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Got Ringing in Your Ear?

Wellness Resources


Ringing in your ear – it’s a pesky, irritating sound. You may rub or pull on your ear, open your mouth wide, or try other tricks to get the noise to stop. Many things contribute to and affect ringing and other nuisance sounds in your ear. Recent research highlights the need for maintaining good health and nutrition for this delicate sense.


Buzz, Hum, or Ring


A few seconds of ringing in the ear is an annoyance. Sounds of buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing, or humming may also occur as ear noises. These irritations may happen randomly or be persistent. When the noise persists, it can interfere with understanding speech and work performance. It may even affect your sleep, mood, stress tolerance, and sometimes even your balance. Here are some things to consider with inner ear health and the sounds you may hear.


Contributing Factors


A variety of factors may contribute to ringing in the ear. Occupational or loud noise exposure, ear and sinus congestion, elevated blood sugar levels, chronic alcohol use, and jaw joint dysfunction (TMJ) are factors. Smoking, obesity, caffeine intake are also hypothesized to contribute to ear noises. Today’s modern society and use of ear buds contributes to ringing in the ears along with changes in brain health and disruptions in nerve communications.


Medications


Medications can also cause ringing in the ears. Common culprits include aspirin/salicylate, other NSAIDS like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, and meloxicam, etc., Tylenol/acetominophen, and some antibiotics.Platinum-based chemotherapy drugs (cisplatin and carboplatin) can also cause ringing in the ears. Toxic effects from these drugs create a free radical stress response that triggers ringing in the ear.


Inner Ear Health and Endolymph


Auditory health is a complex make-up of many types of structures and parts. Your ear consists of three parts – the outer, middle, and inner ear. The inner ear is filled with lymphatic fluid called endolymph inside a sac. Endolymph fluid bathes the hearing and balance structures of your inner ear.


Endolymph fluid contains the electrolyte minerals—sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium—which are used by sensory cells for hearing. This fluid requires a very high concentration of sodium and potassium for the electrical potential and regulation of electrochemical impulses of hair cells inside the inner ear.


Age, ear and sinus congestion, allergies, dehydration, and even being low on electrolytes from insufficient dietary intake or diuretics/water pills may affect the endolymph sac and fluid movement in your inner ear. When this homeostasis is disturbed, endolymph fluid becomes congested. It stresses the inner ear hair cells and auditory-nerve mechanism contributing to ear noises. Good lymph circulation and antioxidants help support and protect these natural functions.


Antioxidant Status and Lymph Support


Ear and auditory health, especially your inner ear, is a dynamic complex sense that relies on healthy nervous system function, blood flow, and much more. Hearing and processing auditory information naturally cause the production of free radicals like reactive oxygen species (ROS). When ROS free radicals are not captured by antioxidants, it contributes to ringing in the ears.