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MS and Tinnitus – How Do You Cope?

Some MS symptoms can be difficult to eliminate, but coping strategies can help make them more manageable over time.  One community member mentioned their ongoing struggle with tinnitus, so we decided to see how others in the MultipleSclerosis.net community deal with the frustrating ringing, buzzing, or whooshing in their ears.

Over 140 of our Facebook community members responded to our post asking “A community member asks-Do you experiencing ringing or buzzing in your ears? If so, how do you cope with this symptom?” Many respondents were surprised to hear their tinnitus may be associated with MS, despite having experienced it for years. Some found it to be incredibly disruptive – making it difficult to hear normal sounds or carry on a conversation – while others had grown used to it over time.

Two community members discovered the tinnitus was a side effect associated with their MS medications, and recommended exploring medications as a potential cause.  Others shared ideas that worked for them:

  • “I listen to loud classical music then every 5 minutes turn the volume down until it’s very low. Keep repeating this over a month and it clears up a lot of [the tinnitus]. An ENT doctor told me this is to ‘retrain your brain.’”
  • “I have pulsatile tinnitus. When it gets really bad, I press the side of my neck to stop the noise. I have an appointment with a specialist to see if he can find a more permanent solution!”
  • “I deal by listening to music, keeping noise on even at night (when sleeping) and it comes and goes. The buzzing keeps me awake more than the music or TV does.”
  • “Try to get ear buds. Put the bud in the ear with the most ringing. Constantly keep music on at a low level. You can hear all around you and instead of hearing the ringing, you are hearing soft music you like. “
  • “I find the best way to handle [tinnitus] is not paying attention to it. I also found that it’s really bad when I’ve had salt or caffeine. I cut both from my diet and it helps. “
  • “I actually sleep it off. More of than not, it goes away.”
  •  “Sometimes I sing. It either goes away or I stop hearing it.”
  • “I had 4 solumedrol IVs and it stopped.”
  • [I]did get hearing aids. Should wear them all the time. But have been wearing them days ringing is really bad. The hearing aids work!! Ringing there but not near as bad.”
  • “Watch my aspirin intake and turn the tv up louder or listen to the birds of Florida as I go outside.
  • “[My husband] eventually used high dose Lunesta and a pillow speaker with constant sounds to drowned out the ringing. It has not stopped, but getting a decent sleep has made a huge difference in his life.”
  • “I meditate and on bad days try white noise.
  • “There is Tinnitus retraining therapy available that can help you learn to tune it out.”
  • “I also have the TV, music or a white noise machine in at all times.”
  • “I find it helps to have the TV or a radio or other white noise on.”

Do you experiencing tinnitus? Have you spoken to your doctor about it? If not, please keep in mind it’s important to discuss all symptoms – as minor as they may seem –so other underlying causes can be ruled out. In some circumstances, your neurologist may recommend consulting with an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, and Throat physician) for additional testing or therapy.

If you’ve found other ways to cope with tinnitus, please share in the comments section below!

Comments

  • MARBEAR
    1 year ago

    Hi, my Neuro said the neuroreceptors in my brain are vibrating, which is causing the ear ringing.

    I think the white noise helps us not concentrate on the ringing, & that we can train our brains to not focus on it, but on something else. However, & please know, I’m not indicating that being helped by ear plugs, hearing aids, & the like, has worked, is just hoopla. I think it’s GREAT, that some have found that using these options have worked for them!

    We are all wired differently, but what I am questioning is, how can anything we put in our ears help stop the ringing, when the main source of our ear ringing is coming from the neuroreceptors & transmitters in our brains?

  • Adriann
    5 years ago

    New to this program .. Was searching for answers .. Had a physical therapist claim it was “vertigo” of the ears but in one session reverse her decision and claim “vertigo due to MS ..

    I then went back to the referring Neurologist who prescribed benedryl .. Was not effective .. Meclizine also not effective .. Valium is the next step .. Along with self motivation to exercise my jaw and neck .. I am try anything at this point as it is unbearable as some have mentioned loud noises and loud talking and feeling tired seem to make this worse .. Thanks ..

  • inacam
    6 years ago

    I have problems with ringing in my ears. It causes me to be fatigued and have headaches. I can’t stand any noise around me so I usually either go outside or go into another room where it is quiet, close my eyes, rest and put earplugs in my ear. My neurologist referred me to a ENT. He says that I am having migraines due to balance problems and vertigo. So we still have not found s way to cope. I know that noise and loud talking starts it. Also, I am starting to notice if I am tired that does it too.

  • trisha
    6 years ago

    I am having buzzing in my left ear for over a week. At first I couldn’t figure out why things sounded weird. This is a new symptom for me and it is driving me crazy! My balance is off more than usual. I didn’t know this could be MS.

  • LeslieG
    6 years ago

    I have moderate hearing loss in my left ear, along with tinnitis. This spring I got a hearing aid. When it’s in, the tinnitis is gone! It’s been a life saver.

  • Susan
    6 years ago

    Hearing aids. Reduces the shrill ringing and helps w/the hearing loss caused by the damage from the tinnitus.

  • Christie Germans
    6 years ago

    Due to my hearing impairment, I’ve had tinnitus all of my life. It’s fairly mild and it is not associated to my MS diagnosis (dx in 2010). I agree that it is very important to discuss all symptoms with your neurologist. If you have ringing in your ears, it may or may not be related to MS.

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