Tinnitus

What’s tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the ringing sound or noise in the ear. The origin of the sound is within the patient. Mostly, it is unilateral (heard only in one ear) but can also be bilateral (heard in both the ears). A survey says that at least 15% of the population suffers from tinnitus. Almost 85% with ear problems suffer from tinnitus. It can be seen in children to adults but it mostly diagnosed in adults over 50 years.

The sound heard by the patients varies in pitch and loudness. It is often described by the patients as

  • Roaring
  • Hissing
  • Swishing
  • Rustling
  • Clicking
    Tinnitus is annoying in quiet surroundings particularly at night when there is less background noise. Tinnitus can be acute or chronic and persistent. 1 in 5 persons with tinnitus suffers from chronicity.

Clinically, the tinnitus is classified into two types :

1. Subjective tinnitus – heard only by the patients
2. Objective tinnitus – even heard by the doctor using a stethoscope

There are three ways to describe a patient’s perception of the tinnitus sound :

Tonal Tinnitus: The perception of continuous sound. The perceived volume of the tinnitus often fluctuates. It is often associated with subjective tinnitus.

Pulsatile Tinnitus: The perception of pulsing sounds, often in synchronized with the patient’s heartbeat. It is often associated with objective tinnitus.

Musical Tinnitus: The perception of music or singing. It is also known as Musical Ear Syndrome, Musical Tinnitus is very rare.

Causes of tinnitus

Prolonged exposure to loud sounds is the most common cause of tinnitus. About 90% of the incidence is associated with noise induced hearing loss where the cochlea responsible for hearing in the inner ear is affected, followed by age related hearing loss (Presbycusis).

Tinnitus is not a disease itself, but rather a symptom of underlying health condition. It disappears when the underlying cause is treated. In most cases, tinnitus is a sensorineural reaction in the brain to damage the ear and auditory system. Sometimes, tinnitus is psychogenic and no cause can be found in the ear or central nervous system.

Main causes are

1. Hearing loss – Noise induced hearing loss, Presbycusis
2. Obstructions in the middle ear – Earwax, Foreign bodies
3. Head and neck trauma
4. Traumatic brain injury
5. Ototoxic drugs – Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS), Diuretics, Antibiotics
https://www.longislandaudiology.com/your-hearing/ototoxic-medicines-list

Risk factors

* Noise exposure from work, headphones, concerts.
* Smoking
* Gender – men are affected more than women
* Hearing loss
* Age – older individuals are more susceptible

Diagnosis

The people who are experiencing tinnitus must visit a hospital for an examination and evaluation to determine the cause for the tinnitus.
An evaluation can help in excluding any rare (objective tinnitus) life-threatening causes of tinnitus. A visit to an otolaryngologist is preferred for examination.

Treatment

– Treat the underlying cause
– Reassurance and psychotherapy
– Techniques of relaxation and biofeedback
– Sedation and tranquilizer
– Masking of tinnitus by use of a fan or loud clicking clock or hearing aid in persons with hearing loss.

TINNITUS RETRAINING THERAPY (TRT)

Jastreboff from the University of Maryland described a neurophysiologic model for the generation of tinnitus and the basis for habituation therapy. His therapeutic model aims to attenuate connections between auditory, limbic, and autonomic nervous systems and thus create tinnitus habituation.
Tinnitus habituation is blocking the tinnitus related neuronal activity to reach the level of consciousness. With this therapy patients suffering from tinnitus lose awareness of tinnitus and also do not get annoyed even when they do have tinnitus.

Sound Therapy Machine for Tinnitus

Sound therapy sometimes referred to as acoustic therapy is a wide term that is used in various ways, depending on the individual clinician. Generally, sound therapy means the use of external/augmented sound to make the ringing in the ear caused by tinnitus less disturbing. It is used to alter the patient’s reaction and perception of tinnitus. Although, sound therapies do not cure tinnitus just like other treatments, but may greatly reduce the intensity of the condition and make it very easy to live with. It was developed as a distraction for people with the condition. People experiencing tinnitus often realize that it is more bothersome in a quiet environment, for example at night and listening to other sounds can make it less noticeable. Sound therapy machines or tinnitus Maskers, produces a variety of sounds to reduce the perception of buzzing and ringing in the ears to help manage the condition. Many people with this condition use them during sleep, relaxation, and meditation. Below is a list of the types of sound therapy products.

