Tinnitus and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are both very common conditions. While research has yet to establish a definitive link between the two conditions, there are reasons to believe having GERD may increase your risk of experiencing tinnitus.
What Is GERD?
GERD, also commonly referred to as acid reflux, occurs when stomach acid flows back into your esophagus. It can cause symptoms including, but not limited to, heartburn, sore throat, hoarseness and postnasal drip.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is often described as a ringing in the ear. However, others experience a hissing, buzzing, roaring, sizzling, clicking or other noise. It can be acute, lasting only a few minutes to a few days, or it can be chronic, lasting months or even years.
It is a symptom of another condition rather than an illness in and of itself. Finding and treating the cause of tinnitus can help relieve your symptoms.
GERD, Hearing Loss, and Tinnitus
While research hasn’t linked tinnitus and GERD directly, studies have found that people who experience a high frequency of acid reflux symptoms seem to be at a greater risk of hearing loss. This may be because GERD can expose your middle ear to gastric acid. Tinnitus is very common in people with hearing loss, so it stands to reason that frequent acid reflux may increase your risk for tinnitus as well as hearing loss.
Treat GERD To Reduce Risk of Tinnitus
Treating GERD may reduce your likelihood of experiencing hearing loss and tinnitus. While both over-the-counter and prescription medications may be needed, lifestyle changes can also improve your reflux symptoms. These include:
- Changing your diet to cut out acid reflux triggers
- Minimizing your intake of coffee and carbonated beverages
- Eating smaller meals
- Sleeping on your left side or elevating the head of your bed
Managing Tinnitus Symptoms
Sometimes you may not be able to determine the cause of your tinnitus. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to just suffer from symptoms. Tinnitus treatment options include:
- Acoustic therapy that masks tinnitus with white noise or other sounds
- Tinnitus retraining therapy
- Hearing aids (if related to hearing loss)
- Stress management techniques like breathing exercises or taking a gentle class at East Eagle Yoga
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, contact Pinnacle ENT today.