Ringing In The Ears

What Causes Tinnitus?

In order to deal properly with tinnitus we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow tinnitus to develop?"

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Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind tinnitus consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to tinnitus.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Stress
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Mercury Toxicity
  • Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia
  • Dehydration
  • Fluorosis
  • Electrical Hypersensitivity
  • Zinc Need

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
weak appetite
coated tongue
poor mental clarity
paying great attention to detail
poorly-removed amalgams
depression with fatigue
back-of-neck lymph node problems
having amalgam fillings
refined white flour consumption
irritated eyes
showers cause fatigue
recently going through divorce
... and more than 190 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of tinnitus:
Cause Probability Status
Stress 98% Confirm
Hypoglycemia 14% Unlikely
Dehydration 13% Unlikely
Zinc Need 4% Ruled out
Electrical Hypersensitivity 2% Ruled out
Mercury Toxicity 2% Ruled out
Fluorosis 2% Ruled out
Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia 2% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate ear/hearing problems, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you have Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)? If it sounds like blood rushing then answer the previous question instead of this one.
Possible responses:
→ Never had it / don't know
→ Probably had it / minor episode(s) now resolved
→ Major episode(s) now resolved
→ Current minor problem
→ Current major problem
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate history of tinnitus, tinnitus or severe tinnitus, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:

An inner ear fluid imbalance caused by dehydration can lead to tinnitus.

Megaloblastic Anemia / Pernicious Anemia

In one report, 47% of people with tinnitus and related disorders were found to have vitamin B12 deficiencies.  Supplementation may therefore be of benefit. [Vitamin B12 deficiency in patients with chronic-tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss. Am J Otolaryngol 1993;14: pp.94-9]


Many people say their tinnitus is worse when they are tired or stressed.

Zinc Requirement

High concentrations of zinc are found in the inner ear.  A Japanese study tested the theory that insufficient levels of zinc may therefore contribute to tinnitus.  Researchers found that tinnitus sufferers with low zinc levels in their blood experienced an improvement in their symptoms when, after two weeks of zinc supplementation, their zinc levels rose significantly.

Another study found that 25% of those with tinnitus and low serum zinc reported improvement after 3 to 6 months of supplementation. [Am J Otol 1985;6: pp.116-7]

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