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EAR DISORDERS

The ears do not just detect auditory sounds and send the messages to the brain, they are also involved in balance and positioning of the body. The ear has an external, middle and inner part.

Sound funnels through the pinna (outer ear) into the external auditory canal that ends at the eardrum (tympanic membrane). Sound causes the eardrum and its tiny attached bones in the middle portion of the ear to vibrate and the vibrations are conducted to the nearby cochlea. The spiral-shaped cochlea is part of the inner ear; it transforms sound into nerve impulses that travel to the brain.

The fluid-filled semi-circular canals (labyrinth) attach to the cochlea and nerves in the inner ear. They send information on balance and head position to the brain. The Eustachian (auditory) tube drains excess fluid from the middle ear into the throat (pharynx) behind the nose.

The natural aging process can result in deterioration of the cochlea and other parts of the ear.

The human ear
Click to enlarge

 

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CONDITIONS THAT CAN AFFECT THE EARS

NOTE: Only the most common ones or those that nature can provide prevention or cures for are covered here.

ACOUSTIC NEUROMA

Acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous tumour that grows on the nerve which travels from the ear to the brain. Hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo can be symptoms.

AGE RELATED HEARING LOSS

Hearing loss due to age is known as presbycusis which comes from the Greek presbys meaning “elder” and akousis meaning “hearing”. It involves bilateral high-frequency hearing loss associated with difficulty in speech discrimination and central auditory processing of information. Presbycusis is common, affecting a third of people between 65 and 75 years and up to a half of people 75 and over and is often a genetic condition. See Nature Cures for all ear conditions below

BAROTITIS MEDIA

Barotitis media is an inflammation of the ear caused by changes in atmospheric pressure which leads to popping noises and pain in the ears and can cause dental pain. It is also called aerotitis and happens most commonly during flying and deep sea diving. Allergies or infections of the sinuses can make the condition worse as can an acute upper respiratory infection.

PREVENTION OF BAROTITIS MEDIA

Frequent yawning or closed-nose swallowing during descent when flying, decongestant nasal sprays and antihistamines taken before or during flight often prevent or relieve this condition. Infants are particularly susceptible to barotitis media and should be given oral fluids or feeding during flight descent to encourage swallowing. Chewing of gum or hard sweets such as toffee are often even more effective than eating for older children and adults.

CAULIFLOWER EAR

Cauliflower ear is usually caused by repeated trauma or blows to the ear during boxing or rugby sports but it can also be the result of infection of the ear lobes or through piercings to the top of the ear. The blood flow becomes blocked and the affected cartilage may die and, without the supportive tissue, fold in on itself. Scar tissue then forms, contributing to a swollen and deformed ‘cauliflower-type’ appearance. Over time, the effects become more prominent and may become permanent.

The development of cauliflower ear can be prevented surgically when the trauma has just happened. A doctor can make a small incision and drain accumulating blood or remove a clot and prevent further bleeding. The wound is then stitched and a pressure dressing is applied. It must be monitored closely to ensure there is no infection.

CHOLESTEATOMA

Cholesteatoma is a benign condition and is caused by the build-up of fibrous tissue within the middle ear and surrounding bones. Often there is a foul smelling discharge associated with hearing loss. Dizziness and facial paralysis can develop also. To help prevent cholesteatomas occurring or re-occurring it is of the utmost importance to ensure that the Eustachian tubes are kept clear. This means watching for any intolerance to dairy proteins which can cause an excessive mucus build-up and avoiding colds, flus and allergies. A mild heating balm such as eucalyptus rubbed around and below the ears can help improve drainage of the Eustachian tubes. Allergies can be reduced by consuming foods rich in quercetin. See also Allergies.

CRADLE CAP See Nature Cures For Babies

EAR WAX COMPACTION

 Ear wax (cerumen) may block the ear canal and adhere to the eardrum. The eardrum’s reduced vibrations impair hearing. Warm olive oil dripped into the ear whilst the head is laying on one side then left for five minutes before turning the head so that the oil can run out can remove compacted ear wax but often the ear may need syringing by a doctor.

HERPES ZOSTER OTICUS

Herpes zoster oticus is a viral infection of the ears. See Herpes

LABYRINTHITIS

Labyrinthitis is swelling and inflammation of the labyrinth, part of the inner ear that helps control balance. The inflammation may cause dizziness and a spinning or whirling feeling and it can also cause temporary hearing loss or a ringing in the ears or tinnitus and nausea. Labyrinthitis most commonly happens after a viral infection or, more rarely, after an infection caused by bacteria. It has also been known to develop after glandular fever, measles or mumps.

As well as dizziness, vertigo and hearing problems, it may cause pain in the ears, nausea, a fever, sight problems and neck pain. There may also be fluid or pus seeping out of an ear. It usually goes away on its own after three to eight weeks but sometimes the effects are more severe and longer-lasting.

