearing aid (which amplifies external sounds).
  • Treatments of tinnitus which involve changes in behaviour entail becoming aware of how one reacts to tinnitus, or of how one's lifestyle encourages it. Certain methods of relaxtion allow a person to better control both the stress caused by tinnitus and the stress which causes tinnitus.

[The above has been taken from The Tinnitus Association of Ottawa's pamphlet on tinnitus.]

There used to be a link to Mike Cohen's Tinnitus Website (the story of someone who went to Israel for tinnitus treatment, which he claims to have been effective in his case), but it was withdrawn because his Web site now to plant Trojans in the computers of people, who visit it.

Contact information for persons with tinnitus - WITHDRAWN

This section used to contain contact information for some organizations, which work with and help people who suffer from tinnitus. The information in this section was not updated since December 1993, and must be assumed to be obsolete.

Nowadays every serious organization has its own Web site. Most of the Web sites can now be located by search engines such as Google. Therefore, the original contents of this section were withdrawn.

Last update date: 
2006 Dec 2