Sound Masking Devices/Environmental Enrichment Devices

These are machines or apps that offer generic background noise. It could either be pink noise or white noise, nature sounds or other subtle sounds. The sound produced by these machines is capable of masking the patient’s perception of tinnitus partially or fully, providing relaxation, comfort, and relief from the condition. The traditional sound masker is a single function bedside or tabletop device with different sound options. However, devices such as PCs and mobiles, capable of producing sound may be used for masking.

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are classified as a type of sound therapy because they increase the volume of external noise to a level that it covers the ringing in the ear and make it difficult to perceive tinnitus and allows the brain to focus on the ambient or outside noise.

Sound Generators/Modified-Sound

While general sound devices offer a comprehensive sound list, Lot of medical-grade devices provide custom sounds that are very effective for the patient and his/her condition. These machines produce steady sounds or special notched-music in which certain tones and frequencies are emphasized, often at a level slightly perceivable by the patient. The function of these sounds depends on the specific product.

Combination Devices

This simply means a combination of two or more sound therapies. Recent models of hearing aids are now equipped with sound generation technology that produces different sounds including white noise or customized sounds to tinnitus patients on a consistent basis. These devices combine the benefit derived from using a hearing aid and other acoustic therapies and are best for patients with measurable hearing loss. Additionally, the portable nature of these devices provides consistent use and benefit throughout the day.

 

 

The noise produced by the sound therapy machine is helpful in several ways which are:

  • Masking: It helps to cover some of the sounds in your ear.
  • Distraction: The distraction created can take your attention off the sound.
  • Habituation: Consistently hearing this noise can make the brain treat the ringing in the ear (tinnitus) a less important sound that should be consciously ignored.
  • Neuromodulation: To normalize or minimize the neural activity that could be the cause of tinnitus.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Sound Therapy Machine

Type of sounds

Each machine comes with own sounds, it could be white noise, nature or music or combination of many other sounds. Sound selection is a personal choice and sometimes depends on your doctor’s prescription. You can decide to purchase a machine that comes with several sound options if you are unsure what sound works best for you.

Tone control

With this feature, you can adjust the frequency or pitch of the sound. Matching on increasing the tone or sound of your machine to your tinnitus can be more effective in masking the ringing in your ears.

Stationary or Portable

You do not want to purchase a stationary machine if your tinnitus occurs at different times of the day, it is preferable to buy a machine that would be easy to throw in your bag and take with you. Consider a stationary machine if your tinnitus occurs in the night while trying to sleep.

 

How to Stop Ringing In the Ears

Ringing in the ears also described as tinnitus is a sound in the head or in the ears that has no external source. The sound being mostly is a ringing sound in many people while for other people, it is a humming, whistling, hissing or a buzzing sound. These sounds can be produced from one of the ears or both. The sounds can also seem to come from a distance or inside the head. They could also come steadily or pulsating, sometimes intermittently or constantly.

People experience ringing in the ears for various reasons which include; exposure of the ear to extremely loud noises, hearing loss, ear infection and sometimes emotional stress. Ringing in the ears is a very frustrating condition to live with, so we will talk about ways and effective methods to stop ringing in the ears. Even though there is no cure for it yet, there are effective and efficient methods and ways that one can try to lessen the internal sounds or get relieved of the symptoms.

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Examination and Treatment

After noticing ringing in the ears, it is very important that one sees a doctor or clinician first who will examine, check and evaluate your medical history, administer a physical examination and then conducts series of tests so as to try in finding the source of the problem. The clinician will ask you to give a description of the sounds you are hearing, this includes the quality of the sound and the pitch. You will also be asked if the sounds you hear are periodic or constant, pulsating or steady. The place from which the sounds come from and also the times in which you hear the sounds will be asked from you.

The evaluation carried out allows your clinician to check and analyze your medical history, medications you are currently placed on (which can cause or worsen ringing in the ears), and also your past and current exposure to noise.

