How to Stop or Soften

 

RINGING IN THE EARS!

Max Stanley Chartrand. Ph.D.
DigiCare® Behavioral Research

 

Just a few short decades ago, tinnitus—often described as ring-ing, buzzing, roaring, crickets, and other noises in one’s head—was medically considered an auditory hallucination, or a subcomponent of a psychiatric disorder. Now, zoom forward to the fantastic 2010s and what do we find? Not much change. The routine prognosis for those suffering life-interrupting 24/7 tinnitus are told that “there’s nothing that can be done about it”, and “you just have to learn to live it”. Not very enlightened considering that today few human maladies have been researched and dissected as much as this still rela-tively understood condition.

The problem is that tinnitus is not a disease or even an illness in its own right. Nor is it just one thing. It is several underlying issues coa-lescing at once. It is a symptom, albeit an aggravating one. It is caused principally by advancing hearing loss, starting usually in the high fre-quencies and progressing backwards into the low frequencies with the passage of time and continued declining hearing acuity. In about 65-70% of cases it usually starts as a high pitch tone at around 4KHz or a multiple of it (6KHz, 8KHz, 12KHz). If one corrects the hearing loss with a wide band hearing device that stimulates the cochlea beyond the cen-ter band frequency of the tinnitus, most of the problem is re-solved.

Leaving out correction of the hearing loss and other health/lifestyle factors driving it (auditory deprivation, loud noise, chronic dehy-dration, infection and inflammation, medication side and main effects, and diabetes type 2 and its treatment, to name but a handful) the tinni-tus usually becomes more intense, the band-width of aggravating sound widens as the hear-ing loss moves downward in frequency, and tends to recruit more hair cells to make matters worse yet. An irony is that if the hearing loss is left uncorrected, hyperacusis often develops (oversensitivity to sounds), adding an additional aggravating factor. The oversensitivity usually resolves after appropriate hearing aid amplifica-tion is utilized. While 3-peak (wide-band) devic-es help, standard, 1-peak devices provide mar-ginal relief, if any.

*Note: The material and presentation of this seminar is for consumer educa-tion, and is not to be construed as medical diagnosis or treatment for individual Contributors of Long-Term Tinnitusre DigiCare Multimodal Management Model Auditory ContributorsHealthContributors Lifestyle Contributors

Auditory deprivation (“Phantom Hearing”-Uncorrected SNHL-Hyperacusis-Acoustic Trauma

TM Artifacts-Otosclerosis/Tympanosclerosis-Perforation -Disarticulation -Gestation, other TM scarring-Chronic infection/allergy

Lifestyle Causes-Tobacco/Alcohol/Caff-Lack of “R” sleep-Chron. Dehydration-Vocational/Recrea-Food additives-Nutrient deficiency-Sedentary Lifestyle

Medical Causes-Jaw/Tooth Infection-Medication effects-Chronic Disease-Congenital Mal-Heavy Metals-TBI, Stroke, Menieres

Prevalence & Aggravation.

For an idea of how aggravating and relevant tinnitus has become in today’s society: According the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), at least 50 million Ameri-cans suffer from it, with 12 million suffering enough to lower quality of life and even driving some to suicide. A recent tinnitus sleep-study suggests that the effect of relentless tinnitus on the amount of glucose burned in the brain during sleep is akin that used while reading a book all night long! A mind that would prefer to drift and rest is instead processing at a clip. Looking at it through different perspectives, chronic health conditions known to contribute to tinnitus aggravation and to which tinnitus is known to contribute in the literature involve the following Mind-Body/Body-Mind conditions:

Mind/Body Relationships

  • Cardiovascular inflammation/Immunological Compromise
  • Hypertension/Palpitations/Arrhythmias
  • Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs)
  • Chronic Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome
  • Abnormal weight gain/weight loss
  • Insomnia/Sleeplessness/Sleep Apnea
  • Allergy/Hypoxia/COPD/Asthma
  • Cortical Inflammation/Idiopathic Tremors
  • Dyspepsia/Acid Reflux/Colitis
  • Vertigo/Vestibular Dysfunction/Meniere’s
  • Blurred Vision/Visual Problems
  • Headaches (migraines etc.)

Body/Mind Relationships

  • Inability to focus/Attentional Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Social/Occupational/Educational loss
  • Clinical Depression/Suicide Ideation/Suicide
  • Anxiety/Panic Disorders
  • Exaggerated Startle Reflex
  • Explosive Anger/Emotional Disorders
  • Memory disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Personality Disorders
  • Factitious Disorders (Hypochondria, etc.)
  • Accident Prone Behaviors

Viewed through “the chicken and egg” conundrum, the lists go on and on, negatively impacting quality of life and happiness that would be difficult for those not suffering from relentless tinnitus to understand. But the toll is are real, the physical reactions as strong as the mental ones. Now, let’s look at the cascade of physiological and psychological behaviors that can occur over time:

  • Progressive high frequency sensorineural hearing loss causes a high pitch tinnitus at 4KHz
  • Tinnitus grows louder as hearing loss worsens, reducing cellular oxygen & bringing sleep apnea
  • Sleep apnea brings sleeplessness and lethargy, bringing inflammation & attentional difficulties
  • Hypoxia brings depression, anxiety, and, over time, mild pseudo pericarditis around the heart
  • This progresses over time, raising blood pressure, and bringing edema to lower extremities
  • Ultimately disruption of quality of life result from uncorrected hearing impairment & tinnitus

Now, let’s reverse the process by correction and note the cascade back to homeostasis:

  • Correction of hearing loss (re F2 >10K-12KHz) inhibits tinnitus annoyance by about 80%
  • Other lifestyle/nutritional/medical issues resolve concurrent with optimized hearing acuity
  • Cardiovascular tension reduces, lowering blood pressure
  • Depression/anxiety lifts, attentional deficit resolves, cellular oxygen returns @99-100% @55-65 bpm
  • Back pain, headaches, sleep apnea, psychosocial issues ease over time as normal quality of life is restored

Your instructor has been on the forefront of applied research in tinnitus for more than 37 years. He was one of the professional members at the founding of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) in 1978, and today is on its Advisory Committee as well as that of the Better Hearing Institute. His work has led to major inroads into understanding the relationships between tinnitus & chronic health conditions.

He has long maintained that appropriately fitted amplification, recognizing loudness growth and distortion idiosyncrasies, which define every sufferer of tinnitus and hearing loss, is the place to start in cases where hearing loss also exists, especially in cases of high-frequency loss.

Any other approach—psychotropic, neuroleptic, CNS depressant medications not only prolong the problem but add new health challenges in the long-term. It can be a challenge to resolve threshold losses that are caused by aminoglycoside antibiotics and other toxic medications, amplification correction can still provide significant improvement in the resulting tinnitus and hyperacusis cases.

In recent years, uncountable sufferers have enjoyed significant relief from the aggravation of tinnitus and hyperacusis by using the author’s approach that is trademarked Multimodal Tinnitus Management (MTM). MTM involves addressing the three contributive factors: 1) wide-band devices to correct the hearing loss, 2) improvements in lifestyle, nutrition, sleep, and hydration, and 3) use of MiraCell® (ProEar®) botanical solution applied to both eardrums daily for 30 days, once per week thereafter, and 4) receiving appropriate medical/health attention, as indicated.

“It is a futile effort trying to find a single remedy that does not first consider and address these three contributing factors,” asserted Dr. Chartrand. “My advice is to start with a hearing test and a trial on wide-band (open) amplification. Then, you can address each issue as they present from there.”