The dizziness and vertigo symptoms can be worsened by alcohol, bright lights, chocolate, coffee, noise or smoking tobacco so it may help to avoid or reduce these triggers. As with other ear conditions, a cleansing and detoxifying regime is best tried first to flush out toxins. See also Nature Cures For All Ear Conditions below.

MASTOIDITIS

Mastoiditis is an infection of the mastoid bone, just behind the ear and can result from untreated otitis media middle ear infection. It causes inflammation of the mastoid and surrounding tissues and may lead to bony destruction. It is a rare condition and is more common in children than adults and symptoms are recurrent ear pain and headaches and bouts of fever.

MÉNIÈRES DISEASE

Ménière’s disease is a condition that affects the inner ear. It causes attacks of dizziness (vertigo), nausea and vomiting, a feeling of fullness in the ear, hissing and roaring in the ears and some hearing loss. The disease comes on without warning. It may come and go over a person's lifetime. It often leaves no lasting symptoms in between attacks and people with it can live perfectly normal lives.

The cause of Ménière's disease is unknown. The symptoms are believed to be related to having too much fluid in the inner ear. Occasionally, this potassium-rich fluid breaks the inner ear membrane and leaks into the potassium-poor outer fluid. This mixing causes a chemical reaction that paralyses the balance system in the inner ear until the fluid balance becomes normal again. The dizzy spells caused by this disease may affect driving or operating of machinery so caution should be taken.

OTITIS EXTERNA (swimmer's ear)

Otitis externa is also known as ‘swimmer’s ear’ and is inflammation or infection of the outer ear (pinna and ear canal). Sudden cases are usually infections while chronic otitis is often a skin condition (dermatitis). Warm olive oil is one remedy that can help clear up infection. See Nature Cures for all Ear Disorders below.

OTITIS MEDIA (glue ear)

Also known as ‘glue ear’, otitis media is a build-up of fluid causing inflammation and infection of the middle ear (behind the eardrum) and must not be left untreated as it can lead to infection of the mastoid bone. Acid reflux and food allergies can cause glue ear and certain foods may trigger the production of excess fluid in the middle ear cavity and/or the Eustachian tube (serous otitis media). This fluid can become infected and cause hissing and popping noises, discomfort and some hearing loss.

Try eliminating the common food allergens such as corn, egg, milk, soya, wheat and yeast one by one to see if this rectifies the condition.

OTOSCLEROSIS

Otosclerosis is a disease of the bone surrounding the inner ear which is hereditary. It can cause hearing loss when abnormal bone forms around the stapes, reducing the sound that reaches the inner ear. This is called conductive hearing loss. Less frequently, it can interfere with the inner ear nerve cells and affect the production of the nerve signal. This is called sensorineural hearing loss. It usually begins in the teens or early twenties and some research suggests a relationship between otosclerosis and the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy. Currently there is no cure but a surgical stapedotomy may be performed to try to improve hearing.

PERFORATED EARDRUM

Foreign objects, infection, sudden changes in air pressure and very loud noises can tear the eardrum. The small hole usually heals within a few weeks. Coming up to the surface too quickly when deep sea diving is one of the most common causes of this condition.

TINNITUS

Tinnitus is a hearing disorder that can subject the sufferer to all sorts of bizarre ear noises. The most common source: Nerves and special nerve endings inside the inner ear simply wear out with age and overexposure to loud noise. That means the inner ear may be sending phantom or fake sounds to the brain. There can be pulsations from blood vessels or twitching of muscles in the ear, and they will make a fluttering, pulsating or clicking sound. Ringing, buzzing, or sounds like cicadas or crickets are all described by tinnitus sufferers.

Causes of tinnitus

An earache, medications, a bacterial infection, fungal infection, fluid in the middle ear, a hole in the eardrum or a big plug of wax can cause tinnitus, as can neck or jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint syndrome or injuries to the head and neck.

 Otosclerosis, a disease that results in stiffening of the small bones in the middle ear, is another cause, as is Ménière’s disease, a somewhat rare and mysterious ailment that attacks the inner ear. In a tiny fraction of cases, the problem could be the result of a tumour on the auditory nerve of the inner ear.  Other medical conditions that can also cause ear problems such as tinnitus are:

Other causes of tinnitus

A hole in the eardrum, fluid in the middle ear or wax compaction can be causes of tinnitus.

Loud sounds

Prolonged exposure to loud sounds is the most common cause of tinnitus. Up to 90% of people with tinnitus have some level of noise-induced hearing loss. The noise causes permanent damage to the sound-sensitive cells of the cochlea, a spiral-shaped organ in the inner ear. Carpenters, landscapers, pilots, rock musicians, road repair workers and anyone else using loud heavy machinery such as chain saws, guns or other noisy devices or those who repeatedly listen to very loud music. A single exposure to a sudden extremely loud noise can also cause tinnitus. In many instances, (except when it is infection or drug-related) tinnitus is simply not treatable, although a nutritious balanced diet can help.

