Tinnitus, or ring in the ears, is a sensation of noise in the ears in the lack of real external sound. Tinnitus is not a disease itself, but rather a symptom of a condition. Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, particularly noise-induced hearing loss. The causes for tinnitus are very diverse and therefore no common treatment for tinnitus exists.
Some common causes for tinnitus include: extensive exposure to loud sounds (e.g., workplace noise or loud music), ear infections, high doses of certain drugs (like aspirin). Tinnitus can also be caused by diseases like hypertension, diabetes, Meniere's syndrome, atherosclerosis, thyroid disorders, and others. Tinnitus can also occur naturally with age, or due to frequent sex, stress, or depression.
Traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) can be effective for tinnitus when applied properly. It is necessary to first distinguish the cause of tinnitus, and then select the right Chinese herbal formula for that pattern.
1. Kidney Deficiency. A common cause of tinnitus (from a TCM perspective) is due to weakened Kidney functions. TCM considers the Kidney as fundamental to all organs, and the source for Yin and Yang. When Kidney functions decline, tinnitus usually occurs. Tinnitus may be experienced as a low, persistent buzzing or ringing sound. This type of tinnitus often affects people who are middle-aged or older, have frequent sex, or experience semen loss. Symptoms of this type of TCM pattern may include dizziness, and weakness and soreness of the lower back and knees. A common Chinese herbal medicine formulated specially for Kidney-deficient tinnitus is Er Long Zuo Ci Pian. However, many Chinese herbal formulas for nourishing Kidney Yin or Yang like YinVive™ or YanVive™ may help Kidney-deficient tinnitus as well. Please note these herbal remedies do not apply to tinnitus that occurs suddenly.
2. Liver Fire. This type of tinnitus occurs suddenly, and the sounds experienced may be loud and high pitched. It may be related to emotional disturbances, and become more severe with increased irritability. Symptoms may include red face and eyes, bitter taste in the mouth, headache, dizziness, and emotional irritability. The Chinese herbal medicine may be used for this type of tinnitus is Long Dan Xie Gan Wan.
3. Blood Deficiency. Tinnitus caused by Blood deficiency is intermittent, and the volume of the sounds vary. It often occurs after a major disease or excessive workload, and is associated with insomnia, anxiety, palpitations, lack of energy, and a pale complexion. The Chinese herbal medicines that may be applied include Gui Pi Pian.
by X. Li, Ph. D.