ARTICLE 17) Tinnitus

Many people suffer from a constant ringing or buzzing in the ears, called tinnitus (tin' it us). Some estimates place the number of sufferers at 30 million. Some people have found it so disruptive to their lives that they have committed suicide.

Yet, it is usually treated as a trivial matter by the medical establishment and government. The FDA makes little effort to determine its prevelance or what causes it.

One cause is thought to be loud noise, particularly if the person is subjected to it for long periods of time. But there is another cause which few people know about - prescription drugs. If you do an Internet search using the word tinnitus and the name of your favorite drug, you will probably find that the drug lists tinnitus as one of the side effects. Antibiotics, in particular, are known to cause this problem.

You will probably notice that tinnitus is listed along with other common side effects like headache and nausea, as if the tinnitus was also a temporary thing that will go away when you stop taking the drug. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true. These drugs are "ototoxic", meaning that they can not only cause permanent tinnitus but destroy your hearing permanently.

This is one of the drug industry's dirty little secrets. Doctors, also, have little interest in warning you about this. So, it is wise to never take any drugs, particularly antibiotics, unless you absolutely have to.

If you have tinnitus, there are many things available, from acupuncture to homeopathy, that are supposed to help. In most cases, they don't. Tinnitus can fluctuate from day to day, making it difficult to determine if a particular treatment is helpful.

Many substances are thought to trigger tinnitus in those who suffer from it, from caffeine to milk products. But there are two substances which are known to be toxic. Avoid wines and other products that contain sulphites. And avoid ham, bacon and similar products that are preserved with nitrite.

We welcome feedback from those who have found a solution to their tinnitus.

Update: April 15, 2006. William Shatner, the actor, suffered from loud tinnitus for many years. He then learned about Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. After trying it for a few months, his tinnitus was greatly improved. Learn more about this treatment and Pawel Jastreboff, the discoverer of the method, at http://www.tinnitus-pjj.com. You can get a list of specialists in this method from that site. Also contact American Tinnitus Assn. for their list of specialists.

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