Loudness of a sound is measured in decibels (dB). Exposure to noise at or above 85 dB can damage hearing. Loud music at clubs, gigs and festivals, and through the headphones of personal music players, can all cause damage to the hearing and lead to tinnitus and hearing loss of the top range of sounds.

Average decibel levels

  •   60 dB Normal spoken conversation

  •   70 dB City street with high traffic

  • 100 dB Pneumatic drill

  • 100 dB Maximum volume on some MP3 players

  • 110 dB Night club

  • 115 dB Rock concert

  • 120 dB Aeroplane taking off

Medications, most notably aspirin, several types of antibiotics, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory, sedatives and as well as quinine medications. Tinnitus is cited as a potential side effect for about 200 prescription and recreational drugs.

Menière's disease, a rare and mysterious ailment that attacks the inner ear, has also been known to cause tinnitus. In a tiny fraction of cases, the problem could be the result of a tumour on the auditory nerve of the inner ear.

Neck or jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint syndrome or injuries to the head and neck.

Otosclerosis, a disease that results in stiffening of the small bones in the middle ear.

Ways to cut down noise for tinnitus sufferers

Avoid too much aspirin
Large doses of aspirin can make tinnitus worse, although doctors aren't sure why. One or two aspirin aren't going to do it, but if taking eight to ten aspirin every day, that could be part of the problem.

Stop smoking
The nicotine in cigarettes acts as a stimulant, forcing the auditory nerve in your inner ear to fire. If you're suffering from tinnitus, that's roughly the equivalent of someone banging garbage can lids together inside your brain.

Halt the salt
Excess salt (sodium) causes fluid retention within the ear, which can result in swelling and pressure against the hearing organs. And that can contribute to tinnitus, hearing loss and dizziness. Most processed food has extra salt added so avoid that. Some natural foods also have high sodium content. See sodium for foods to avoid for a week to see if it makes a difference.

Cut back on caffeine
The stimulant, caffeine, also aggravates tinnitus. Drink other beverages instead of fizzy drinks and coffee. See Dangers of Coffee.

Avoid loud sounds
Loud sounds can exacerbate tinnitus, so it is best to avoid them. If you cannot avoid loud noises, at least wear earplugs.

Drown out the sound
Many people who have tinnitus report that they don't notice their symptoms when they're in the shower. The noise of the water apparently covers the sound. Because the sound of water works so well, some doctors also recommend that their patients record the sound of water pouring out of the faucet and play it just before they go to sleep or whenever they need relief.

Try biofeedback
During a study, 80 percent of people who received 12 biofeedback training sessions over a six-week period actually suffered 80 percent less ringing in their ears. Those who participated in the study learned through biofeedback how to relax the muscles in their foreheads—muscles that are commonly tightened when you're under stress. There's a common connection between stress and increased tinnitus. During biofeedback, electronic sensors placed on your body measure your stress reactions like heart rate, perspiration and muscular tension. Using relaxation techniques taught during your biofeedback training, you may be able to lower those reactions, and in this case reduce your tinnitus. Ask your doctor to recommend someone who can give you biofeedback training.  

Buy a masking device
Several electronics manufacturers sell inexpensive units that help mask tinnitus by producing white noise. If you don't want to lay out the extra cash, you can get somewhat the same effect by tuning an FM radio to pick up static.

Banish earwax
If a build-up of earwax is causing the problem warm olive oil or garlic as an infusion oil dripped into the ear while the head is on its side may dislodge the wax and allow it to run out when the head is turned onto the other side.

Foods that can aggravate tinnitus are alcohol, coffee, saturated fats, dairy products, sugar, refined table salt, processed and fast-foods, tea, sweets, and alcohol, as these foods can result in low blood sugar.

B vitamins help reduce and prevent inflammation. Vitamin B12 is a considered to be essential for combating tinnitus because it is essential for the formation of the myelin sheaths that surround and protect nerve fibres. B12 deficiency can make nerves more susceptible to inflammatory damage. Alcohol and many medications and recreational drugs cause a deficiency in the B vitamins particularly vitamin B12. In older adults, atrophic gastritis hampers the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from natural foods. Vegetarians, vegans, pregnant and lactating women and those who regularly partake in intense physical activities such as, sports or dancing, can also be deficient in vitamin B12. Severe deficiency may result in pernicious anaemia also called Addisonian pernicious anaemia.

