Tinnitus

Tinnitus

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the medical term for ringing or other unexplainable noises in the ear. This ringing can be any unexplainable sound, like whistling, roaring, buzzing, hissing. When these sounds can only be heard by you, it is called subjective tinnitus.  This is usually due to an abnormal blood vessel that makes noise as your heart beats.  This is the most common type of tinnitus. There is also a more rare type called objective tinnitus. This is when you hear a sound that doesn’t have an external source, but it can also be heard by other people. Tinnitus can be present in one or both ears and all ages are susceptible. 

Tinnitus Causes:

The most common cause of tinnitus is damage to the middle or inner ear. In hearing, sound waves enter the external ear canal via vibrations. These signals are carried by a chain of tiny bones to your cochlea, or hearing organ, inside the inner ear. This chamber stores the electromagnetism of those vibrations as they become electrical impulses, and these travel through three small bones called ossicles to your brain stem, where they are interpreted as a sound you hear. When your middle or inner ear becomes damaged, it will alter how your brain understands sound.

High exposure to loud noises can cause tinnitus. People who use heavy machinery or worked with heavy equipment in the past are more likely to develop tinnitus than people who don’t. Listening to loud sounds such as music produced by the headphones, loudspeakers at a concert, and so on may also produce temporary symptoms of tinnitus.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus Diagnosis:

Your doctor will examine your ears and conduct a hearing test to diagnose tinnitus. Similarly, an audiologist may transmit sounds through a set of headphones to one ear at a time. The audiologist will then ask you to respond by reacting with gestures when you hear the sounds of the test. Further tests such as imaging with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or with CT scanning for example may help to see if you have any damage to the ears. 

Tinnitus Treatment:

Drug therapy can help reduce the sounds you hear in your ears. Tricyclic antidepressants  and antianxiety medications are commonly prescribed by doctors to reduce symptoms associated with tinnitus. However, these medications can often cause side effects, which might include:

  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea

Other tinnitus treatment approaches include:

  • Noise suppression machines
  • Reducing stress
  • Hearing aids or cochlear implants
Tinnitus

How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

Another approach to tinnitus treatment is traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture clinics and Chinese medicine specialists offer tinnitus treatment often. There have been many studies on its effectiveness. Results of this testing show that acupuncture aids with management and makes the condition less intense, improving quality of life. 

Acupuncture works by stimulating the energy and blood flow throughout your body. This is to restore harmony and balance within the body to optimise function and decrease severity of health conditions. If you suffer from tinnitus this method of treatment is recommended highly for patients seeking a natural holistic approach without risks of side effects. 

For information about tinnitus and Chinese Medicine, see our webpage at https://balancetcm.co.nz/category/a-z-diseases/tinnitus-a-z-diseases/.

For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you treat ear problems like tinnitus, see our website at https://balancetcm.co.nz/category/ear-clinic/.

Tinnitus

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References:

Centre of Balance: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine. (n.d.). Archive for category: Ear Clinic.  https://balancetcm.co.nz/category/ear-clinic/

Centre of Balance Hamilton: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine (n.d.). Archive for category: Tinnitus. https://balancetcm.co.nz/category/a-z-diseases/tinnitus-a-z-diseases/

Phua, S. (n.d.). What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine? Centre of Balance Hamilton: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine. https://balancetcm.co.nz/traditional-chinese-medicine-hamilton/

Roth, E. (2019, April 18). Why Are My Ears Ringing? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/tinnitus