Tinnitus, commonly known as ‘ringing in the ears,’ can cause loud noises such as roaring, hissing, buzzing, or tinkling, which can overpower external sounds and conversations. It can be caused by various factors including exposure to loud noises or music, ototoxic drugs, earwax buildup, allergies, ear or sinus infections, congestion, jaw misalignment (TMJ disorder), cardiovascular disease, Meniere’s disease, tumors on the auditory nerve, otosclerosis, underactive thyroid, head or neck trauma, and dehydration.
The ear is a delicate structure consisting of bones and tissues that rely on hydration. Dehydration can lead to dry tissues, causing inflexibility in the joints and damage to tiny hairs in the cochlea of the inner ear. Additionally, exposure to loud noises such as lawn mowers or concerts, as well as listening to music on high volume through devices like MP3 players, can also cause damage. This damage can become permanent if not enough healthy water is consumed over time or if an individual is consistently exposed to noisy environments. It is important to consume plenty of pure water, rather than coffee, fruit juice, carbonated beverages, or bottled water, to maintain good inner ear function and reduce the risk of tinnitus.
If tinnitus occurs after exposure to loud noises, it is advised to increase water intake and avoid further loud noises for a few days to prevent the ringing from becoming permanent. If the ear noises persist, avoiding alcohol, recreational drugs, caffeine, aspirin, and nicotine is recommended, as they can worsen the condition. A doctor can assist in finding suitable alternatives or adjusting dosages to improve comfort. People engaged in physical activities such as running or sports should ensure adequate hydration to avoid overheating, which can exacerbate tinnitus along with dehydration.
Recent studies utilizing MRI imaging have revealed hyperactivity in the auditory cortex and certain parts of the limbic brain in individuals with tinnitus. These sections typically do not exhibit such activity in people without ear noises. The limbic brain is responsible for stress responses and emotions, and researchers suggest that tinnitus sufferers may experience hyperactivity in the brain regions associated with fearful emotions, rather than tinnitus being induced by stress.
For a long time, medical professionals and scientists wondered whether the “ringing” originated in the ears or the brain. It was hypothesized that the noise emerged as sound traveled from the ears to the central nervous system and to the brain. Prolonged exposure to loud noise and traumatic incidents could cause the brain to compensate by increasing its own amplifier. However, similar to a shortwave radio that produces both sound and hiss, individuals with tinnitus may experience additional noise. With the advent of MRI imaging, scientists are beginning to untangle the mysteries surrounding tinnitus.
In Germany and Belgium, Magnetic Transcranial Stimulation has shown promise as a treatment for some tinnitus sufferers. This non-invasive treatment involves placing a magnetic plate above the ear, targeting the auditory cortex. Pulsed electric currents disrupt faulty brain signals and potentially reset them. These painless sessions typically last between 5 to 30 minutes and require specialized equipment available in major neurology centers.
Exciting developments have emerged from the pharmaceutical industry in the last two years. While injecting lidocaine into the bloodstream of a tinnitus sufferer has been experimentally attempted and briefly relieved symptoms, this method is not recommended as a treatment. However, it has provided researchers with evidence that an off-switch for tinnitus exists somewhere in the brain. Researchers are actively investigating this area.
At my clinic, several clients have reported the disappearance of their tinnitus symptoms after drinking alkaline, ionized water. The duration for their tinnitus to vanish correlated with the severity of their chronic dehydration. This healthy water effectively neutralizes the acidic conditions associated with dehydration, alleviating various symptoms, including ear noises. I encourage you to try my 7-day water challenge, which is free and can contribute to an overall improvement in your well-being.