A few months ago, I experienced a sudden strange ear issue. Without any warning my left ear plugged up, I felt pressure, I couldn't hear very well, and what was a mild annoyance changed into a major distraction. While these symptoms bothered me and affected my daily life, I assumed they were due to remnants of an old cold or allergies, or some temporary issue. Turns out, they weren't.
After a few weeks, in desperation (I hate seeing doctors), I went to an ENT and was diagnosed with Meniere's Disease. Long story short on this, I went through all the stages of grief--denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance--and went to work to find a way out of what had become my ear hell.
For those who're unfamiliar with Meniere's Disease, there is no known cure. When I heard that, yeah, I was scared. But I then decided I'd find a way to cure my Meniere's Disease, or a very least manage it in such a way I'd return to my normal life.
Until lately, I haven't taken care of my ears. I love loud music, I never thought about using hearing protection when using power tools, and never plugged my ears when on the subway platform waiting for a train. Well, now that I'm 50, I've got Meniere's Disease, and with that, a case of tinnitus.
Is Tinnitus Permanent?
If you have tinnitus and you Google "can tinnitus be cured?" you'll likely become distraught. Here's what I saw on the first search result:
"There is no cure for tinnitus. However, it can be temporary or persistent, mild or severe, gradual, or instant. The goal of treatment is to help you manage your perception of the sound in your head. There are many treatments available that can help reduce the perceived intensity of tinnitus, as well as its omnipresence." - www.healthline.com
So the sound in my head that's bugging me will never go away? Scary.
I asked my ENT if tinnitus is permanent and the answer was yes, BUT it can be managed, it can even be reduced! I set out to reduce mine and I actually managed to do that within a few weeks.
Tinnitus Home Remedies That REALLY Work
There's no magic pill that'll cure your tinnitus, at least there hasn't been with mine. From what I understand, my tinnitus will be with me for life. And that's ok, acceptance is a powerful ally in health. If I fight the reality of my tinnitus, I could in fact create unnecessary stress, which exacerbates the very condition I'm fighting against!
I may not be able to cure tinnitus, but nothing says I can't remedy it, reduce it, minimize it, lower the volume. In fact, that's just what I've done. Let me tell you how I've managed that.
How I Lowered the Volume of My Tinnitus by 50%
In my case, I have two sounds: a high-frequency, fire alarm type of sound and a low-frequency, humming sound. I managed to reduce the high-frequency tinnitus by what feels like 50%! The low-frequency tinnitus comes and goes depending on my stress level, so I work really hard on keeping a level head when I get triggered into negative emotions.
It's All About Lifestyle & Diet
Early on in my Meniere's Disease diagnosis, I decided to keep a journal and keep track of my behavior and the food I ate that might trigger a Meniere's attack. Surprisingly, what I discovered is that I was able to track what triggered a REDUCTION in my tinnitus! There were a few factors:
Let's start with diet. It's crucial. I noticed that when I ate a balanced, healthy, non-toxic diet my tinnitus improved. So, what's balanced, healthy and non-toxic? For me that was:
- Eliminating all meat, chicken, fish - anything with eyes
- Reducing (or eliminating) all dairy
- Reducing salts and oils
- Eliminating processed foods or toxic foods
Basically, if the food came in a can, a package (say potato chips), a jar, or was frozen, I threw it out of my diet. Why? These foods are almost always processed - even if they are organic, and normally have a higher sodium content. Frozen foods especially have something to preserve them. I opted for the freshest foods possible which was normally fruit and veg.
A cheating vegetarian
I've been a "cheating" vegetarian for years. When I got out to dinner, once or twice a month, I'd eat a burger or chicken fingers or some other delicious fare. Turns out, for me, I'd rather stop the ringing in my ear than eat animal meat, so I have eliminated it from my diet. I know for some that alone is a HUGE challenge. I get that. I too was a big meat eater up until ten years ago. But in my case, I felt I had to adapt and eat as pure as possible. I still cheat, but not with meat, with chips. I LOVE chips! I've gotta give myself something!
Salts and oils aren't so great for you. They taste amazing, but they're not great for our diets, not even gourmet salts. This isn't my opinion, it's that of a few doctors who I follow - read or watch videos with Alan Goldhamer, he'll likely convince you too.
Within a week or two, my tinnitus symptoms improved. But not enough. I felt like I had more room to improve. I'd been reading about the health benefits of water fasts. This age-old tradition, adopted by most of the world's major (and not so major) religions has been used for cleansing and spiritual purposes for, well, for a LONG time. After demolishing a book by Herbert M. Shelton titled The Science and Fine Art of Fasting I decided it'd give water fasting a go.
I did a seven day fast.
I'll be straight. It was hard. I was hungry. I was weak. I stunk like a skunk. But, in a weird sort of way that's hard to describe, it was bliss too.
After seven days, my sense of smell was heightened and as a result, my appetite changed. Some of the foods I previously gravitated toward were distasteful. Cheese for example. I used to LOVE cheese but after the fast, I had no interest. Sadly cheese also has tons of sodium and has addictive properties.
The water fast helped my tinnitus. It didn't go away, but it was so reduced that at times I forgot I had it. When I get stressed, the tinnitus comes roaring back. So, I've been working on letting go. If one of my kids breaks a valued object, yes, I get upset. But then I remember, it's not worth STAYING upset, it's not worth the tinnitus that follows the stress in my system, so I try to let it go.
Exercise comes into play with stress reduction. I run six days a week. Okay, sometimes I slack and it's three days...I'm human! The point is I'm making a point to run, and I'm committed to a form of exercise that helps me blow off steam. Sometimes, if something triggers my anger, I'll control the stress by going for a quick run.
Those doctors are probably right, there's no cure for tinnitus, but there are plenty of ways to reduce it. I hope my experience helps, but what you can only control your own journey. Try your own experiment and find out what helps your tinnitus and what triggers it to worsen. There's no harm in trying, is there?