Tinnitus and MS: An Annoying Combination

Tinnitus and MS: An Annoying Combination

Faith of the Mustard Seed

Loss of hearing symptoms such as tinnitus are not usually attributed to multiple sclerosis, but for those with MS who do experience tinnitus, like me, they can be very annoying.

The American Tinnitus Association (ATA) describes the symptoms as: “the perception of sound when no actual external noise is present. While it is commonly referred to as ‘ringing in the ears’, tinnitus can manifest many different perceptions of sound, including buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing, and clicking. In some rare cases, tinnitus patients report hearing music.”

From the ATA website I have learned there are two different types:

1. Subjective Tinnitus: Head or ear noises that are heard only by the patient. Subjective tinnitus is usually caused by auditory and neurological reactions to hearing loss, but can also be caused by other issues as well. More than 99% of all tinnitus cases are of the subjective variety.

2. Objective Tinnitus: Head or ear noises that are audible to other people, as well as the patient. These sounds are usually produced by internal functions in the body’s circulatory (blood flow) and somatic (musculo-skeletal movement) systems. Objective tinnitus is very rare, representing less than 1% of total tinnitus cases.

Tinnitus is considered a symptom, not a condition. Some of the underlying conditions that could be the cause of the tinnitus are exposure to loud noise, the aging process, or a range of health issues that includes damage to nerves in the brain stem that affect auditory functions. When consulting with your doctor it is important to have other potential causes of hearing loss ruled out. Examples could be excessive ear wax, ototoxic medicine, Ménière’s disease, and other illnesses or tumors.

Even though there is no cure for tinnitus, there are treatments that can help improve quality of life for those with this problem.

People have reported that their symptoms are worse with salt or caffeine, and many eliminate these from their diet.

Others say that singing, watching TV or listening to music helps.

Tinnitus re-training is also available to help tune out the noise.

In some cases, antidepressants are used to help alleviate it.

Since everyone’s condition is different, you should always consult your physician as to which course of action is best for you.

In my case, I experience tinnitus off and on; it is not a constant problem for me. When it does happen it is very annoying and affects my already shaky balance.

If you are affected by tinnitus in any way, please share what works to alleviate the symptoms for you.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


  1. Helen says:

    I was diagnosed with RRMS in 2009. I was also diagnosed with pulsating tinnitus and subjective tinnitus about 1 year ago. I had to have a CTA and regular brain MRI to rule out anything dangerous. The pulsating part went away; I think it was caused by one of my medications. My subjective tinnitus has continued. It is really irritating! They believe it is caused by some hearing loss in the high pitched ranges. A white noise machine helps at night. I am going to try Neuromonics soon. They now offer an “Alleviator” for mobile devices. I hope it helps!

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Thank you for the comment and sharing your experience with us Helen! We also hope that the neuromonics helps as well as the mobile device. Let us know!

  2. Libbie Frank says:

    Has anyone tried pycnogenol (dietary supplement) for tinnitus and did you notice a difference? I was thinking of trying it. I’ve had tinnitus for years,and usually I’m not aware of it, except at night when it’s quiet.

  3. Freya Koss says:

    Individuals who had developed tinnitus and Menier’s disease recovered after having their silver amalgam fillings removed by a dentist trained to safely remove them. Benjamin Zander’s,(conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Symphony) testimony to the FDA: Amalgam Filings and Menier’s Disease.

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Yes, that is something that has helped a few people and something for people to consider talking with their doctor about.

    • Those with Dental Amalgam or Silver Fillings or Gold will have a higher rate of heavy metals induced Tinnitus or the increased chances for the Hitler Phone bridge effect ie Psychotronics via the synergnic inter reaction of non Ionizing radiation v/s those with out. And the variation of induced Mental disorders misdiagnosed from the God effect of Schizoaffective disorders, Note even Post fact the 2013 Minamta Convention the fda or hhs et al still ignores the call to stop the use of Amalgam via the 50% Mercury based nero toxic metal

      Call your senators and demand the pending appointment Confirmation of the new Fcc Commissioners will enforce the sentiment of the 2013 Notice of Inquiry ET Docket 13-84. And thus submit its finding post 1975 and the church Committee for new bill to formally out law the use of Amalgam’s and set a new standard to help help those who have it not be mistreated as Mentally ill and those given the wrong treatment’s etc.

      1st Peter 2:16

      • Karen Wheeler says:

        Once you have the metal fillings removed you have to use chelation to remove the heavy metals, specifically Mercury, from your system. The metals will not leave your body on their own. There are two products we have used to successfully remove the metals from our bodies after having metal fillings removed, Osumex and Zeolite Gold. You should be able to google those products to find a supply for yourself.
        I hope this helps you.


