Tinnitus is generally described as ringing in the ear, but it can also be perceived as a clicking or hissing sound.
The very definition of this symptom is perceiving a sound when no external noise is emitted.
This perceived sound can be very light, very sharp, high-pitched or low-pitched.
Some people perceive it only on one side, others suffer from both ears.
People with severe tinnitus may experience hearing difficulties or problems sleeping.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is not a disease. It is only a symptom.
Let’s start with the quick description of the anatomy of the ear: the outer ear, the ear canal, the eardrum.
In the eardrum are three ossicles which vibrate when sounds come from outside.
From there starts communication to the inner ear where electrical impulses are sent to the nerve and the auditory cortex.
Why are you hearing strange sounds?
A sound is normally heard following the path from the outer ear to the ear canal and then the eardrum, from the middle ear to the internal ear that communicates with the brain.
When you perceive tinnitus, there is a dysfunction in this process.
The brain receives information poorly and is forced to adjust the volume because it does not understand the sent messages.
It therefore adds a new frequency which manifests itself in the tinnitus you perceive.
What causes tinnitus?
The ear is not the cause of tinnitus.
The dysfunction is in the brain.
It is made up of thousands of active nerve areas that have different functions.
Sound processing takes place in a very specific area, the auditory cortex.
This cortex is itself divided into several areas responsible for recognizing sounds, much like a piano keyboard.
Anything that can cause hearing loss disturbs this “internal keyboard”.
Whether they are due to drugs, too loud sounds or even simply to natural aging, these disturbances cause a reduction in the activity of the affected area by hearing loss.
The nerves that make up the area named neural synchronization, ignite.
Clearly, the ear no longer speaks to the auditory center, the nerve cells react inappropriately and disorderly. And this abnormal activity leads to tinnitus.
Over time, this disturbed reaction becomes permanent.
Modern imaging means make it possible to highlight this abnormal neuronal activity and to realize that it is not limited only to the auditory center but also affects areas of attention, emotions and stress.
All of these erroneous signals in various areas of the brain allow tinnitus to invade consciousness.
And this interaction also influences the stress and anxiety experienced when perceiving the volume and pervasiveness of tinnitus.
1 – Hearing aids
Most people with tinnitus have it because of hearing loss.
When hearing loss, the brain experiences changes in the way it interprets sound frequencies.
The hearing aid is a miniature electronic system with a microphone, amplifier and speaker that it uses to amplify external sound sources.
This system can soften changes in neuroplasticity that disrupt the brain’s ability to process sound sources.
If you suffer from tinnitus, you’ll notice that the better you hear, the less buzzing you get.
A study published in 2007 found that 60% of people with tinnitus noted relative improvement when wearing a hearing aid and 22% a clear relief.
2- Sound masking devices
The white noise generator plays a pleasant noise that partially drowns out the internal sound of tinnitus.
The most common device is the desktop machine, but there are also miniature devices that can be adjusted over the ear.
They can play white sound, music, or other ambient sounds.
Most people prefer an external sound level that is barely more noticeable than their tinnitus, but others choose a sound that completely eliminates buzzing.
Some also use headphones which are commonly found to help with relaxation or sleep.
You can easily use your phone earbuds, TV, music, or even a fan.
In 2017, a study demonstrated that this process and the use of broadband sound such as a white or pink noise is the most efficient.
Nature sounds have been found to be the least effective.
3- Modified or customized sound devices
Standard devices help mask tinnitus when you use them, but they have no long-term effect.
Medical devices use sounds specific to your tinnitus.
Unlike white noise machines, they should only be used intermittently.
Because you will enjoy its benefits long after stopping it and over time you will experience a marked improvement in your tinnitus.
In 2017, a study showed that customized sound decreases the intensity of tinnitus and its effects are better to white noise.
4- Behavioral and cognitive therapy
Tinnitus is linked to severe stress.
Depression, anxiety, or insomnia are very common in people with this symptom.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is speech-based and can help manage a tinnitus problem to learn to live peacefully.
Instead of tackling extraneous sounds directly, this therapeutic approach teaches you to accept them.
