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!

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