Highest sources of vitamin B12 in micrograms per 100 grams

  • Clams 98.9 μg

  • Liver 83.1 μg

  • Barley grass juice 80 μg

  • Nori seaweed 63.6 μg

  • Octopus 36 μg

  • Caviar/fish eggs 20.0 μg

  • Ashitaba powder 17.0 μg

  • Herring 13.7 μg

  • Tuna fish 10.9 μg

  • Crab 10.4 μg

  • Mackerel 8.7 μg

  • Lean grass fed beef 8.2 μg

  • Duck eggs, goose eggs, rabbit 6 μg

  • Crayfish, pork heart, rainbow trout 5 μg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 4.8 μg

  • Lobster 4 μg

  • Lamb, venison 3.7 μg

  • Swiss Cheese 3.3 μg

  • Salmon 3.2 μg

  • Whey powder 2.37 μg

  • Golden chanterelle mushrooms 2 μg

  • Tuna 1.9 μg

  • Halibut 1.2 μg

  • Chicken egg 1.1 μg

  • Chicken, turkey 1.0 μg

NOTE: One μg is one microgram.

NOTE: High sodium foods can cause tinnitus therefore it is best to avoid adding salt to any meals..

USHER'S SYNDROME

Usher's syndrome is a hereditary condition characterised by hearing loss or deafness and progressive vision loss caused by retinitis pigmentosa. Many people also have severe balance problems. Usually, parents who have normal hearing and vision do not know if they are carriers of an Usher syndrome gene mutation and, currently, it is not possible to determine whether a person who does not have a family history of Usher syndrome is a carrier. Unfortunately, there is not yet a cure or specific treatment for this condition.

WARTHIN'S TUMOUR

Warthin's tumour (papillary cystadenoma lymphomatosum) is a benign salivary (parotid) gland tumour.

 

Symptoms of Warthin's tumour

  • Earache

  • Facial nerve paralysis

  • Fluid draining from the ear

  • Impaired hearing

  • Jaw pain

  • Lump near back of lower jaw

  • Pain in cheek, jaw, mouth or neck (that does not go away)

  • Sensation of pressure

  • Swollen salivary gland

  • Tinnitus

  • Trouble opening the mouth widely

  • Trouble swallowing

The treatment for this is generally surgery to remove the parotid gland if symptoms worsen. Although a benign tumour is not cancerous, meaning it will not spread to other parts of the body, it may continue to grow and become more painful and debilitating as it can affect the facial nerves. Adding the following natural foods to the diet may help to diminish the growth:

  • Almonds

  • Apple cider vinegar, lemon and honey: Take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, one half of a freshly squeezed lemon and a teaspoon of honey in a glass or warm water upon waking daily before eating or drinking anything else.

  • Ash gourd

  • Barley

  • Bicarbonate of soda may help to alkalise the body which can reduce growth of tumours but caution should be taken as it is high in sodium which those with high blood pressure should avoid. Otherwise take one half teaspoon ever few days in some milk or water. Bicarbonate of soda mixed with coconut oil makes a very good alternative toothpaste.

  • Brazil nuts (2 per day)

  • Brown rice

  • Corn

  • Eggs

  • Garlic (three cloves per day). Allow to stand for ten minutes after chopping to give time for the allicin to be produced).

  • Grapes: (black) The mineral compounds iridium and rhodium in grape seeds and colloidal gold in black grape skins have been proven to reduce tumours and so should be consumed daily.

  • Green tea (Three cups per day with honey and lemon)

  • Hemp seeds (one tablespoon per day with husks ground into meals)

  • Honey

  • Krill oil (one 1000 mg capsule daily) will provide omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and astaxanthin which is the most powerful antioxidant known.

  • Lemon (one per day and the zest of half a lemon grated onto meals daily)

  • Nectarines

  • Oats

  • Octopus

  • Okra

  • Peas

  • Peaches

  • Psyllium husks: one tablespoon per day with a large glass of water or sprinkled on to meals.

  • Rice bran oil and sesame oil, used together for cooking, have shown to be beneficial when trying to reduce tumours in some people.

  • Safflower

  • Soya beans

  • Sunflower seeds (one small handful per day)

  • Tomatoes (cooked and consumed with a little sesame oil)

What to avoid with Warthin's tumour

  • Alcohol

  • Excessive consumption of iron-rich foods

  • Processed and refined foods

  • Sugar

  • Tobacco smoking

Highest sources of iron in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Black pepper, marjoram, parsley, spinach, thyme 224 mg

  • Spirulina 29 mg

  • Clams 28 mg

  • Bran 19 mg

  • Liver 18 mg

  • Squash and pumpkin seeds 15 mg

  • Caviar 12 mg

  • Hemp seeds 9.6 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 9 mg

  • Cashew nuts 6.7 mg

  • Dried apricot 6.3 mg

  • Wheat 6.3 mg

  • Black strap molasses 4.7 mg

  • Prunes 3.5 mg

  • Artichokes 3.4 mg

  • Prawns 3.1 mg

  • Lean beef 2.9 mg

  • Turkey 2.3mg

  • Raisins 1.9 mg

  • Chicken 1.3 mg

  • Tuna 1.3 mg

Get checked for vitamin deficiencies, especially vitamin B12 and particularly if taking any medications.

