Tinnitus, or ringing in the ear, is the experience of hearing sounds like hissing, buzzing or whistling in the ear, and is related to damage to the hair cells of the inner ear. As a long-time tinnitus sufferer, I can testify that it can be very annoying and distracting, especially if it's constant. There is often accompanying hearing loss, and it can be triggered by loud noises.
Tinnitus can also be brought on by colds, flus, ear infections, too much ear wax, head injuries, high blood pressure, Meniere's disease (too much fluid in the inner ear, causing problems with hearing and balance) and otosclerosis (new bone formation on the stapes in the middle ear, causing deafness). There are also drugs that can cause temporary tinnitus, including aspirin, quinine, antibiotics, and alcohol, as well as smoking.
One effective home remedy for tinnitus recommended by George W. Facer, M.D., an otolaryngologist at the Mayo Clinic, is to remove ear wax once a month. Put a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide, mineral oil or glycerin in the ear, allowing the excess fluid to flow out. This will bubble away and soften the wax. Repeat the process for a couple of days. Then fill a bowl with body temperature water, fill a rubber bulb syringe with the water, hold your head over the bowl, and squirt gently into one ear canal. Turn your head and let the water run out of the ear. Repeat on the other ear. Dry your ear with a hair dryer or a little alcohol after removing wax or showering.
C. Norman Shealy, M.D. of the American Holistic Medicine Association suggests the following home remedies for ringing in the ears. Black cohosh in tincture form can be used if tinnitus is due to blood congestion or pressure in the head. Feverfew tincture or leaves also help (but never use feverfew if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, do not give to small children, and do not use if you are taking blood-thinning drugs). In cases of ringing in the ears due to poor circulation or high blood pressure, you can try hawthorn tincture.
Aromatherapy offers a number of fragrant oils that can be either massaged into the head, neck or chest or heated in a vaporizer and inhaled, including rosemary, cypress, lemon and rose to increase circulation and decrease ringing in the ears.
Homeopathic remedies for tinnitus include salicylic acid for roaring, dizziness or deafness; China sulf. for buzzing, hissing or singing; and Kali iod. for ringing in the ears.
Certain vitamins and minerals can also reduce ringing in the ears. Increase your intake of magnesium, potassium and manganese and eat foods rich in A and C and bioflavonoids, which encourage good circulation.
Another home remedy that I personally recommend is learning to "tune it out". Even though I have tinnitus, most of the time I don't notice it because I've trained my mind not to focus on it.