Tinnitus symptoms can drive you crazy, but home remedies can help. Read on for Ayurveda's advice on finding relief from a condition that is becoming increasingly common and is no longer considered confined to the elderly.
From a recent article in The Times:
"The fear among auditory experts is that we are heading for a "tinnitus timebomb". If you regularly spend several hours a week clubbing or going to gigs, or if you listen to your MP3 player at full volume, you will have almost certainly experienced some temporary tinnitus already. Prolonged exposure to excessive decibels can put your hearing in danger of permanent damage."
This is the known face of tinnitus, the obvious cause and effect situation where frequent exposure to loud noise can damage our hearing permanently. Then there is the tinnitus experienced usually in the later years of life as a persistent "ringing in the ears". But there is growing concern about the increase of general noise about us that is leading to the early development of tinnitus symptoms. Many people in their 30s and 40s are developing tinnitus symptoms and some children are being affected too.
The Times article sums up the concern:
"countless studies worldwide have now confirmed that an overload of noise levels is resulting in hearing loss in young people. According to some estimates, noise levels have increased tenfold in recent years - in shops and restaurants, in schools and at work, on trains and planes, on urban stress and in the countryside, the global hum is becoming a global howl."
The UK's national health advisory service, NHS direct, describes tinnitus as a symptom (not a condition) that most commonly occurs in old age, but also acknowledges that "tinnitus is starting to affect a growing number of younger people due to the general increase in sound and noise in today's society".
Living Without Peace: Tinnitus Symptoms
The symptoms of tinnitus can manifest as occasional or constant ringing, hissing, or buzzing noises in the ears. Some tinnitus sufferers also experience increased sensitivity to everyday sounds, which they perceive as louder than the average person.
Tinnitus often becomes more noticeable during quiet times where there is less distracting external noise, this can be particularly distracting and disturbing when trying to read or rest.
Seeking Relief: Ayurveda on Tinnitus
Ayurveda considers tinnitus to be the result of a disturbance to vata dosha. Vata is the energy of the body that governs the nervous system and higher mental functions. Tinnitus may be accompanied by other signs of ear related vata disturbance such as dry wax in the ears, ear pain and loss of hearing.
Stimulants life caffeine, nicotine and cocaine are all know to aggravate vata dosha and can therefore cause or aggravate tinnitus symptoms. Long spells in front of computer or television screens can also generate or aggravate symptoms.
Supportive lifestyle changes are the first step in reducing symptoms. Try and keep computer use to a necessary minimum, cut back on watching TV, try replacing coffee with herb teas and indulge in some rest and relaxation daily.
Some years ago when I was working on computers for long periods of time I noticed that my ears would start ringing, they recovered after rest, but I have since suffered occasional tinnitus which has been greatly relieved by the following Ayurvedic home help tips.
Ayurveda's Home Remedies for Relief from Tinnitus
Firstly, I should state that this information is not intended to replace professional medical advice - if you are concerned about any symptoms - please see your doctor.
A brief understanding of the nature and qualities if vata is very helpful in treating tinnitus symptoms. Ayurveda works with the natural energies and laws of our universe, and gently applies opposite qualities for helping us regain balance.
The ancient Ayurvedic text, Astangha Hrdayam, describes vata as:
tatra ruksho lagu sheetah,
khara sukshma chalo nilah
Translation: the qualities of vata are dry, light, cool, rough, subtle and mobile.
So, vata is comprised of the elements ether and air, it is dry, cold, light, and rough and moving by nature. To gain an idea of the energy and effects of vata, think of the wind.
How is this relevant to tinnitus? Because if we discover that tinnitus is aggravated by anything that increases or aggravates vata, we can begin to work out a plan of gentle opposites to reduce symptoms naturally.
For example, applying warm oil to the ears is a an excellent opposite to the qualities of cold, dry, and rough as oil is smooth and wet and can be gently warmed before use to balance cold.
How to Relieve Tinnitus with Oil
Sesame oil is the best oil for calming vata. The best sources are Pukka Herbs in the UK or Banyan Botanicals in the US, these trusted Ayurvedic suppliers provide high quality "ripened" sesame oil that is pre-cured for use for massage or ear drops.
Apply 5-10 drops of warm sesame oil to each ear daily. One easy way to do this is to lay down and drop warm oil into the ear facing upwards, leave it there for a few minutes while you relax and breath deeply, then clean the ear and repeat on the other side. Leave a little oil in the ears to reduce overall dryness.
This simple remedy alone usually noticeably reduces tinnitus symptoms within a week or two. I have personal experience of this and also how relaxing applying warm oil to the ears is which means you get the added bonus of reducing stress and anxiety.
Since vata is aggravated on cold, dry, windy days it's also helpful to add a little oil to your ears during weather that can increase symptoms. Simply drop some sesame oil onto your little finger and massage it around the inside of each ear during your morning bathroom routine for added relief and protection.
Nasya Oil: A popular herb that Ayurveda uses for relief from tinnitus symptoms is calamus. This can be easily applied in a nasya oil formula. Nasya is a medicated oil that is taken by applying drops to the nostrils at blood temperature morning and night.
Oil Massage: Massage a little warm sesame oil into the soles of your feet before bed to calm vata and ensure a peaceful night's sleep.
Photo by Steven Fernandez
Further Reading You Might Find of Interest:
Slick Soles and Sound Sleep - how to massage your feet with oil
Ayurveda - It's Elementary! a brief introduction to Ayurveda's and the five elements
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