High Pitch Ringing In Ears
For many people with tinnitus, negative emotional experiences play a pivotal role in onset, suffering, and later, relief from tinnitus. Severe tinnitus challenges the emotional stability of even the most resilient individual. Tinnitus is far more than a simple hearing disorder. Tinnitus is a complex intermingling of deficient brain chemistry, phantom auditory perception, cell receptor damage, and/or negative emotional experiences (among other variables). Tinnitus sounds may be similar from person to person, but the cause, onset, volume, and experience of that tinnitus can be very different. One modality of reducing tinnitus may work for some but it is becoming clear that a multi-modal approach to tinnitus reduction is indicated for most individuals.
Stress, depression, panic disorder, and anxiety are like fertilized soil for a farmer. The farmer planting the crops can be likened to the physical stimulus that causes the tinnitus and makes it persist (grow), while in most people, without the fertile soil, it only lasts a period of time. Once the tinnitus is "planted" in the brain of stressed or depressed individuals, it grows and soon plateaus in volume.
The brain initially becomes aware of this noise and initially does not like the noise. The part of the brain that probably detects the potential negative impact of this noise is the amygdala. It does this by comparing the sound of the noise to other noises the brain has experienced in the past, then determining whether action should be taken or not against the sound. (Unfortunately the amygdala cannot help us take action in reducing the noise.)
As the brain becomes accustomed to having the noise around, the noise is accepted as part of the daily experience of life. Tinnitus is often perceived as a threat to survival and the amygdala demands that it be found when the conscious mind notices it is "not there." (Have you noticed that when you awaken from a nap your tinnitus volume increases? For many, this is your brain's way of trying to keep you alive. The tinnitus is as persistent as breathing and, as with breathing, the brain will make sure the noise is detected if the tinnitus is correlated to a survival issue in some way.)
The brain does not think that tinnitus is "good." It simply is a survival issue. An intruding sound has been detected and a "sound loop" is created in the neural pathways and that keeps the tinnitus perception intact. Long after the physical stimulation for the tinnitus is gone (a loud concert for example), the tinnitus persists. The brain continues to find the noise. This is what is meant when it is said that tinnitus is psychosomatic in nature, even though the tinnitus onset was physical. Psychosomatic means that there is a significant emotional cause to a physical medical problem. It's not a dirty word.
In tinnitus, this is often, but not always the case. You will soon discover that this relationship works to your advantage when you begin your daily regimen to reduce tinnitus volume and distress. This is good news for the sufferer.
The continuation of noise (persistent tinnitus) is often not "necessary." The brain can be re-wired and re-programmed to stop playing the endless looping of tinnitus tapes. (Those with sensofineural hearing loss can also experience remission of tinnitus.)
Tinnitus can be "experienced" or "heard" in at least one of three general "locations."
- Central (In the head)
- Aurium (Unilateral- One Side)
- Binaural (Bilateral- Both Sides)
Surprisingly, the subjective experience does not necessarily reflect the location of the generation of the tinnitus. The best way to determine the location of the generation of the tinnitus is with a furosemide infusion.
Note: There is no need for YOU to have a furosemide infusion. The fact is it doesn't matter WHERE you think you hear your tinnitus. You treat it the same in all cases. This information is to enhance your understanding.
Research reported in 1996 by Drs. Shulman, Aronson, and Strashun seems to reveal three distinct forms of central tinnitus. Central tinnitus, as opposed to unilateral or bilateral tinnitus, is important to understand in reducing tinnitus volume because by central we are really "saying brain," SPECT Imaging of brain and tinnitus was accomplished with some of the following apparent neurotologic and neurologic implications. (Note: This is my interpretation of very technical research based on Shuiman, Aronson, Strashun, et. al.)
Tinnitus that is of central origin (not in the ears) seems to be of three general categories.
(A) Cerebrovascular disease where there is reduced blood flow to the cerebral hemisphere. (This may result in a stroke by the individual.)
(B) Neurogenerative disorders and associated dementia. Alzheimer's is an example; palsy would be another.
(C) Neuropsychiatric disorders such as dementia, schizophrenia, and affective disorder of depression. It is speculated that there may be a link between thought disorders present in schizophrenia and pathological sites in the left temporal lobe. A key for our discussion is the fact that SPECT studies of affective disorder show an overall decrease in regional rCBF especially in the frontal lobes. In depression the CBF seems to be normalized with clinical patient improvement.
It appears that there may be a creation of a paradoxical auditory memory center, by the tinnitus, in the hippocampal amygdala complex, and other portions of the limbic system may result in varying degrees of abnormality in affect ranging from mild anxiety to severe depression.
The significance of re-wiring the brain, as in the case of Derrick, appears as important as pharmacological intervention when considering this data. To learn how to banish your Tinnitus forever, you have to check out High Pitch Ringing In Ears.