Asked by Wanda White, New Orleans, Louisiana
What is the best remedy for ringing in the ears?
Dr. Otis Brawley
Chief Medical Officer,
American Cancer Society
Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is a common complaint. It should be evaluated by a physician before one decides to just deal with it. It can be due to a number of inner-ear problems. Some will worsen without diagnosis and treatment and can evolve into dizziness and hearing loss.
It is most commonly caused by a drug. Among drugs linked to tinnitus are aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, certain blood pressure drugs such as ACE inhibitors and loop diuretics, and some proton pump inhibitors used to treat reflux. Even some antibiotics cause tinnitus. Stopping these drugs with medical supervision is the first treatment.
Rare causes include inner-ear infections or tumors pressing the inner ear.
The most interesting case I have seen involved a person with a vascular abnormality in the head and tinnitus resulting from high-blood pressure due to exercise.
In some cases, the treatment of tinnitus is to help the patient cope with the disability.
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