Ringing Ears: What Causes Tinnitus and How to Stop It

If you’ve ever gone to a loud concert and heard a ringing in your ears afterwards, then you’ve experienced what we call tinnitus. Usually this ear ringing disappears on its own within a few days, but for more than 50 million Americans, there’s a constant ringing in their ears that never goes away.

People describe tinnitus in many ways, ringing, buzzing, static, hissing, chirping, even bacon frying. For many people, these sounds are barely noticeable or slightly annoying, but for some individuals, tinnitus is extremely bothersome and causes significant difficulty in their lives. So what exactly is tinnitus and what can be done about it?
What is tinnitus?   
Tinnitus is a perception of sound where no external sound exists. There are three main ways to describe tinnitus: tonal, pulsatile, and musical. Most common is tonal tinnitus. This is where a person perceives a continuous tone or sound. It can sound like a single pitch or buzzing, static, etc. 

Pulsatile tinnitus is often described as a whooshing noise and is typically in time with an individual's heartbeat. Musical tinnitus or Musical Ear Syndrome is when a person perceives singing or music. Often the same one or two familiar songs over and over again.

Tonal and musical tinnitus are what is known as subjective tinnitus, meaning only the person experiencing it can perceive it. Pulsatile tinnitus can be subjective, but can also be objective meaning others can perceive the sound as well. All forms of tinnitus can vary in both pitch and volume.
What causes tinnitus? 
Tinnitus has several causes, though the exact mechanisms that produce it aren’t entirely understood. It is not a disorder in and of itself, but a symptom of an underlying condition. Most often subjective tinnitus is caused by damage in the auditory system associated with hearing loss. Hearing loss is very often accompanied or preceded by tinnitus.

Other causes of subjective hearing loss are excessive cerumen (earwax), fluid in the middle ear or other blockages, brain injury, and medication. In fact, many medications have tinnitus as a side effect. Objective (pulsatile) tinnitus is often caused due to cardiovascular disorders such as high blood pressure.
There are certain things that can increase the perception of tinnitus. Many people notice the ringing more when it is quiet. Often at bedtime when they are trying to get to sleep their tinnitus becomes much louder. Stress can often increase the perception of tinnitus as well. Anecdotally, salt and caffeine were long thought to be triggers to increase tinnitus, though there is no clinical evidence to corroborate that idea. 
doctor checking ear of female patient
How to reduce the ringing in your ears
While there’s no cure for tinnitus, there are ways you can reduce and manage it. 
  • Have your hearing tested. If you have hearing loss, talk to your hearing health professional about options. For the majority of people, treating the hearing loss with hearing aids reduces the perception of tinnitus significantly.
  • Check your medications. Speak with your physician or pharmacist to determine if any of the medications you take are likely to cause tinnitus. Then you can speak with your physician to determine the best course of action.
    • Get to the source. Pulsatile tinnitus can be the sign of an underlying cardiovascular condition and should be evaluated by a medical professional. An audiologist can evaluate your hearing and make proper referrals for further testing if needed.
    • Try a sound machine. It can be helpful to give the brain something else to focus on and help drown out the tinnitus especially at night, when it can be more pronounced.
    • Reduce stress. It is well known that stress increases the perception of tinnitus. For many individuals simply understanding what tinnitus is helps reduce anxiety. Other methods of stress reduction such as meditation and breathing exercises  can be very beneficial. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can also be beneficial and in some cases medication to reduce stress may be prescribed if the provider deems it needed. If you are experiencing severe distress due to your tinnitus, please reach out to a medical professional for support.
    • Explore supplements safely. The ingredients used in Lucid Hearing dietary supplements have been found in studies to support healthy function of the ear and to reduce ringing. Always check with your physician and/or pharmacist before starting any supplements to check for drug interactions.

    What’s in Lucid Hearing supplements

    Lucid Hearing’s formula features 12 science-backed ingredients, synergistically combined at researched levels to address all critical aspects of hearing health. And for people who experience tinnitus, Lucid Hearing’s proprietary Ringless™ Blend was developed to help suppress extraneous noises and relieve ringing.

    What’s in Lucid Hearing that makes it, we believe, the most effective dietary supplement for ear ringing out there? Here’s a peek at the science inside the bottle: 

    Here’s a peek at the science inside the bottle:
    Ingredients that address tinnitus: 
    • Ginkgo biloba:  A 2019 study on 35 adults showed improvement in tinnitus symptoms after 90 days of ginkgo supplementation. (1) 
    • Zinc: An important mineral that plays a crucial role in the nervous system and especially hearing. A 2019 study on 20 patients (aged 31-67) with tinnitus demonstrated that supplementing with Zinc significantly improved tinnitus. (2)
    • Coenzyme Q10: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is very helpful for hearing as it is a powerful antioxidant and supports mitochondrial function. A 2011 study demonstrated that CoQ10 can help reduce hearing loss in people. CoQ10 supplementation alleviated tinnitus in those whose CoQ10 blood levels were initially low. (3) (4) 
    • Vitamin B12: Protects against noise-induced hearing loss. Patients with low levels of folate in their blood are more likely to develop hearing loss and that low vitamin B12 levels are associated with hearing loss and tinnitus. (5)
    Ingredients that address hearing loss, a possible cause of tinnitus:
    • Vitamin A: In a 7-year study of 2,956 participants aged 50+, those in the top 20% of dietary vitamin A intake had a 47% reduced likelihood of hearing loss. (6)
    • Vitamin C: Population studies demonstrate that high dietary intake of Vitamin C is significantly associated with better hearing. (7)
    • Vitamin E: In a 7-year study of 2,956 participants aged 50+, those with a higher dietary intake of Vitamin E had a 14% reduced likelihood of hearing loss. (8) 
    • Folate: Folate helps reduce elevated levels of dangerous homocysteine, which are linked to an increased risk of hearing problems because they increase free radical damage to the ear and affect blood flow to the cochlea. (9)
    • Magnesium: Helps increase blood flow and helps to transport protective the essential nutrients to the ear. Magnesium supplementation for 10 days reduced noise-induced hearing loss in men aged 16-37 years. (10)
    Tinnitus can be frustrating, alarming— even scary—but there are steps you can take to reduce its effect on your life. Take charge of your ringing ears by talking to your doctor about your health, taking measures to reduce stress, and working safe, effective tinnitus relief supplements into your daily routine.
    From the Lucid Wellness team: You can try out Lucid Hearing supplements for yourself, risk-free. If they aren’t the most effective hearing supplement you have ever taken, send us your empty bottle and we’ll give you your money back with our 365-day guarantee!
    Studies referenced: 
    (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10)

    For more information on tinnitus, check out the American Tinnitus Association website.