Tinnitus is when a person experiences noise inside their head. This noise may be perceived as ringing, buzzing, whirring, whooshing, clicking, music, or even voices. It can be in one ear, or both ears. The tinnitus may be constant or intermittent. This noise does NOT come from external sources, but rather emanates from within the head.
Considered a fairly common affliction, affecting 15%-20% of people Despite the frequent occurrence, tinnitus tends to have a long-lasting effect on the emotional well-being of those impacted.
There are 2 types of tinnitus. Subjective tinnitus is that in which in only the person with tinnitus can hear. Hearing loss, auditory damage, brain injury, medications, and toxins all contribute to subjective tinnitus.
Less commonly, some experience tinnitus that is rhythmic in nature, often in time with their heartbeat. This tinnitus is coined objective tinnitus and can often be heard by physicians, audiologists, and others as well.
Most people are able to ignore their tinnitus or the impact on their daily life may be minimal. For others, tinnitus is extremely disruptive to their daily lives. If tinnitus is bothersome, please see your health care provider. Other times when you should see your healthcare provider for tinnitus is if it occurs after an upper respiratory infection (with no improvement after a week), if accompanied by pain or dizziness, if occurrence begins suddenly or changes in intensity or pitch dramatically. Lastly, if you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts due to tinnitus, see a health professional.
Other common causes of tinnitus include:
Stagnant lymphatic system
Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ)
Tumors or acoustic neuromas
Inner ear muscle spasm
Eustachian tube dysfunction
Poor digestive health
Traumatic Brain Injury
Exposure to loud noises
Head or neck blockage
Increased or reduced blood flow
Liver and kidney dysfunction
Blood sugar dysregulation/ Insulin resistance
Typical treatment for tinnitus has been less than acceptable for many people. As of yet, there is no magic cure or pill that one can take to make it “go away”. At times, hearing aids or maskers are administered so that the tinnitus may be masked or covered up by other sounds. Other times Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, a habituation technique, may be utilized to minimize the severity. If medication or illness is the cause of tinnitus, the sound may end once the medication or illness is gone.
As an audiologist, I am very familiar with the frustration expressed by those impacted with tinnitus. There is no single cause and therefore, there isn’t one single treatment method. More often than not, what is presented is only a band-aid. What works for one person may not work for another.
At Elements of Wellness, we aim to lower the disruptive nature of tinnitus so that your daily life is minimally impacted. As a natural health practitioner, I believe there are many options to assist one in coping and living life to the fullest. I work with you to determine the best course of action without expensive hearing aids or tinnitus maskers. I believe in a multi-pronged approach to tackle tinnitus from variety of angles.
Your local hearing professional or ENT may tell you there is "nothing you can do" or that you "just have to live with it". I am here to tell you there is hope! Tinnitus is a symptom of a greater imbalance within the body. Once the root cause of the tinnitus is understood, steps can be taken to resolve the underlying issues. This more often than not will reduce the intensity and frequency of tinnitus, and in some instances, resolve it completely.
By employing a whole body approach to addressing your tinnitus needs you can experience a reduction or resolution of tinnitus, but your overall health will improve as well. This is a win/win for you. Strategies include functional blood chemistry analysis to uncover the root cause, supplementation to remedy imbalance in the body, diet and lifestyle changes, and stress management. It's not an easy button, but if you put in the work, you will see change!