Tinnitus. Treatment Options?

For the past 12.5 years, I’ve worked in a postal sorting facility, in close proximity to some loud-ish machines. I’ve never felt any particular discomfort, indeed, any particular effect from my time spent in the plant.


Last month, I took a ten-day leave, and pretty much stayed home for the duration. Ever since I returned to work two weeks ago, I’ve noticed a constant ringing in my ears. On this tone generator, I’ve identified two frequencies, D7 (2349 HZ) and A#6 (1865 Hz).

It’s primarily in my left ear, although my right ear will occasionally contribute a tone of its own, which I haven’t been able to identify yet.

I’m not certain that this is related to my return to a high-decibel environment, but it would be foolish to not explore the possibility (I’ve had two two-day breaks since my return, and the ringing has not subsided during those breaks). I have not been in the habit of putting in the earplugs they make available to us, but I’m wondering if starting to do so would do any good, or if the “damage has been done.”

Are there any therapies (preferably pharmaceutical, but I’m not THAT picky) that can make this go away?


There are no pharmaceuticals to treat tinnitus.

[Wikipedia “tinnitus’]
If a specific underlying cause is determined, treating it may lead to improvements.Otherwise, the primary treatment for tinnitus is talk therapy, sound therapy, or hearing aids. There are no effective medications or supplements that treat tinnitus.

You need to consult and ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) doctor to be diagnosed. You could also consult an audiologist to establish whether it is related to hearing loss.

In the meantime, I’d recommend wearing the hearing protection provided at work to preclude any possible further damage.

I have not looked into the science of it, but I went to a workshop on herbal remedies that suggested a tincture of creeping charlie (yes, really!) as a treatment for tinnitus. I guess it can’t hurt, anyway.

Putting chemicals in your ears can hurt those very, very delicate structures and tissues.

It’s worth getting checked by a professional and following their recommendations.

I have tinnitus. If it was this easy millions of us would have done it years ago.

It’s a plant. Sure, check it out, but I don’t know why people dismiss herbal remedies entirely without investigating them.

I don’t dismiss herbal remedies without investigating them. I caution against putting substances in your ears not prescribed by a licensed clinical professional. Herbal or otherwise. I would have said the same thing about a non-herbal remedy.

Of course you should be wearing hearing protection if you work around noise! You want to spare whatever hearing you have left. Hearing loss can happen so gradually that you don’t notice it until it’s too late, as you’re discovering, and it doesn’t come back. Once the little acoustic hair cells are damaged, they’re finished; they don’t regenerate. It could also just be that your developing age-related hearing loss, but why take a chance?

You can download a free decibel meter app to your phone if you’re curious how loud the ambient noise actually is.

These are the earplugs I like the best - they’re very soft and I don’t notice that I’m wearing them. They carry them at Walgreens and many other inexpensive stores. If you can wear over-the-ear headphones and listen to music, even better. I got used to wearing earplugs at a factory job I had many decades ago. Now I wear them to sleep when it’s noisy.

After awhile you get kind of inured to the tinnitus. If I clench my lower jaw just so, I can reduce the volume of the ringing for a few minutes. I can’t really describe what the clenching movement is, but it’s similar to how you pop your ears. I might have read the idea for this on the Dope many years back.

Spend your money on earplugs or headphones instead.

Maybe people should investigate them before checking them out? Are there any reports from people who aren’t in the herbal medicine industry?

By “check it out,” I meant it’s worth investigating whether it’s worth trying. Which can include asking your doctor about it. I do not have tinnitus, have not tried the remedy because I have no reason to do so, and FWIW the person conducting the workshop was a member of a local gardening group that I belong to. She was discussing and demonstrating uses for common garden herbs and weeds, not trying to sell anything at all. I found it interesting because my mother-in-law has suffered from tinnitus for years and so far the only solution that has helped her hearing issues at all was a (very expensive) hearing aid, and she has tried quite a few things that various doctors have recommended.