 

Also get tested for vitamin D deficiency.

 

See more on the Cancer page.

Natural remedies for all ear disorders

In many instances, (except when it is infection or drug related) tinnitus is simply not treatable although a good diet, including the natural foods below, can help. Try to include many of the foods below in the daily diet to benefit from their powerful properties and help flush out toxins which can also cause ear problems. Eating a multitude of fibre rich whole grains, fruits and vegetables per day (not just five) will help to readdress any balance in nutrients and provide nourishment for the friendly bacteria in the intestines. They are responsible for a multitude of tasks including; preventing infections, viruses, yeasts and fungi from taking over and creating the components required for healthy bones, organs, blood and tissues all over the body.

A cleanse and detoxifying regime should be undertaken first to flush out any toxins which can cause ear problems. See Cleanse and Detoxify.

Then the diet should include plenty of fibre-rich whole grains and all colours of fruits and vegetables each day which will help to readdress any nutrient imbalance and provide nourishment for the beneficial bacteria in the intestines. They are responsible for many tasks, including; preventing infections, viruses, yeasts and fungi from taking over and creating the components required for healthy bones, organs, blood and tissues all over the body including the ears.

Basil made into a tea and three cups drunk daily has been proven to help reduce hearing loss in the elderly. Freshly squeezed lemon and a teaspoon of honey can be added for additional benefit and taste improvement.

Fruit: Blend fruits together, especially berries, lemon, orange, papaya and tangerine with nutmeg, cinnamon and honey, to provide a tasty nutritious smoothie. Add live probiotic yoghurt to smoothies for added nutritional benefit and a creamy texture.

Gingko biloba has been proven to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus and reduce hearing loss due to its ability to improve circulation.

Echinacea, garlic, plantain and thyme, taken as teas, can help fortify the immune system and fight off ear infections.

See

Kudzu root extract has been successfully used to treat tinnitus.

Myrrh has proven a useful and effective herb for hearing disorders.

Propolis and olive oil can be very effective in clearing up infections of the ears. Warm them gently over a low heat then drip a few drops into the ear with the head on one side. Let it sit for a few minutes then turn the head over on a towel and allow to run back out.

Nutrients required to prvent and treat ear disorders

Alpha lipoic acid rich foods can help to prevent age-related hearing loss.

B vitamins especially B1,  B2,  B6 and B9 and B12 are all essential for ear health.

Minerals required to prevent and treat ear disorders

Boron

Studies show that the mineral boron must be added to the list with essential minerals because it is responsible for keeping the calcium levels in the body the balanced. It is responsible for the structure and maintenance of strong bones reducing the chance of developing ear disorders. Deficiency of boron can cause growth arrests and an imbalance of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus and increased effect of stress on the body. To gain sufficient boron from plants and vegetables they have to be grown in boron rich soil.

NOTE: Supplements are not advised as toxicity can be harmful, symptoms are: red rash, vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased blood circulation, shock followed by coma. Symptoms occur at doses of approximately100 milligrams. A dose of 15 to 20 grams is fatal and for children three to six grams is fatal.

Natural sources of boron in alphabetical order

  • Almonds

  • Apples (red)

  • Avocados

  • Bananas

  • Broccoli

  • Carrots

  • Chick peas

  • Grapes (red)

  • Honey

  • Legumes

  • Onions

  • Oranges

  • Pears

  • Prunes

  • Raisins

  • Potatoes

  • Parsnips

  • Walnuts

Calcium

Calcium also plays a role in many other vital physiological activities, including blood clotting, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, regulation of enzyme activity, cell membrane function and blood pressure regulation. Because these activities are essential to life, the body utilises complex regulatory systems to tightly control the amount of calcium in the blood, so that sufficient calcium is always available. As a result, when dietary intake of calcium is too low to maintain adequate blood levels, calcium stores are drawn out of the bones to maintain normal blood concentrations. This can have an effect on the ear bones too. Copper, together with zinc, improves the absorption of vitamin D which aids in the absorption of calcium.

 

Highest sources of calcium in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Dried herbs such as basil, dill, marjoram, rosemary and thyme 2113 mg

  • Cheese such as goat’s, gruyere, parmesan, Romano and Swiss 1376 mg

  • Sesame seeds 975 mg

  • Mozzarella cheese 961 mg

  • Tinned fish with bones such as sardines, mackerel and pilchards 383 mg

  • Tofu 372 mg

  • Almonds 264 mg

  • Flaxseeds 255 mg

  • Anchovies 232 mg

  • Chlorella 221mg

  • Mussels 180 mg

  • Oysters 170 mg

  • Brazil nuts 160 mg

  • Prawns 150 mg

  • Tripe 150 mg

  • Scallops, spirulina and watercress 120 mg

  • Whole milk and whole yoghurt 113 mg

  • Chinese cabbage 105 mg

  • Dark green leafy vegetables such as dandelion greens, kale, spinach, Swiss chard and turnip greens  99 mg

  • Okra 77 mg

  • Soya beans 75 mg

  • Boneless fish such as bass, herring, pike, perch, pollock and rainbow trout 74 mg

  • Kidney beans 70 mg

  • Eggs 60 mg

  • Broccoli 47 mg

The daily requirement of calcium is reported to be around 400 mg to 600 mg for an adult between 30 and 50. 1000 mg for growing children, adults up to 30 and over 50 and pregnant or lactating women. 1000 mg per day is also required by male female and athletes and up to 3000 mg may be required by athletes in competitive sports.

