Q. I’m a 45-year-old man and have been experiencing a continuous humming sound in my ear for nearly a year. I don’t hear it when I’m busy - it is more pronounced when there is silence.

A. Noise levels have increased manifold in recent years – in shops and restaurants, in schools and at work, on trains and planes and even in the countryside. Auditory experts fear we are heading for a tinnitus time bomb.

Tinnitus involves the annoying sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. Tinnitus may be present all of the time, or intermittently. Common causes of tinnitus are age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noise, earwax blockage, otosclerosis (stiffening of the bones in the middle ear). Meniere’s disease (an inner ear disorder), stress, head or neck injuries, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, certain antibiotics and diuretics can also cause ear ringing.

To treat your tinnitus, your doctor will first try to identify any underlying, treatable

conditions that may be associated with your symptoms. However, in many cases, the cause of tinnitus is never found.

Ayurvedic medicines and oil therapies such as Abhyanga, Shirodhara, Nasya, Sirovasthy, Karna poorana and Kabala could help tinnitus. Consult an ayurvedic practitioner for a detailed diagnosis.

You could also try these treatments.

  • Try applying ksheerabala thailam or sesame oil on your scalp before showering.
  • Reduce your exposure to loud noises. Try not to worry about tinnitus. The more you worry and concentrate on the noise, the louder it will become. In a quiet setting, mask tinnitus with the sound of a fan or soft music.
  • Stress management, through massages, meditation, exercise or yoga, may provide some relief.
  • Decrease your salt intake.
  • Avoid long spells in front of computer or television screens.

Dr VL Shyam is a Dubai-based Ayurvedic practitioner.