If only it was that easy: suffer from the ear-ringing condition of tinnitus, buy a $5 bottle of castor oil from the drug store, soak some on a cloth, cover your ear, and wait for the ringing to magically stop. Does it work? Some home remedy advocates think so, but not the American Tinnitus Association (ATA).
“There are several well-established therapies for patients struggling with severe, chronic tinnitus. The primary objective for all currently available tinnitus treatment options is to lower the perceived burden of tinnitus, allowing the patient to live a more comfortable, unencumbered life,” states the ATA.
“There is currently no scientifically proven cure for most cases of chronic tinnitus – in particular the vast majority of cases caused by sensorineural hearing loss. There are however, excellent tools to help patients manage their condition. Successful management of tinnitus may require overlapping layers of treatment.”
The ATA lists methods that relieve suffering, including hearing aids, sound therapies, behavioral therapies, and medications to address the stress, anxiety and depression that tinnitus often provokes. Audiologists can help sufferers navigate their options. Experimental treatments are also being tested, including “deep brain stimulation” and implanting electrodes into the brain’s surface.
Until a cure is discovered, tinnitus patients have found relief by keeping a tinnitus journal to pinpoint what causes episodes, and eliminating the triggers. Experts offer other suggestions such as stress-relief through massage, yoga, meditation, and exercise. Some find relief using a “white noise” machine to generate pleasing nature sounds, which distract the brain from focusing on unwanted internal sounds during sleep.