 

Copper

 

Copper helps with the maintenance and development of bones, tendons and connective tissues and is therefore important for those with ear disorders. Copper, together with zinc improves the absorption of vitamin D, the vitamin which aids in the absorption of calcium. Copper and zinc are antagonists, and the balance between them is an example of biological dualism which means they must be consumed in balanced measures as they have an effect on each other.

 

An intake of too much zinc, which is a key ingredient in some over-the-counter cold remedies, can cause irreversible neurological ailments associated with copper deficiency. Likewise too much copper can displace zinc in the body and cause the zinc deficiency symptoms.

 

By wearing a copper bracelet on the skin, some copper is taken up in the body. Cooking with copper pots and pans also provides some copper to the diet. It is important that zinc rich foods (see below) are also consumed when adding extra copper to the diet.

 

Highest sources of copper in milligrams per 200 calorie serving
 

  • Clams 49 mg

  • Calf’s liver 17 mg

  • Beef 17 mg

  • Oysters (raw) 13 mg

  • Lamb 10 mg

  • Duck 9 mg

  • Himalayan pink salt crystals 6 mg

  • Sea salt (unrefined) 6 mg

  • Spirulina 5 mg

  • Chlorella 5 mg

  • Squid 4 mg

  • Lobster 4 mg

  • Mushrooms (Crimini) 4 mg

  • Mushrooms (Shiitake) 3 mg

  • Basil 3 mg

  • Cocoa (organic) 3 mg

  • Capers 3 mg

  • Mineral water 3 mg

  • Apple cider vinegar 3 mg

  • Chamomile tea 3 mg

  • Lemons 3 mg

  • Chicory greens 3 mg

  • Turnip greens 3 mg

  • Crab 2 mg

  • Squid 2 mg

  • Potatoes (with skins) 2 mg

  • Coriander 2 mg

  • Asparagus 2 mg

  • Swiss chard 2 mg

  • Winged beans 2 mg

  • Beetroot greens 2mg

Magnesium

Magnesium can help to protect the ears against noise-related and age-related hearing loss. Magnesium is involved in the formation of strong bones and teeth and is active as an assistant cofactor of the B and C vitamins. The adult human body contains about 25 g of this mineral and the greater part of this amount is present in bones in combination with phosphate and carbonate. It is estimated that 80% of the population of western countries are magnesium deficient due to today's intensive farming techniques which have stripped the soil of its magnesium content. Heavy drinkers and alcoholics often show a low plasma magnesium concentration and a high urinary output. Deficiency can cause problems with bones, joints and cause ear and hearing disorders.

Highest sources of magnesium in milligrams per 100 grams
 

  • Rice bran 781 mg

  • Basil, coriander, dill and sage 694 mg

  • Hemp seeds 640 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 535 mg

  • Raw cocoa 499 mg

  • Flaxseeds 392 mg

  • Brazil nuts 376 mg

  • Sesame seeds 353 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 346 mg

  • Chia seeds 335 mg

  • Chlorella 315 mg

  • Wheat germ 313 mg

  • Cashew nuts 292 mg

  • Almonds 268 mg

  • Caraway seeds 258 mg

  • Black strap molasses and dulse 242 mg

  • Buckwheat 231 mg

  • Spirulina 189 mg

  • Oats 177 mg

  • Durum wheat 144 mg

  • Macadamia nuts 130 mg

  • Adzuki beans 127 mg

  • Kelp 121 mg

  • Millet 114 mg

  • Kale 88 mg

  • Amaranth 65 mg

  • Globe artichoke 60 mg

  • Okra and nettles 57 mg

  • Chestnuts 54 mg

  • Rocket 47 mg

  • Dates 43 mg

  • Plantain 37 mg

  • Lentils 36 mg

  • Butternut squash 34 mg

  • Coconut 32 mg

  • Potatoes with skin 30 mg

  • Passion fruit 29 mg

  • Savoy cabbage, halibut 28 mg

  • Bananas, rabbit 27 mg

  • Green beans 25 mg

  • Peas 24 mg

  • Raspberries 22 mg

  • Guava 22 mg

  • Blackberries 20 mg

  • Courgettes 18 mg

  • Kiwi fruit, fennel, figs 17 mg

  • Endive 15 mg

  • Cucumber, lettuce 13 mg

Potassium

Potassium is very important for ear health and can be lacking in the diet due to intense farming techniques that strip it from the soil that food crops are grown in. Intensive physical activity, old age, drinking alcohol and taking some medications can also cause the body to have lower levels of potassium in which case at least one of the following potassium rich foods should be consumed daily. Potassium deficiency may also occur due to diuretic medications or during gastrointestinal disturbances with severe vomiting and diarrhoea, diabetic acidosis and potassium losing nephritis.