Some of you people are sounding like the time I went to Eli Lilly HQ for work (I worked for a vendor of theirs) and we got a tour of the grounds, including the original pharmacy that Eli Lilly owned. The person giving the tour spoke rather disparagingly of herbal remedies. Sheesh, I thought, what do you think plenty of lab-produced pharmaceuticals are derived from?

And who goes through all the hard work of deriving them, finding out if they actually work and testing them for safety?

There are plenty of times that lab-derived pharmaceuticals are the right thing to do - I am not disputing that, and I use them myself when warranted (thank whatever higher power you believe in for Claritin!). But they don’t fix everything, and Western allopathic medicine still has a lot to learn. If that weren’t the case, my mother-in-law wouldn’t still have problems with tinnitus after all the various prescription medicines she has tried.

Or, is it is usually called, “medicine”.

That doesn’t mean that it’s fixable by any means, unfortunately. Considering 15% of the population have tinnitus, including ENT’s, surely this wisdom would been brought to their attention by now instead of only being passed down at herbal workshops via gardening groups. (This is kind of a pet peeve of mine, living near a naturopathic “college” which has flooded the area in homeopathic quacks. They have a vested interest in making alternative medicine seem normalized.)


To the OP, tinnitus can be a side effect of an NSAID. Have you begun taking one? either prescription or non-prescription, recently, and this includes baby aspirin for your heart, as well as higher doses of aspirin, Aleve, meloxicam, etc., for arthritis, and all sorts of aches and pains.

I have not heard of it being a side effect of anything else, but if it can be a side effect of one medicine, it can be the side effect of another I suppose.

Please do not stop taking any medications you are on, but consider asking your doctor if this is a possibility, and switching your medication if it turns out to be the cause.

If tinnitus is making it hard for you to sleep, consider getting a white noise machine, or using a tablet or laptop to play white noise during the night. This is all many people need to prevent tinnitus from keeping them awake.

Please, please start wearing your earplugs at work. Do not let things get worse.

My stepfather was a Navy pilot back before people knew to protect their hearing, and he has a pretty serious loss-- yes, he is in his 70s, but the loss is a lot more than what you’d expect for his age-- he uses the captions on the TV, can’t converse with people he isn’t facing, and has an amplifier for the phone.

Oh, right, I completely forgot about NSAID’s. Ibufrofen really sets mine off, even 1 pill.

I’ve had tinnitus coming up to 10 years now, but it’s something that I’ve got used to and it’s not something that bothers me so much now, it can improve over time or at least you learn to manage it, really I would try not to let it get to you and as someone who’s experienced it, it was a lot more distressing initially than it is now.
I learned that due to the plasticity of the brain ( the way the structure and function adapts over time) you actually can notice a significant improvement but I would still advise using those ear plugs ( you can get them from musicians stores) whenever you might been in an overly noisy environment or when you feel necessary. It’s always better to do so.
People who have never had exposure to any damagingly high sound probably don’t realise that hearing is something to be protected and looked after just like any other sense.
FWIW my hearing loss was caused by a so called friend at a get together after my brother’s funeral coming up to 10 years ago, he had this powerful stereo and thought it was funny to crank it up really loud, seriously it was like a heavy crunching sound an in this high rise block I’m sure the whole 60+ floor block heard/felt it.
Needless to say we soon became not friends shortly after.

Poison ivy is a plant.
Stinging nettles is a plant.
The giant stinging tree of Australia is a fucking horror of a plant.

Not meaning to pile on, but be cautious about what plant you eat or put in your ear, and remember:

Creeping charlie is a common name for several species of plants.

Funny that you should mention stinging nettle. It’s one of many plants that can be useful for common medical conditions. If I had high blood pressure (I don’t), I’d probably try hibiscus tea before trying a prescription medication that might have drastic side effects. My own doctor has told me to try nonpharmaceutical interventions (like a neti pot with salt water for sinus congestion) before trying drugs that can have side effects, or say, trying a melatonin supplement before more hardcore sleep drugs. Pretty much every doctor I have ever had was fine with that sort of thing in appropriate circumstances.

@Mangetout’s YouTube channel (atomic shrimp) has a beautiful video where he collects stinging nettle and makes a soup that I swear you can taste just looking at it.