Tinnitus Monograph


How to Stop or Soften


Max Stanley Chartrand. Ph.D.
(Behavioral Medicine)


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 auditory hallucinations, or subcomponents of psychiatric disorders. 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”, or “you will 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 relatively unknown human 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 over time. In about 65-70% of cases it usually starts as a high pitch tone at around 4KHz or a multiple of it (8KHz, 12KHz). If one corrects the hear-ing loss with a wide band device that provides significant stimulus be-yond the center band frequency of the tinnitus, most of the problem is resolved.

But leaving out the hearing loss and other health/lifestyle factors driving it (auditory deprivation, loud noise, chronic dehydration, infec-tion and inflammation, medication side and main effects, and diabetes type 2 and its treatment, to name but a handful) one’s perception of the tinnitus usually becomes that it is more intense, wider in bandwidth as it moves downward in center band, and tends to recruit more hair cells as it goes. This causes sufferers of serious tinnitus to lose their ability to focus or to sleep as soundly, be-cause of the enormous amount of glucose that is being burned 24/7 in the brain as result of the tinnitus. An irony is that as the hearing loss is let go, hyperacusis (or oversensitivity to sounds) often develops. This, too, usu-ally resolves when appropriately fitted and programmed wideband hearing instruments are utilized. Standard, single peak hearing aids usually provide only minimal relief, if any.

Prevalence & Aggravation. For an idea of how aggra-vating and relevant tinnitus has become in today’s socie-ty: According the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), at least 50 million Americans suffer from it, with 12 million suffering enough to lower quality of life and even driving an unfortunate few to suicide. Further, in one recent tinnitus sleep-study, it has been suggested that the effect of serious, relentless tinnitus on the amount of glucose burned in the brain of some-one asleep is akin to someone staying up and reading a book all night long. A mind that would prefer to drift and rest is instead churning away at waking-level 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 fol-lowing Mind-Body/Body-Mind conditions:

Mind/Body Relationships

  • Cardiovascular inflammation/Immunological Compromise
  • Hypertension/Palpitations/Arrythmias
  • 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
  • Hearing Impairment/Hyperacousis/Recruitment
  • Vertigo/Vestibular Dysfunction/Meniere’s
  • Blurred Vision/Visual Problems

  • Headaches (migraines etc.)
  • 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
  • Paranoia/associative disorders
  • Lethargy/Brain Fog
  • 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 they 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 & brings sleep apnea
    • Sleep apnea brings sleeplessness and lethargy, bringing inflammation & attentional difficulties
    • Hypoxia brings depression, anxiety, and depression, and, over time, mild psuedopericarditis
    • This progresses over time, raising blood pressure, and bringing edema to lower extremities
    • Psychosocial and emotional disorders result from chronic hearing impairment & tinnitus.

      Now, in our hypothetical case, let’s follow the cascade back to healing and homeostasis:

  • Correction of the hearing loss (with corrected range >10K-12KHz) inhibits tinnitus by about 80%.
  • Other lifestyle/nutritional/medical issues are resolved concurrent to optimized hearing correction
  • Cardiovascular tension is reduced, lowering blood pressure and inflammation.
  • Depression/anxiety lifts, attentional deficit resolves, cellular oxygen
    goes back to 99-100% @55-65 bpm.
  • Back pain, headaches, sleep apnea, psychosocial issues leesen over
    time, normal quality of life returns.

    Your instructor has been on the forefront of applied research in tinnitus for more than 35 years. He was one of the professional members at the founding of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) in 1978, and today is on the Advisory Committee of the ATA. 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 idiosyncracies that defines every sufferer of tinnitus and hearing loss, is the place to start in cases where hearing loss also exists, especially high-frequency loss.

    Any other approach—psychotropics, neuroleptics, CNS depressants—rarely produce lasting results. It is difficult to resolve threshold loss in “cochlear dead spots” (in the high frequencies) that occur from serious damage due to toxicity of amino-glycoside antibiotics or acoustic trauma, or from terrible side-effects of today’s highly toxic medications (in other volumes will be found extensive listings of medications that are known to cause tinnitus—there are many).

    However, uncountable sufferers have enjoyed significant relief from the aggravation of tinnitus by using his approach that has been trademarked as the Multimodal Tinnitus Management (MTM) approach. MTM involves three comprehensive modalities of auditory correction, lifestyle/ nutritional improvements, and medical/health resolution.