Sound Therapy

This is also an effective way of relieving the symptoms of ringing in the ear (tinnitus). This therapy involves the use of different sounds as an aid for relaxation or as a distraction. The use of different sounds helps to relieve or lessen ringing in the ears because people who suffer from ringing in their ears or heads complain the condition is worse in quiet areas.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is also another effective method to manage or stop ringing in the ears. This therapy makes use of cognitive restructuring and relations techniques to alter or change the thinking of people who suffer from ringing in the ear (tinnitus) and also the way they respond to the noise. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is usually for a short term. For instance, the therapy can be weekly for about three to six months. This therapy also helps people who suffer ringing in their ears to have an improved quality of life and find the sound or noise, less bothersome.

Relaxation

Meditation or breathing exercises are relaxation techniques that can provide some relief. These relaxation techniques when carried out for a few minutes daily can help reduce the stress and anxiety that is often associated with ringing in the ears.

 

 

It is important to note that continuous, high-pitched and steady ringing in the ear mostly means there is a problem in the auditory system which will require an audiologist to carry out a hearing test. Medical evaluation or examination is needed for pulsatile tinnitus, particularly if the noise or sound is constant and continual or persistent. Blood vessel abnormality or tumor may also be needed to be checked for using CT imaging or MRI.

The impact and severity of ringing in the ear can be affected by your general health lifestyle, therefore, it is very important to take into consideration your stress level, diet, sleep, and physical activity and take appropriate steps to improve them. The treatment of pain, insomnia, depression, and anxiety with drugs or psychotherapy may also be able to reduce the impact of ringing in the ear.

It is important you do not expose your ears to extremely loud noise or sounds, and if you are generally exposed to extremely loud sounds or noise at home or at work, it is imperative you lower the risk of hearing loss by making use of ear protectors such as earplugs.

 

 

 

Can tinnitus go away, ever?

Can tinnitus go away, ever?

 

Can tinnitus go away is the probably the most pressing question a sufferer will ever ask. Will it, ever? Or will it just go away for a while only to return with a vengeance after something triggers it? Or will it go away on its own without any help?

 

The basics of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a common ailment that mostly affects men than women. A sufferer will experience a hissing, roaring, whistling, or humming sound in an ear or both ears without the presence of external sound.

The condition may happen intermittently or it may stay for a lifetime. The pitch and volume of the sound vary for every person. Some may experience a high-pitched whistling or ringing sound. For others, the sound may be a swishing or pulsing noise. Whatever the sound range, tinnitus is debilitating, to say the least.

 

What are the major factors that can cause Tinnitus?

There are several factors that can bring about tinnitus. They can also become triggers when the condition is permanent. Here are some of the chief causes of Tinnitus:

  • Injuries to the neck or head
  • Repetitive exposure to loud music or noises
  • Aging
  • Excess wax buildup
  • A rupture or hole of the eardrum
  • Side effects from medications such as painkillers, certain kinds of antibiotics, steroids, aspirin, sleeping pills, and antidepressants
  • Hypertension
  • Ear infections
  • Eating very sugary and salty foods
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Alcohol and caffeine consumption

 

Can Tinnitus ever go away?

The root cause of your tinnitus determines whether it is going to be an acute (temporary) or chronic (permanent) condition. Some types of tinnitus may go away on its own after a period of time. For instance, experiencing tinnitus after a particularly loud rock concert will clear up after a few days.

 

Discontinuing certain medications or getting rid of excess wax buildup can also make tinnitus go away. Some other cases of tinnitus also go away after a period of two to three months. It is just unfortunate that a lot of cases are chronic conditions.

 

The good news for chronic tinnitus sufferers is that the symptoms can be reduced if the specific cause is effectively treated. It might even naturally go away on its own. It is only if the underlying cause is not addressed that the condition intermittently occurs.

