Tinnitus refers to the patient’s abnormal, shapeless sound hallucinations such as buzzing and hissing in the ears or skull in the absence of external sound sources. This sound feeling can be one or more than one, and last for a certain period of time.

Causes of tinnitus

1) Staying up late regularly:

Staying up late is a common problem among youngsters nowadays. Prolonged late nights can lead to fatigue, which in turn can cause tinnitus. The nighttime is the body’s natural resting period and failing to rest during this time can result in poor blood circulation around the ears due to excessive fatigue, leading to tinnitus.

2) Excessive alcohol consumption:

If you enjoy drinking alcohol, it’s important to be aware that long-term alcohol abuse can lead to chronic alcohol poisoning, which can cause the deterioration of auditory organs, leading to tinnitus. Over time, hearing can gradually decline, potentially progressing to sensorineural hearing loss.

3) Listening to music with headphones frequently:

It’s common to see people wearing headphones and listening to music in noisy environments, but it can lead to tinnitus and hearing damage. In noisy places such as crowded streets or train compartments, low-frequency noise dominates, which can mask high-frequency sounds and reduce their clarity. This can lead individuals to unknowingly increase the volume of their music, which can, over time, damage their hearing.

4) Psychological and emotional factors:

Sudden and intense emotional stress caused by unexpected events can trigger tinnitus. Emotions like anxiety, depression, mood swings, and excessive fatigue can worsen tinnitus, and tinnitus itself can lead to adverse emotional and psychological states, creating a vicious cycle. Maintaining a relaxed and positive emotional state can help alleviate or reduce tinnitus.

5) Prolonged exposure to noise:

The human ear can usually tolerate sounds up to 90 decibels. If the sound level exceeds this limit, even if one doesn’t feel it, the delicate and sensitive inner ear might be damaged. Irregular and highly stimulating noise pose a greater risk to hearing. Prolonged exposure to noisy environments can lead to tinnitus, with an increased likelihood of tinnitus occurring as the duration of noise exposure increases. Noise can exacerbate existing tinnitus or blend with the existing tinnitus sound.

6) Weakness of the spleen and stomach, disturbance of Qi circulation:

In TCM believes, tinnitus is related to the spleen and stomach. TCM suggests that problems with the nine orifices are all related to the intestines and stomach. We may not pay much attention to this today, but weakness of the spleen and stomach is a significant factor in tinnitus. For example, many people skip meals during meal times and work on an empty stomach, which can lead to injury to the spleen and stomach, insufficient vital energy (Qi) and disruption of the body’s Qi circulation. This imbalance can result in turbid Qi rising and obscuring the clear orifices, leading to tinnitus.

How to improve tinnitus symptoms

1) Rubbing Palm Technique:

Sit quietly, hold your breath and rub your palms together around 50 times. While your palms are warm, firmly press them against both ear entrances. Repeat this process six times, for a duration of 2 to 3 months. During treatment, it’s important to maintain a calm and tranquil state of mind for it to be effective.

2) Ringing Heaven’s Drum Ear Technique:

This involves rubbing both palms together to generate heat, then using the palm centres to cover the ears with all ten fingers placed behind the head. Place the index finger on top of the middle finger and tap below the occipital bone, creating a “thumping” sound within the ear. This technique is known as the Ringing Heaven’s Drum method.

3) Ear Gate Massage Technique:

Start by using your thumb to massage the ear gate in a clockwise direction for 12 times, then in a counterclockwise direction for 12 times. Next, use your index finger and thumb to gently massage the “Tinghui” acupoint (the front and lower part of the tragus is flush with the small notch and when the mouth is opened, it is in the depression.) for approximately 5 minutes, totalling around 350 to 400 times. Afterward, use your index finger and thumb to knead the earlobe, first from top to bottom and then from bottom to top. Repeat this kneading motion until your ears feel warm. Perform this earlobe kneading approximately 100 times for both ears.

Daily protection

1) People who frequently experience tinnitus should pay special attention to their daily home care routine. They should avoid exposure to loud noises, maintain a relaxed state of mind, and steer clear of medications that can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms. Prolonged exposure to noise can lead to tinnitus, so reducing sources of noise or using protective earplugs and earmuffs can help safeguard the hearing of tinnitus patients. It’s important not to use personal headphones for extended periods or at high volumes.

