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Author Topic: What causes tinnitus?  (Read 51335 times)

Ylide

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What causes tinnitus?
« on: 15/12/2003 11:30:48 »
I've had tinnitus (ringing in the ears) since I was a teenager.  I'm not sure how it developed, I never listened to headphones very loud or very often..maybe from one too many blows to the head during football and wrestling.  I learned quickly to tune it out, however.  It's been over 10 years since I first got it.

But lately, it's been getting worse, sometimes the ringing is so loud it hurts.  Normal sound always overrides the ringing, even when it's really bad, so it doesn't interfere with my hearing, just with my sanity.  (especially when I'm trying to sleep!)

Is there a way to treat tinnitus or do I just need to readjust to the new level of volume?



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« Last Edit: 22/01/2009 09:06:41 by chris »

Donnah

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #1 on: 15/12/2003 17:00:21 »
Jay, have you been eating more salt lately?  Excess salt can make it louder.  I've had tinnitis off and on since childhood, and constantly for almost 20 years.  You can try taking 30 mg of CoQ10 and 10 mg of manganese daily with a good multivitamin.  It's supposed to help, but I haven't tried it yet.  You can be the guinea pig and let me know.;)

Ylide

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #2 on: 16/12/2003 02:35:03 »
Hmm...I HAVE been eating more in general lately, which could coincede with more salt since I tend to eat out and cook rich salty foods.  I'll cut out the salt and try some vitamins and see what happens.



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chris

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #3 on: 17/12/2003 17:18:10 »
Is this tinnitus in both ears, or just one ?

Any past history of severe infection, ear trauma, hearing loss, exposure to loud noise ? Any family history of thi problem ? Any exposure to ototoxic drugs like aspirin or gentamicin ?

Chris

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Ylide

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #4 on: 17/12/2003 21:40:35 »
It's in both ears.  I've never head a serious ear or head trauma, nor have I had an ear infection, and I don't think anyone else in the family has symptoms.  The only severe infection I ever had was a bronchial infection around age 10.  I don't think I starting noticing the tinnitus until my teens though.  I do have mild cauliflower ear in my left ear from being on the wrestling team in high school, but I don't think that's related since it's just some external scar tissue.  

I have had aspirin at various points in my life, of course.  






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Donnah

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #5 on: 17/12/2003 22:06:47 »
Question for you Chris.  I have tinnitis in my right ear and if I put a finger against my neck directly below the earlobe I hear a squishy, windy sort of sound.  That doesn't happen on the other side.  (No personal history of infection or hearing loss.  Several head traumas, some exposure to loud music, and a possible double dose of Tylenol during a particularly nasty migraine after which the noise was permanent.)  Why does it make a sound when I push on that side and not the other?
« Last Edit: 17/12/2003 22:08:05 by Donnah »

tweener

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #6 on: 18/12/2003 03:24:21 »
I've had tinnitus in my left ear since college (too much loud music) and have wondered what could be done.  I'm going to try your recommendation Donnah.  Thanks!


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Donnah

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #7 on: 18/12/2003 19:54:34 »
You're welcome.  Let me know how well it works for you; I might try my own advice.  Right now I'm busy rebuilding bone mass (the joy of being a middle aged woman).

Hey, just thought of something.  Do you suppose tinnitis is the origin of the expression "s/he has a tin ear"?

tweener

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #8 on: 19/12/2003 18:59:33 »
I don't know about the origin, but mine sometimes sounds like a piece of tin being rubbed with a file.

Hey!  maybe that's why I'm so sensitive to certain scraping sounds (we had another thread on that).  The scraping sounds cause interference/dissonance with my internal sounds and freak out some of my brain cells.


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Donnah

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #9 on: 20/12/2003 00:53:46 »
That's entirely possible.  Just the other day I was in a room with a fan and a pair of (noisy) external hard drives running and it gave me the willies because it combined with the tinnitis to create a horrible sound.