  4. Karin says:

    I have had hyperaccusis, pulsatile tinnitus, middle ear myclonus and radom crackling buzzing noises in right ear for years now. My right cheek and eyelid will also twitch and tremor. OtoNeurologist says it is synkinesis of the 7th and 8th nerves caused by MS.

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Thank you for the comment Karin and sharing your experience. Is there anything that you are able to do now to help with the ringing and buzzing?

    • Judy Lynn says:

      Hi Karin,
      I’m curious about the term “OtoNeurologist”? I have eye twitches and drooping eyelid, as well as occasional complete loss of hearing in that ear. It passes. I’m wondering if this is a specific type of doc that I’m not aware of…

  5. Stephanie Ferguson says:

    I am currently in the process of a diagnosis for my symptoms but have episodes related to MS. When I do have an episode, which is once a month, I experience loud ringing in my right ear, swooshing sounds, which can drowned out any conversation I am engaged in. I also loose some hearing in my right ear which is no fun! I hope my Neuro doctor can help me!

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Thank you for the comment Stephanie… we at MSNews do hope that you are able to get a confirmed diagnosis – to at least get into some treatment to help you. The ringing and swooshing sounds are quite common, but doesn’t make coping with them any easier. Keep us posted.

  6. Lorna says:

    I got pulsatile tinnitus about a month ago. I went to Urgent Care, & they prescribed allergy & sinus meds, which did not help. I was talking to one of my non-MS friends about it, & lo and behold, she had had this too! She said that she tried different things, too, which didn’t help; then she saw an ENT, who put her on a course of steroids, & that worked. I happened to have an unused steroid pack in my medicine cabinet, so I took them. I’m happy to report that the tinnitus went away last week! Hopefully, it stays away ?

  7. Jo Maxwell says:

    Mine is very loud and 24/7. I was told several years ago that I had TMJ and needed braces. $5000 later I still have ringing in my ears. Just one of the many symptoms that were misdiagnosed before I was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis

    • Eva crone says:

      Hi, I’m so sorry to hear that. I also have very loud ringing 24/7 and was just diagnosed with MS. How long have you had the noise?

  8. Nancy G. says:

    For myself, I stumbled upon an effective treatment that reduces and eliminates my tinnitus as long as I take it regularly. When I first experienced tinnitus, it was so distracting and sometimes sounded like a train whistle going right through my head. I was miserable and really could not ignore it. I made an appointment with an ENT to rule out any type of ear infections, blockage, etc. Having passed all hearing tests and exams with flying colors, I accepted my neurologist’s diagnosis of it being related to my MS. Both doctors told me there was no effective treatment for this and trying anything over the counter would just waste my money. Being stubborn and going crazy from the noise, I still tried OTC remedies and of course, wasted my money 🙁 Then I had a major surgery and was put on the pain medication Tramadol HCL 50mg. I noticed that while I was taking this prescription during my recovery, my tinnitus all but disappeared. When I no longer needed it for my recovery, my tinnitus came back as loud as ever. Discussing this with both my GNP and my neurologist, I now continue the Tramadol just once a day and my tinnitus is under control. If I forget to take a pill, my ringing ears remind me loud and clear! I hope this will be encouraging for others to discuss this option with your doctors.

  9. Anabella Marcy says:

    I use aspirin when I get hit with pulsating in my left ear. I’ve also read that Vitamin B and zinc help. I wish everyone success in dealing with this annoying condition.

    • Karen says:

      I have relapsing remitting ms. About 6 months ago i developed a noise in my right ear…rather like a loud car engine idling outside. Driving me crazy. Got worse. Doctor declared it tinnitus. Nothing to be done. After speaking to someone in a health food store who recommended aspirin. By the third dose. Noise completely gone!! What a relief! I have to keep taking it or it comes back. I thought aspirin was a cause of tinnitus? ?? Would this be down to the ms do you think??

  10. Hello I’ve had ringing in my right ear for 2 years now after a bout of severe dizziness that lasted about a week. ENT told me I had BPPD(Benign Paroxysmal Position Disorder) I went thru 3 months of PT and the Epley maneuver treatment. Dizziness went away but ringing stayed. Then they told me they didn’t think it was BPPD but maybe Menneirs or “could be” from the MS. Neuro told me “yes, a lot of things are blamed on MS”… and that was it from him. I also have a cervicle spine condition called OPLL. I have fusion in pretty much whole neck with plates, bars, and screws. Ortho said he doubted ringing in ears is from that. I went to a cardiologist and had several tests and everything was fine (thank goodness) Have tried stopping salt and caffeine. Didn’t help. Looked at all my meds and didn’t see where any had this side effect. So I live with this constant subjective annoying ringing. Any ideas where to go next?!

  11. Tommy says:

    I have a brain injury and was prescribed Amantadine. I was wondering if it can cause ringing ears. I’ve been taking this for about 2 years but just recently noticed the ringing of ears.

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