2) Being in a state of high mental stress or physical fatigue for an extended period can also worsen tinnitus. Therefore, it is beneficial to make appropriate adjustments to work pace, manage the emotional state of tinnitus patients, and redirect their attention away from tinnitus. Smoking can lead to decreased blood oxygen levels, and the inner ear hair cells are highly sensitive to oxygen, so oxygen deprivation can harm these cells and worsen tinnitus.

3) In terms of diet, tinnitus patients should be mindful of their choices. Caffeine and alcohol can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms.

Those who favour sugary foods are at risk of obesity and have a higher likelihood of developing tinnitus related to diabetes.

Spicy seasonings and foods can easily generate internal heat, damage body fluids, exacerbate inflammation, and worsen tinnitus.

Foods with kidney-nourishing, liver-clearing, blood-activating, and orifice-opening effects can be incorporated into the patient’s dietary regimen.

Tinnitus patients should consume a nutrient-rich diet, with staples like rice, millet, corn, flour, soybeans, and sorghum rice.

Supplementary foods can include beef, pork, duck, chicken, milk, goat’s milk, crucian carp, yellow croaker, carp, hairtail, turtle, soft-shelled turtle, loach, shark fin, tofu, and soy milk, among others.

Vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, spinach, celery, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, mung bean sprouts, and bamboo shoots are recommended.

Fruits like apples, oranges, plums, peaches, persimmons, bananas, watermelons, and cantaloupes are suitable.

Some foods can also be used to nourish kidney essence and treat hearing loss, such as walnut meat, longan flesh, and black sesame, among others.

Medicinal food recommendation

  • Black Bean and Jujube Soup

Ingredients: 50 grams of black beans, 10 jujubes (Chinese dates), 3 slices of fresh ginger, a suitable amount of brown sugar.
Benefits: Nourishes qi and blood, tonifies the liver and kidneys.
Instructions: Soak the black beans in clean water for 30 minutes, wash the jujubes and remove the pits and slice the fresh ginger. Place the black beans, jujubes and ginger slices in a clay pot, add an appropriate amount of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Then, add brown sugar and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes before serving.

  • Black Sesame Porridge

Ingredients: 50 grams of black sesame seeds, 100 grams of glutinous rice, a suitable amount of white sugar.
Benefits: Nourishes yin, tonifies the kidneys, invigorates qi, and sharpens hearing.
Instructions: Wash the glutinous rice thoroughly and soak it. Dry-fry until fragrant, then add black sesame seeds and white sugar, mixing them evenly. Grind the mixture into a fine powder. Take an appropriate amount each time and mix it with hot water to create a porridge-like consistency before consumption.

  • Longan and Lean Pork Stew

Ingredients: 20 grams of longan (dragon eye) flesh, 100 grams of lean pork, a suitable amount of ginger slices.
Benefits: Nourishes the heart and spleen, tonifies qi and blood, calms the mind, and sharpens hearing.
Instructions: Wash the lean pork and cut it into chunks. Rinse the longan flesh and set it aside. Place the lean pork, longan flesh, and ginger slices in a clay pot, adding an appropriate amount of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the meat is tender. Season with salt before serving.

  • Black Fungus and Red Date Drink

Ingredients: 15 grams of black fungus, 10 red dates, a suitable amount of rock sugar.
Benefits: Nourishes yin, tonifies the kidneys, invigorates qi, and sharpens hearing.
Instructions: Soak the black fungus in clean water until it becomes soft, then wash it thoroughly. Wash the red dates and remove the pits. Place the black fungus and red dates in a clay pot, add an appropriate amount of water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add rock sugar and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes before serving.

  • Rose Tea

Ingredients: 5 rose flowers, a suitable amount of rock sugar.
Benefits: Soothes the liver, relieves stagnation, regulates Qi and sharpens hearing.
Instructions: Place the rose flowers in a teacup, add boiling water, and steep for 5 minutes. Add rock sugar and stir until well mixed before consumption.

The above massage techniques and dietary remedies are only suitable for simple tinnitus and mild cases. They may not be applicable to all cases of tinnitus. If you experience severe tinnitus or have other accompanying symptoms, please seek medical attention or consult a healthcare professional.


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