Mikek

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #10 on: 10/01/2004 14:45:25 »
I've had tinnitus for over five years in one ear only.  The past few months it has gotten worse and I have been reading a lot about it.  I recently found something that actually worked for me - i.e. it stopped the ringing.  I believe it is quite scientific.  From what I have read tinnitus can occur for many reasons - but a major reason is exposure to loud noise that causes a loss of "hair" cells in the ear.  These are not really "hair" cells but that is what some people call them.  I believe this is what happened in my case.  I have a slight hearing loss in the ear that rings - although it is still above the everyday audio range.  I know about this hearing loss because I have gone to several audiologists.  In cases like mine (I believe) where there is a hearing loss due to damaged "hair" cells, there is an issue with your nerve cells adjusting to the now absent sound.  I believe the nerve cells start to fire because they are healthy but the "input" device (the "hair" cells in your ear) is not.   Here's what I did to "fix" it.  On my computer I have a software music program that has a piano keyboard (I won't list the name of the program because I am trying to help - not to sell anything).  This software is very inexpensive (once you have a computer - or you could go to a friends house who might have it).  Using this program and a set of earphones (while my ear was ringing terribly) I found the exact tone of my ringing and matched it as best I could (the keyboard program had choices like "violin", "harpsichord" etc.)  The one called "whistle" was pretty close to my ringing sound, but the sound called "reed organ" was even closer to the exact sound.  I played this tone into my bad ear for several minutes turning the volume up and down (not ever too loud).  In fact, I especialy tried to turn the volume down so I could "just" hear it.  Believe it or not (and I am a big skeptic about tinnitus "remedies") - this worked!
I believe the reason is because I was able to exercise the nerve that had been laying idle (dormant) and "misfiring".  Once it got activated - it stopped ringing on it's own.  To find the "exact" tone of my ringing I played through the chromatic scale near the tone.  I found that at the exact ringing tone it started out loud but got softer if I waited.  On the tones near it - this did not happen.  I am NOT a doctor - but I beleive this is completely consistent with the Tinnitus Retraining Therapy offered at some clinics.  This relief may be only temporary - but when your ear is ringing all day - any relief (for several hours or days) is great.  Again, I am just telling you what worked in my case alone.

Ylide

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #11 on: 10/01/2004 23:12:18 »
Mikek, welcome to the forums.  Your method sounds interesting, maybe I'll give it a try.  My ringing sounds almost exactly like the "Emergency Broadcast System" alert they put on TV once in a while...I'm sure i could find a synth sound  like that.  



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Ylide

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #12 on: 10/01/2004 23:15:14 »
Oh and Chris, tinnitus question for you:

My doctor wants to put me on an SSRI for the anxiety I've been having.  I've heard from a few different sources that SSRIs can increase the intensity of the ringing in tinnitus cases, and then increase it even more if you go off.  My doctor calls bull**** on that.  What's your opinion?  I'm hesitant to start an SSRI for a variety of reasons, but this one's a dealbreaker.  





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Donnah

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #13 on: 13/01/2004 01:10:01 »
Hi Mikek, welcome to the forum.  Your remedy sounds (no pun intended) like a great idea.  I'll try to find something that simulates my tinnitis too.  Might be interesting for my family to know what I constantly hear.  Mine is very high pitched, like the sound you hear coming from electrical appliances (particularly TV) sometimes.  After a hearing test (prior to tinnitis) the technician said that I hear a higher range than most people and compared me to a dog (not the first time I've had that comparison;)).

Jay, can you talk yourself through these anxiety attacks?  I learned to do that when the mercury messed up my brain chemistry.  Just kept telling myself "this will pass, it always does" over and over to drown out the mental chatter exacerbating the anxiety.  I think it was you who said that anxiety is fear.  Can you find what your fear is and address that?  And how's your B vitamin intake?  You may be one of those people whose body has a higher requirement for B.  I noticed that B6 and B12 calmed the body and the mind.  I've forgotten now which one soothed the body and which the mind, but you can play with them.  I take a good B complex as a base and fine tune from there.
« Last Edit: 13/01/2004 01:12:28 by Donnah »

Ylide

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #14 on: 13/01/2004 03:04:52 »
Donnah,

I can talk myself through them in the sense I know exactly what's going on and that it's purely biochemical, but it's still rather uncomfortable.  A couple years of gobbling white blotter acid like Pacman gave me a rather insightful view into what's real and what's not and how to talk myself down from freaking out.

But that doesn't make the actual episode any less annoying...my heart rate and blood pressure shoot up, I become extremely light sensitive, my ears ring like crazy, my chest hurts, and I have this sensation that I'm going to die or go crazy, even though I consciously know what's going on.  It comes really suddenly, lasts a couple hours, and then has "aftershocks" that last about, oh, a week or so.  The doctor prescribed Xanax as a short term cure (which works marvelously I might add)  but wants me to go on Zoloft long term.  If there's even a chance that zoloft will increase my tinnitus,(or make me impotent!) fark that, I'll keep the panic attacks, thanks.  If my ear ringing gets any worse, I'd never sleep without chemical assistance.