    For participants of MTM the counsel is, “There is no cure, there never will be a cure, and it is an utter waste of money and time trying to find one for a malady that is multifaceted and as different as the individuals suffering from it. But, alas, there is hope for those willing to honestly address contributors, the first of which is un-/under-corrected hearing impairment. Start with a hearing test, a trial on wide-band (open) amplification, and see if that is the best answer for you.”

    Improving Your Health:
    One Tinnitus Case History
    Max Stanley Chartrand, Ph.D.
    (Behavioral Medicine)

    One of the ongoing mysteries in healthcare today is the condition called tinnitus or ringing of the ears. Indeed, more than 50 million Americans complain of chronic tinnitus, about 12 million of which experience it so severely that it interferes with their quality of life. Will there ever be a "cure" for tinnitus?

    As a result of more than 30 years’ re-search, we at DigiCare® Behavioral Re-search have concluded that, because there are myriad underlying causes for tinnitus, there will never be a single cure for tinnitus.

    It is more accurate to understand tinni-tus, not as a stand-alone condition, but as a symptom of other things gone wrong in the body. The single most common thing wrong in least 90% of cases of long-term tinnitus, is that of uncorrected hearing loss.

    But the mystery deepens. Other underly-ing contributors involve: noise trauma, past and present ear infections, chronic inhalant allergy, diabetes mellitus II, cardiovascular disease, depression, hyperlipidemia, arthri-tis, chronic dehydration, and underlying infection, to name but a few. Finally, the terrible side- and interaction-effects of many prescription medications coupled with any of the above are also causes of hearing loss and tinnitus.

    Look at the photo above. It is a video otoscopy view of one patient's eardrum or tympanic membrane (TM). Note the follow-ing biomarkers, which are indicators of un-derlying causes of tinnitus & hearing loss:

  • Cone of light distortion indicates inhalant allergy.
  • White scar tissue on TM indicates past middle ear infections.
  • Pervasive white over TM indicates arterial plaques from years of acidosis, causing bone loss, hypertension, CVD.
  • Dilated synapses (re meds that withhold hormones that regulate sleep, mood, & mo-tor function).
  • Lack of desquamation lines evidence of serum/cellular pH below 7.0 (acidosis), dia-betes mellitus II & CVD.
  • (Not visible via otoscopy) Progressive bilat-eral mild to severe sensorineural (nerve) high frequency hearing loss
  • (Not visible via otoscopy) "Phantom hear-ing" effects, described as frying, hissing, crickets, and high pitch ring.

    Here is how this patient worked to re-duce his tinnitus and hearing loss, and eventually became so healthy he had to come off all medication, including diabetic, hypertension, acid reflux, arthritis, osteopo-rosis, and cholesterol medications. By do-ing so, remaining tinnitus became and he became immensely more healthy overall:

  • Fitted binaurally with wide-band digital amplification for opti-mal correction of hearing impairment
  • MiraCell Botanical Solution poured on his tympanic mem-branes (eardrums) twice dailyover a period of 30 days
  • Increased water in-take (chart in Water Monologue)
  • Stopped eating mi-crowaved foods, more organic
  • Used extra virgin olive oil in cooking and salads
  • Abstinence from caffeine, alcohol, tobacco
  • Gluten-free protein breakfast w/ real butter, yogurt, fruit, fruit juice
  • Nutritional supple-mentation to rectify deficiencies
  • Under doctor's guid-ance & as each bi-omarker improved, reduced prescription medication

    While not all cases of tinnitus and hearing loss line up exactly with the above, a major-ity of those observed during three studies leading up to the development of the Digi-Care® Multimodal Tinnitus Management (MTM) program that most cases of high frequency hearing loss and tinnirus do match quite closely. In some cases (about 35%), if caught early, the tinnitus compo-nent completely subsided. In yet others, the tinnitus was noticed only in quiet. But in nearly all cases (95%)--even the most se-vere cases--where all aspects of MTM were faithfully observed, the tinnitus was more easily managed, hearing loss was improved, and quality of life increased significantly*.

    *Note: Underlying contributors of tinnitus fall basically into three categories: Inflammation, hydration, and low cellular pH (acidosis). Correct these and sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, and the effects of tinnitus and hearing loss are dramatically improved.