Tinnitus: An Epidemic That Other People Can’t Hear
What does the leading brand of low-calorie/low-carbohydrate pasta, noodles, rice and other dietary products have to do with tinnitus? Why would this blog cover such a topic? After all, tinnitus is an often debilitating condition, characterized by hearing phantom sounds such as buzzing or ringing in the ears that nobody else can hear. What does tinnitus have to do with Miracle Noodles?
As you’ll read later on, diet may play one important piece of the puzzle when it comes to the complex task of managing tinnitus. Another reason that we’ll cover this topic is that it affects many people.
What Is Tinnitus And How Common Is It?
In fact, approximately 50 million people in the U.S., or roughly 15% of the population experiences some severity of the condition, which oftentimes is constant. Imagine hearing non-stop noises that aren’t really there but sound terribly real.
The 20 million people estimated with burdensome chronic tinnitus, and the two million that have debilitating cases of it are suffering. Tragically, hearing these sounds on a constant basis and not knowing how to stop it has led some tinnitus sufferers to suicide.
To make matters worse, Covid-19 has been shown to exacerbate the condition or even cause it. Months after recovering from the disease, people who had never previously suffered from tinnitus are still hearing phantom noises.
There’s a very good chance that if you don’t have tinnitus, you will. According to an audiologist from the University of Iowa, 95% of people will eventually develop hearing loss. And if your hearing does diminish, you have a 30% chance of developing tinnitus.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a very tricky condition to manage, and the root cause of it is oftentimes unknown. For people who spent their teenage and young adult lives listening to music at deafening volumes, the cause of tinnitus is obvious (and perhaps the accompanying hearing loss).
Another subset of people that can easily pinpoint to the root cause of tinnitus is active military and veterans. It’s bad enough that while in the military, servicemembers are under aural assault from ordinance explosions, gunfire, rockets, jets, etc.
But from the early 2000s until just a few years ago, anybody who served in the military likely were using faulty earplugs from 3M. (Consequently, tens of thousands of active military and veterans have filed lawsuits.)
For many people, however, the reason for why they have developed tinnitus remains a mystery.
According to MayoClinic.com, tinnitus isn’t actually a condition itself. Rather, it’s symptomatic of an underlying condition. But figuring out the underlying condition is the tricky part. The culprits may include:
A problem with circulation
Former ear injury
Inner-ear hair-cell damage
Chronic health conditions that can alter nerve function in the inner ear
Meniere’s Disease (an inner ear disorder)
There are many other factors that may also contribute to tinnitus. Ear infections and certain pharmaceutical medications, including antidepressants and antibiotics can induce it.
Regardless of what the root cause is, for tinnitus sufferers, somewhere and something in their auditory system is causing the brain’s auditory cortex to interpret nerve activity as a sound.
Manage Stress, Manage Tinnitus
Stress is a major underlying factor that can cause tinnitus or make it worse. In fact, one study suggests that emotional stress is the trigger in 75% of new tinnitus cases. What’s interesting about the study is that it contradicts the prevailing notion that structural damage to the inner ear is responsible for new tinnitus cases.
Thus, if you manage your stress, you may be able to greatly manage your tinnitus. You may not be able to completely get rid of it; to date there is no cure. That means, if you’re not yet meditating or doing deep breathing exercises, or spending lots of time relaxing or recreating in nature, start doing so today.
Just remember that the goal of stress management isn’t to naively get rid of stress. Instead, yoga, Tai Chi and other stress management techniques neutralize the potentially harmful effects of stress.
Holistic Strategy For Managing Tinnitus
Because tinnitus is difficult to treat, a holistic management strategy is necessary. Here’s a list of some things that may help:
Vitamin B12 supplementation (deficiency of this nutrient has been linked to auditory pathway disorders)
Chinese herbs that strengthen kidney organ function (ginkgo biloba, rehammania, tree peony bark, Chinese yam rhizome, etc; seek advice from a qualified herbalist or acupuncturist).
Intermittent Fasting (Check out this study, which suggests fasting normalizes cellular function of the inner ear.)
Ear exercises (There are dozens of videos on YouTube; for best results consult an audiologist.)
Brain rebooting (neuroplasticity)
Avoid added sugars and cut down on starchy carbs (which is why this article is perfect for consideration on the Miracle Noodle blog)
Don’t surround yourself with negative and difficult people and certainly not loud ones!
Quite a few new tinnitus management therapies are currently being studied. These include electric tongue stimulation combined with ambient electronic music and oxytocin nasal spray.
It’s not known exactly when these promising therapies will become readily available. So if you want to reduce the severity of your tinnitus, adopt some of the holistic strategies above and good luck!