It often comes on when I over-stimulate myself with too much caffeine for long periods of time and/or hyperfocusing on a video game or schoolwork for long periods of time and don't drink enough water.  (which is why I think it's purely biochemical and not psychological)
 
I take a regular multi-vitamin, I haven't tried any extra B-complex stuff.  I think it was you that recommended I try that and coenzyme Q10, I'd like to, I'm just awfully poor right now.

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tweener

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #15 on: 13/01/2004 17:54:07 »
Jay,
I'm certainly no expert here, but I'm going to drop in my 2c worth.

I've found that exercise is a great way to eliminate my depressive cycle.  When I workout 3 or 4 times a week (at least) for close to an hour, I feel really good all the time.  When I miss the workouts, my mood starts swinging down, I feel very depressed and sometimes have mild anxiety attacks.  Though it's nothing like what you describe.


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Ylide

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #16 on: 13/01/2004 23:52:14 »
You know something John.....last semester I was working out regularly and I didn't have a problem the entire time.  I hadn't made that connection...wow, thanks.  I'm glad school's starting up again next week so I'll have access to the gym again.





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Donnah

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #17 on: 15/01/2004 01:39:26 »
Jay, that's great if exercise works for you!  The B vitamins are low cost, about 1/6 of the price of CoQ10.  Look out for those antidepressants, I was on Effexor for four years and even though I took much less than I was told to, it killed (as in dead, dead, dead) my sex drive.  Took a few years of being off the stuff to get back to normal.


psychohawk

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #18 on: 15/01/2004 05:52:55 »
Cannabinoid, have you been exposed to any benzene containing solvents?  It is one of the most common causes of tinnitus in both ears.   There is benzenes in cigarettes.

Ylide

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #19 on: 15/01/2004 06:06:02 »
psychohawk, welcome to the fourms.

No, my tinnitus started long before i ever touched a cigarette (it started in high school, well over 10 years ago), and I had never handled benzene until, oh, about 18 months ago when I took organic chemistry.  Maybe it's from all the blows to the head I took in football and wrestling.  =/

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Thomas

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #20 on: 15/01/2004 10:23:08 »
I have tinnitus for 3 years now but thanks to a strict avoidance of nerve stimulants like caffeine and alcohol it has continuously improved and is now just short of disappearing.
The occasional use of painkillers (Aspirin, Paracetamol) has also greatly contributed to reduce the ear-ringing (both in the short and long term). More receently I have discovered the calming influence of alcohol-free beer.
For more information see my website http://www.mytinnitus.de

Ylide

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #21 on: 15/01/2004 18:12:12 »
I've heard that aspirin can actually cause tinnitus.  Maybe it's different for each person.  Low dosage of Xanax is actually doing quite well for my tinnitus.  As I said above, I've been taking it for other reasons, but my ears don't ring for days after taking one.  Too bad I won't take more than 2 week.  (because of the addictiveness of Xanax...last thing I need is to get hooked on it)



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psychohawk

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #22 on: 16/01/2004 04:46:28 »
Thomas The hops in beer Has a definite calming effect.  Hops are used botanically as a muscle relaxer.

psychohawk

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #23 on: 16/01/2004 04:50:28 »
Cannabinoid, does the loudness of the come and go or has the ringing gotten progressively worse over the 10 year period?

Ylide

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Re: What causes tinnitus?
« Reply #24 on: 16/01/2004 08:19:46 »
It comes and goes.  Various factors affect it and my noticing of it varies too.  Sometimes it's not there, but usually it IS there, I just don't notice it.  I may not notice it for months then not be able to sleep for a week because I've suddenly focused on it.  I don't think the maximum intesity has gotten worse since I first developed it, but it's definately variable.  It seems to be worst after I have an anxiety episode like last week (I get them maybe once or twice a year), after getting drunk (once or twice a month), and after hyperfocusing on something for a long period of time.  (rather often, though less intense)


Donnah, that's one of the main reasons aside from tinnitus that I am loathe to go on an SSRI.  I don't have many years of good sex drive left, I'd like to keep it for a while, thank you very much.


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