Highest sources of potassium in milligrams per 100 grams

 

  • Dried basil, chervil, coriander, dill, parsley 4240 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 3427 mg

  • Turmeric 2,525 mg

  • Raw cocoa 2509 mg

  • Whey powder 2289 mg

  • Paprika and chilli powder 2280 mg

  • Yeast extract 2100 mg

  • Soya beans 1,797 mg

  • Cumin 1,788 mg

  • Fennel seeds 1,694 mg

  • Rice bran 1,485 mg

  • Black strap molasses 1464 mg

  • Kidney beans 1,406

  • Dried soya beans 1364 mg

  • Spirulina 1,363 mg

  • Coriander seeds 1,267 mg

  • Apricots dried 1,162 mg

  • Rabbit stewed 1026 mg

  • Pistachio nuts 1007 mg

  • Squash and pumpkin seeds 919 mg

  • Chick peas 875 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 850 mg

  • Raisins 749 mg

  • Prunes 732 mg

  • Almonds 705 mg

  • Dates 696 mg

  • Whelks 694 mg

  • Dried figs 680 mg

  • Cashew nuts 660 mg

  • Peanut butter 649 mg

  • Clams 628 mg

  • Watermelon seeds 648 mg

  • Pine nuts 597 mg

  • Chestnuts 592 mg

  • Spinach raw 558 mg

  • Anchovies 544 mg

  • Baked potatoes 535 mg

  • Coriander leaves 521 mg

  • Mackerel 520 mg

  • Breadfruit 490 mg

  • Avocados 485 mg

  • Sweet potato baked 475 mg

  • Sesame seeds 468 mg

  • Spinach boiled 466 mg

  • Walnuts 441mg

  • Soya sauce 435 mg

  • Black beans 431 mg

  • Cinnamon 431 mg

  • Pork 423 mg

  • Potatoes 421 mg

  • Guava 417 mg

  • Fennel 414 mg

  • Bulgur wheat 410 mg

  • Garlic 401 mg

  • Brussel sprouts (juiced raw) 389 mg

  • Lentils cooked 369 mg

  • Salmon 363 mg

  • Bananas 358 mg

  • Coconut 356 mg

  • Nutmeg 350 mg

  • Passion fruit 348 mg

  • Green chilli peppers 340 mg

  • Sweet potatoes 337 mg

  • Venison 335 mg

  • Watercress 330 mg

  • Carrots 320 mg

  • Bass 328 mg

  • Red chilli peppers 322 mg

  • Black currants 322 mg

  • Mushrooms 318 mg

  • Brussel sprouts boiled 317 mg

  • Kiwi fruit 316 mg

  • Lamb 310 mg

  • Beef lean 318 mg

  • Cannellini beans 307 mg

  • Sweet corn 287 mg

  • Bread bread 285 mg

  • Butternut squash baked 284 mg

  • Soda bread 266 mg

  • Coconut milk 263 mg

  • Apricots 259 mg

  • Coconut water 250 mg

  • Peas 240 mg

  • Sweet potato boiled 230 mg

  • Chicken 223 mg

  • Goat's milk 204 mg

  • Orange juice 200 mg

  • Grapes 191 mg

  • Peaches 190 mg

  • Oranges 181 mg

  • Clementine's 177 mg

  • Bell pepper green raw 175 mg

  • Cabbage 170 mg

  • Bell peppers green (boiled) 166 mg

  • Blackberries 162 mg

  • Plums 157 mg

  • Raspberries 151 mg

  • Milk semi-skimmed 150 mg

  • Onions 146 mg

  • Cauliflower boiled 142 mg

  • Yoghurt 141 mg

  • Lemon 138 mg

  • Grapefruit 135 mg

  • Butternut squash boiled 133 mg

  • Milk (whole) 132 mg

  • Sour dough bread 128 mg

  • Eggs 126 mg

  • White bread 115 mg

  • Balsamic vinegar 112 mg

  • Apples 107 mg

  • Cottage cheese 104 mg

  • Blueberries 77 mg

  • Apple cider vinegar mg

  • Oats 61 mg

  • Cous cous 58 mg

  • Honey 52 mg

  • Brown rice 43 mg

  • Butter 24 mg

  • Pasta 24 mg

  • White rice 20 mg

  • Tofu 20 mg

  • Sugar 2 mg

  • Olive oil 1 mg

  • Sesame oil 0 mg

 

Phosphorus

 

Phosphorous combines with calcium to create the calcium-phosphorus balance necessary for the growth of bones and teeth and in the formation of nerve cells and is important for the health of the ears. Calcium cannot achieve its objectives unless phosphorous is also present in a proper balance. Too much phosphorous, though, can cause diarrhoea and calcification (hardening) of organs and soft tissue and can interfere with the body's ability to use iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. It is a matter of getting the balance right which is why supplementation is not advised.

