What Is The Ringing In Your Ears
This post is continuing from previous posts:
- Tinnitus Of The Ear – Questions And Answers About Tinnitus (Part 1)
- What Is The Cause Of Tinnitus – Questions And Answers About Tinnitus (Part 2)
A Car Crash Started It
My back and neck were injured in a road accident, when a vehicle stopped abruptly in front of my car. In hospital a high-pitched noise entered my head – it might have started in the crash, but I was in a state of some shock and may not have noticed it. The sound has not gone, and is temporarily worse if l quickly move my neck or shoulders.
It seems as if you sustained a whiplash injury. In such cases there are usually no broken bones, but damage to tendons, muscles, nerves or joints. Tinnitus, if it follows at all, can be immediate or after a delay of weeks or months. It usually persists. Injury to the muscles of the neck is known to cause tension in the muscles in and around the ear, and this is thought to be linked to tinnitus. Skilled physiotherapy applied to the neck can bring consequential relief to the tinnitus.
Can the loud hum I hear be tinnitus, or am I particularly sensitive to low frequency environmental noise?
Tinnitus can be heard as a hum, and can be very loud, while remaining low-pitched. Where the sound has an external source, people have variously blamed underground gas pipes, power-stations and overhead cables. The question is being studied seriously, and the Government has set up an inquiry with the help of the Building Research Establishment. Once the external sources of the sounds have been identified it may be possible to discover if they can cause tinnitus, as well as some people mistaking them for it.
My Prostate Fear
I have severe tinnitus, which has badly affected my life. I am willing to try experimental drugs, but am afraid to do so as all strong pharmaceutical preparations have the potential to enlarge the prostate, and I have no wish to add to my problems.
Your fear is probably groundless, although common enough. Very few drugs cause this. If you have the chance to take part in any proper trials of anti-tinnitus drugs, therefore, please weigh the opportunity on its merits and forget about prostatic enlargement.
On the Phone
My tinnitus gets worse when I am on the phone. Because of deafness I have to listen with an ear in which I wear a hearing-aid. Could the pressure of the phone make my noises worse ?
The concentration needed to use the phone can draw attention to tinnitus and make it seem louder. The sound from the phone, which can actually be louder than most speech heard face-to-face, can also aggravate tinnitus. If the phone is held tightly to an ear wearing an aid there can be discomfort, making the tinnitus less easy to bear. You could seek advice on using the phone with a hearing-aid from your nearest hospital-based hearing therapist.
Nearly thirty years ago I had a mental breakdown, for which I received electrical treatment. Ten years later, at the age of sixty-three, I had a similar illness, and my tinnitus started at the same time.
Nervous illness itself does not cause tinnitus. Stress, which you may have experienced, certainly can, but usually if there is already some heating disorder. Such a disorder can come on very slowly, and a person may not know about it until tinnitus starts.
Coming off Drugs
I had been taking drugs for depression and insomnia for a long time. When I suddenly came off them tinnitus started in both ears.
Head noises can start if you stop taking such drugs too quickly. It is always necessary to withdraw from them gradually under supervision. If the tinnitus persists there is usually another cause.
Unproven, but Harmless
Would reflexology make my head quieter? I keep reading about it.
It does have many devotees, but as far as tinnitus is concerned its value remains unproven. Like so many alternative treatments it is harmless, but be prepared to be disappointed.
But Can it Help Tinnitus?
I am told that chiropractic can be good for a whole range of physical problems, and can be better than osteopathy. Can it do anything for tinnitus?
Chiropractic now has official recognition as a proper manipulative therapy. It differs from osteopathy by largely concentrating on the spine and relies greatly on 'high velocity' movements of the body during treatment. It is, however, closely related to osteopathy. It is generally quite harmless, but as rapid and sharp manipulation is widely practised it is prudent to make sure that you are using the services of a properly qualified person. Some chiropractors make claims about relieving tinnitus but there are as yet no convincing statistics in its favour.
There have been bits of research undertaken involving a number of tinnitus sufferers but the relief reported by a number of them cannot be scientifically attributed to the treatment they received, as other possible factors have not been thoroughly excluded. However, any course of treatment which makes a patient feel better tends to make him more capable of coping with his tinnitus, which could well seem to diminish. Chiropractic should not, therefore, be dismissed.
Why is my Tinnitus Better in a Car?
When I am driving a car or travelling as a passenger my tinnitus seems to reduce and I can hear the radio and other people better. Does this tell me anything about my tinnitus, which I have had (moderately) for twenty years?
It does not reveal much about your tinnitus but it underlines a useful bit of information regarding hearing for people with tinnitus. A car is, of course, a very small room on wheels and the interior does not have many hard surfaces which make listening difficult for many deaf people. It therefore constitutes, for some people, the ideal environment for heating. Because you can hear more clearly your tinnitus seems to reduce. If you are driving, the mental and physical effort required also distracts you from the usual level of perception of the noises in your head. It is not possible to replicate the conditions of the car interior in many other places, but the car should remind you that hearing can in part depend on the size of a room and the choice of floor coverings and height of ceiling, etc.
Am I Likely to Get Meniere's Disease?
I understand that Meniere's disease and tinnitus are closely linked. As I have had a mixture of noises in my head for eight years and am now thirty-one, am I likely to get Meniere's?
Statistically you are not likely to experience it, whatever the cause of your tinnitus. Though largely controlled by drugs, Meniere's is a serious medical condition, but it is quite rare compared with tinnitus. It is true that people who have it commonly have tinnitus as a result, but the reverse does not happen. To find out more, you can check out What Is The Ringing In Your Ears.