The goal is to improve your quality of life and prevent tinnitus from getting on your nerves.
By working with a therapist or coach once a week, you can identify and change negative thinking.
Originally created to treat depression and various psychological disorders, cognitive therapy brings very positive results in the treatment of tinnitus.
Multiple studies have shown that it helps to significantly reduce the irritation and annoyance often generated by tinnitus.
5- Physical exercises
Physical activity contributes significantly to general well-being.
Tinnitus is made worse by stress, depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation and illness.
Regular exercise will help you manage stress better, sleep better, and stay healthy.
6- Mindfulness-based stress reduction
Through an eight-week program, participants in this method developed skills through mindful training.
This program was originally developed to teach people to distract from chronic pain.
But its effectiveness is remarkable in the fight against tinnitus.
Similarities between pain and sound have led researchers to develop an original method of stress reduction.
The results of a pilot study concluded that participants in an 8-week program resulted in a diminished perception of tinnitus as well as an overall improvement in their state of stress.
How to relieve tinnitus?
Certain supplements may help improve tinnitus symptoms.
Gamma acid-aminobutryric (GABA) is a nonessential amino acid that is found to be the most important neurotransmitter in the brain.
Its properties are large enough to cover:
- to fight anxiety, stress
- sleep regulation
- the growth of neurons
- growth hormone stimulation
Its major role is to limit neuronal hyperactivity and thus counter the excitatory effects of glutamate which generate tinnitus.
- Niacin (vitamin B3)
Some people have noticed a marked improvement in their tinnitus symptoms by supplementing with vitamin B3 or niacin
Its role in the conduction and transmission of nerve impulses may be thought to be beneficial.
A deficiency in magnesium can cause chronic fatigue, anxiety, nervousness and sleep disturbance.
These symptoms therefore lead to what can be called hypersensitivity which can cause tinnitus.
Melatonin deficiency induces chronic fatigue, difficulty falling asleep and muscle tension.
This sleep hormone naturally produced by the body manages to regulate biological cycles, normalizes them to better control tinnitus.
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A plays a major role in the transmission of nerve impulses, particularly in the inner ear and the nerves leading to the auditory cortex.
It can significantly reduce ringing in the ears.
Grandmother’s remedy for tinnitus?
You can find grandmother’s remedies indicated to treat hearing loss. Of course, their effectiveness remains to be proven.
- Onion juice
A wick soaked in fresh onion juice is introduced into the ear canal.
It is believed that the antioxidant and sulfur compounds in onion may provide relief.
Be wary of the skin irritation it can cause.
- Ginkgo biloba
It is possible that the ginkgo biloba may provide benefits due to the ability of this plant to improve blood circulation.
One 250mg capsule of ginkgo per day may be tried.
- Hawthorn, lemon balm, passionflower
These plants are recommended for their relaxing effect, thus helping to better manage the stress that generates tinnitus and making it less noticeable.
As a mother tincture or herbal tea, they can help improve symptoms.
Tinnitus and homeopathy
Homeopathy uses as a basic treatment:
– Chininum sulfuricum 9CH: 5 granules 3 times a day
– Natrum salicylicum 9CH: 5 granules 3 times a day
In case of crisis:
– Colocynthis 30CH: 3 granules every half hour until improvement
Tinnitus and essential oils
The essential oils indicated for tinnitus are:
– Italian helichrysum essential oil
– Cypress evergreen essential oil
– Marjoram essential essential oil
– Petitgrain bigarade essential oil
Making a synergy of these four essential oils will make you benefit from their toning action of the blood circulation for helichrysum and cypress while the Petitgrain and marjoram will balance your nervous system.
Massage around the ear 3 times a day.
Tinnitus is a phantom sound resulting from abnormal brain activity.
Can tinnitus go away?
In 80% of cases, when they are related to taking a drug or appearing during intense fatigue, they disappear after discontinuation of the treatment in question or after a period of rest.
Sometimes it becomes chronic and getting rid of tinnitus is complicated.
Bear in mind that they can also be triggered by cervical osteoarthritis problems, poor positioning of the jaw or a sinuses obstruction.
To successfully curb them, we must define the origin of tinnitus.
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