 

Phosphorous, in the form of phosphate or phosphoric acid, is often added to processed foods and carbonated soft drinks and, because too much phosphorous can reduce the amount of calcium that the body absorbs leading to brittle and porous bones and ear disorders, it is important to eliminate these foods and drinks from the diet.

 

Highest sources of phosphorus in milligrams per 100 grams

 

  • Baking powder 6869 mg

  • Pumpkin seeds 1233 mg

  • Whey powder 932 mg

  • Poppy seeds 849 mg

  • Mustard seeds 828 mg

  • Parmesan cheese 807 mg

  • Brazil nuts 725 mg

  • Raw cocoa powder 734 mg

  • Soya beans 637 mg

  • Cashew nuts 593 mg

  • Beef liver 497 mg

  • Sardines 490 mg

  • Caviar 356 mg

  • Tempeh 266 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 356 mg

  • Brown rice 360 mg

  • Buckwheat 319 mg

  • Dried shiitake mushrooms 294 mg

  • Anchovies 252 mg

  • Portobello mushrooms 108 mg

  • White mushrooms 105 mg

  • Water cress 60 mg

Zinc

Zinc can help to improve ear disorders as it is involved in processes that affect all the senses. If an individual ingests excessive amounts of alcohol, caffeine, drugs (especially diuretics) or sugar it is more than likely that a zinc deficiency will develop. Low zinc levels can also cause liver deterioration and diminished functioning of the reproductive organs, immune system and skin.

Highest sources of zinc in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Oysters 78.6 mg

  • Chlorella 71 mg

  • Wheat germ 16.7 mg

  • Beef 12.3 mg

  • Calf's liver 11.9 mg

  • Hemp seeds 11.5 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 10.3 mg

  • Sesame and watermelon seeds 10.2 mg

  • Bamboo shoots, endives and gourds 9 mg

  • Chervil (herb) 8.8 mg

  • Lamb 8.7 mg

  • Venison 8.6 mg

  • Alfalfa seeds (sprouted), amaranth leaves, Crimini mushrooms, Irish moss and tea 8 mg

  • Crab 7.6 mg

  • Lobster 7.3 mg

  • Agave, basil, beefalo, broccoli, elk, emu, oats, ostrich, spinach and turkey 7 mg

  • Cocoa powder 6.8 mg

  • Asparagus, chicken livers, laver seaweed, mushrooms, parsley and rice bran 5.7 mg

  • Cashew nuts 5.6 mg

  • Pork 5.1 mg

  • Jute (herb), lemon grass, mung beans, Portobello mushrooms, radishes and shiitake mushrooms 5 mg

  • Agar seaweed, butterbur, cauliflower, chicory, Chinese cabbage, chives, coriander, green beans, lentils, lettuce, okra, rocket, spring onions, summer squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes and wasabi (yellow) 3.4 mg

  • Peanuts 3.3 mg

  • Cheddar cheese 3.1 mg

  • Mozzarella cheese 2.9 mg

  • Anchovies and rabbit 2.4 mg

  • Cabbage, cucumber, jalapeno peppers, , kidney beans, navy beans, spirulina and turnip greens 2 mg

  • Mussels 1.6 mg

  • Arrowroot, artichokes (globe), beetroot, bell peppers, black eyed peas, borage, broad beans, Brussel sprouts, butter beans, cabbage, carrots, celery, chilli peppers, courgettes, dandelion greens, garlic, horseradish, kale, kelp, mustard greens, peas, pinto beans, potatoes, pumpkin, turnips, Swede, sweet potato, tomatoes (red),  wakame (seaweed), watercress and winged beans 1.2 mg

EXTERNAL REMEDIES

Hyssop: Hot decoction vapours of hyssop are often used as a natural remedy for tinnitus. For a decoction, 1 tsp. herb should be boiled with 1 cup water then use a towel over the head and the bowl of tea to breathe in the vapours. Then this liquid can be drunk when its cooled once or twice a day.

Mullein oil, oregano oil or garlic oil drops in the ear are two specific treatments for earache due to accumulated fluid, especially related to allergies or microbial infections.

A cotton swab dipped in a calendula (marigold), goldenseal, and witch hazel tea and applied to the outer ear is useful in treating swimmer's ear. Swimmer's ear is associated typically with pus and moisture in the outer ear canal. Witch hazel helps dry up the secretions, while goldenseal and calendula fight infection.

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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