 

The surprising finding is that natural remedies fare better in providing relief for tinnitus sufferers than medical treatments. Here are some of the ways to naturally relieve tinnitus symptoms:

  • Using earplugs when exposed to loud music or noises
  • Staying away from triggers such as alcohol and smoking
  • Cutting back on your consumption of caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee
  • Regularly working out 3 to 5 days a week. Exercise is a natural mood booster that can also relieve stress, anxiety, and sleeping problems that can aggravate tinnitus.
  • Getting 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Go to bed at the same time every night until it becomes habitual. Make the room dark and cool. Turn on a fan or use any white noise to break the silence of the room.
  • Eating more raw vegetables and fruits.

 

What’s the final word?

It is unfortunate that there is known cure for Tinnitus. Natural and medical remedies are all palliative. This means that they can provide temporary relief but will never make tinnitus go away especially in chronic cases. However, lifestyle changes can also provide longer spans of freedom from symptoms which is what counts the most.

 

The Best 4 Essential oils for tinnitus

The Best 4 Essential oils for tinnitus

 

 

How effective are essential oils for tinnitus? Will using them relieve the symptoms of tinnitus?

What is tinnitus?

The phantom sounds you hear such as clicking, ringing, humming, hissing, or buzzing in your ears that nobody else can hear means you have tinnitus. These sounds may be soft or loud. They may be heard only in one or they may affect both ears.

Statistics show that around 10 to 15% of people around the world are affected by tinnitus. The condition has become fairly common caused by several factors to include:

  • Repetitive exposure to loud music and noise
  • Wax buildup in the ears
  • Ear disorders and infections
  • Aging
  • Infections of the upper respiratory system
  • Insomnia
  • Cardiovascular issues affecting the nerves, arteries, and blood flow
  • A Side effect of medications
  • Depression, anxiety, stress
  • Head injuries
  • Meniere’s disease

Tinnitus occurs when the hairs of the inner ears break or bend. When this happens, the electrical impulses are accidentally leaked to the brain. The condition is often a precursor to an underlying medical condition.

Tinnitus can be acute or temporary or chronic, lasting for a lifetime. Steps towards its relief have ranged from pharmacological to natural remedies. One effective natural remedy is the use of essential oils.

A brief look at essential oils and what they can do for tinnitus

Essential oils or aromatherapy treatment has been around for thousands of years. The oils are pure extracts coming from the leaves, roots, flowers, and barks of different beneficial plants.

Essential oils are usually packaged in small bottles and have an almost clear or clear color. They are, ironically, not oily when touched.

Aromatherapy became one of the popular methods of tinnitus treatment when the aromas coming from them were seen to alleviate ringing of the ears. The benefits seen to be provided by the use of essential oils include:

  • Relief from stress
  • Relief from pain and discomfort
  • Enhanced blood circulation
  • Inflammation reduction
  • Relief from congestion in the upper respiratory system
  • Toxin elimination

The 4 best essential oils for tinnitus

These 4 types of essential oils were chosen because they have proven effective in reducing stress, improving the circulation, and decreasing the congestion in the nasal passageways. The enhanced blood and air circulation in the body result in the reduction of tension and stress. This, in turn, brings much-needed relief from the common tinnitus symptoms such as buzzing, ringing, hissing, and pulsing in the ears.

Here are the top 4 essential oils recommended for tinnitus:

  1. Juniper Berry

The detoxifying elements of Juniper encourage uric acid crystals elimination. The removal of toxins is believed to reduce the effects of tinnitus.

  1. Lavender

The relaxing and soothing aroma of Lavender provides a natural form of sedative. Tinnitus caused by tension, stress, and anxiety can get symptom relief from this essential oil.

  1. Helichrysum

The anti-inflammatory and soothing properties of Helichrysum have proven useful in dealing with symptoms of stress and inflammation in tinnitus.

  1. Cypress

Enhanced circulation of the body is encouraged with the use of cypress. People suffering from pulsing tinnitus will find this essential oil the best remedy.

For more information about Essential Oils.

In closing

One of the most annoying and distressing conditions that can happen to anyone is tinnitus. While there is no known cure for the condition, different approaches have proven successful in alleviating the symptoms. The use of essential oils has been seen to improve the quality of life of some sufferers. However, it is always prudent to consult with your doctor as a way of ruling out other underlying medical issues before using essential oils.

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