What can I do about Tinnitus?

Before you are tempted by various claims on the internet to try one of the many remedies on offer be warned, a recent study by the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) reports that at best you could be potentially just wasting money on ineffectual treatments or, at worse, possibly exposing yourself to adverse health-related side effects.

Tinnitus is typically described as when a person experiences sounds in the ears or head in the absence of any external stimulus. These noises can vary in loudness and pitch (e.g. low frequency humming, hissing or high frequency ringing). RTE Radio 1 produced a documentary called “White Noise” in 2018 which can be listened to as a podcast or downloaded and contains examples of some of the sounds that a tinnitus sufferer can experience.

According to recent research (April 2020) on Tinnitus management in Ireland conducted by the Irish Journal of Medical Science “approximately 15% of the adult population” are affected by Tinnitus.

The report identifies that there is a significant gap in the clinical care available in Ireland to people suffering from Tinnitus, this concurs with a similar study carried out for the Irish Tinnitus Association in 2004 titled “The quest for quiet: people’s experience of tinnitus in Ireland: a research study for the Irish Tinnitus Association”.

The lack of co-ordinated and consistent support available has led to many people seeking out their own remedies through complimentary therapies. These include dietary supplements (such as Zinc and Vitamin B12), Acupuncture, Hopi candles, Hypnotherapy to name but a few of the available choices when using the Internet to research Tinnitus help.

The British Tinnitus Association has just published (July 2020) an evidenced-based article Introduction to Tinnitus Treatments in which it takes a critical look at some of the available therapies. This study finds there is no proof that dietary supplements can help with tinnitus and in fact warn that “dietary supplements should not be recommended”. Alternative therapies such as Ear Candles (Hopi) is considered “unsafe and to be avoided”. There are various ‘Sound Therapy’ systems that while not considered harmful, have insufficient data to prove effectiveness.

So, before you embark on an internet solution and if you are experiencing tinnitus, talk first to your GP or an Audiologist. Don’t waste your time and money on unproven solutions that may in fact lead to further complications.