Tinnitus; the bells are ringing!

Tinnitus is coming for you...

But here's a way to repair some hearing damage from a misspent youth.

If you're Gen X and Y generation you could be facing an epidemic of ear damage. Listening to loud music on MP3 players and now smartphones all day means you are facing a lot of hurt and pain over the next few years.

I did 'exactly' the same sort of things, with very loud music blasting away at concerts, sitting in front of the latest gigantic stereo speakers, been there, done that, and it definitely caused me some serious damage. I know this because around two decades ago it cught up with me. As I hit my mid 40's I found out I had Tinnitus, the symptoms are an itchy sort of hissing sound that would not go away, even sleep became a chore when it turned into a continuous buzzing / ringing.

Today the majority of people with Tinnitus are over 40 years of age, equally male and female, but that is changing as symptoms are already starting to show up in much younger people. Current medical opinion is that in about 50% of cases Tinnitus causes cannot be identified and of course it is vital to establish 'the cause' in order to treat correctly, so being in the 'simple health solutions business' when it happened to me I read everything I could find, studied treatments, then worked on a couple of ideas of my own. For me what worked was locating and releasing tension in the Eustachian tubes and the surrounding soft tissues.

For nearly two decades we have regularly and successfully treated Tinnitus and the vertigo/balance condition that often follows it, Meniere's disease. What we've found from this work is that ETD, Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, normally appears to be a major contributor in a large number of both these conditions.

For you to best understand Tinnitus and Meniere's plus why this treatment works, you need to learn a bit about the workings of the ear and the inner ear.

Sound travels down the ear canal to the Tympanic membrane, (the eardrum) and sets up a vibration which is passed on via tiny bones to the Cochlea. The Cochlea is lined with hair cells which move when stimulated by this sound wave pressure, and this in turn stimulates electrical signals to the brain which then translates this into sounds signals.

Ok that's the technical bit over.

Now if you've ever stood in front of a bass drum as it is being played, you will know sound reverberates down the body of the drum, and out the other end.

Inside your ear, sound waves travel down the ear canal then through eardrum and reverberate inside and down the Eustachian tubes which run down the sides of the neck below the ears.

Our clinical observations indicate this creates an Occupational Overuse / OOS or Repetitive Strain Injury / RSI state within the walls of the Eustachian tube itself. This creates swelling and scar tissue which restricts lymphatic drainage,increases endolymph pressure within the inner ear membranes, and reduces blood flow to the nerves in the area. We need to point out a host of other things can contribute as well.

They are; tight neck and jaw muscles, hormonal imbalances such as thyroid disease, even emotional stress. "Temporary tinnitus" can be caused by impacted ear wax, infections, punctured ear drums, allergies, even aspirin.

However, when Tinnitus is combined with hearing loss and dizziness, there is a distinct possibility that a person now has Meniere's disease. This is characterized by vertigo (severe dizziness), ringing ears, inter-mittent hearing loss and a full feeling in the ear.

Theories on Menniere's are that it results from fluctuating pressure of the Endo-lymph where membranes in the inner ear called the Labyrinth become dilated like a balloon under pressure when the drainage duct is blocked (bottom pic) causing a condition called Hydrops and it's also possible Meniere's is an autoimmune inner ear disease the jury is still out, so so much so that the underlying cause of Meniere's disease is stated as unknown! Most often viral infections of the inner ear, head injuries, hereditary predispositions, and allergies are blamed. We believe it's often just localised tension and reducing this tension gets us results!

The most dramatic and distressing symptom of Meniere's is 'Vertigo' where the room may suddenly begin to spin, focusing is difficult, nausea and vomiting usually follow. This is because the gel that normally holds the balance sensing crystals in the inner ear in place has now become too liquid and is over stimulating the nerves signals to the brain. Click here for more about the causes of Meniere's disease.

The use of Intratympanic gentamicin has reported cure rates are as high as 90%, but the necessity for repeated treatments and a lack of clear dosing guidelines are an issue. Betahistine can be effective in dilating the blood vessels so blood flow around the inner ear is increased reducing pressure on the labyrinth, plus salt intake restriction or mild diuretics can also help in preventing or reducing symptoms.

So, while the medical jury is still out, and if daily medication is not your thing, what can you do to help yourself? To find out we suggest you try this, and see if there is tension at these points, then we can focus on sorting that out.

Start by placing both fingers high up under the ear lobe as shown here. You are looking for a small indentation/groove that your fingertip should fit into quite nicely. Once you have found this point press in firmly and then slowly with firm pressure pull both fingers down the groove and notice where they meet any resistance.

What you are feeling for is a hard lump under the surface of the skin about the size of a pea. It can be on either, or both sides and it will be larger and harder on the side you feel the most inner ear pressure or tinnitus 'noise'. Note that as you do it, you can expect an increase in the sound of the tinnitus.

Work you fingers into the tension site pushing firmly inwards as you pull down. Note: If your condition has been present for some time this treatment may require a bit more pressure than your fingertips can provide and you may find this extremely sore to do. If that is the case fold you finger over and use your knuckle on the point of highest tension to get a release.

On the image to the left you will see a therapist using a specialist massage tool called a Bodytool® we use these and also the Mustang Magnetic Massager® to gain even deeper releases as they are able to be worked more deeply with less pain, so if your condition is chronic, you may want to consider getting hold of one of these. They can be purchased from www.azollahealth.com or we can supply you direct through our clinics, at Mt Eden and Hamilton in NZ or Cremorne in Sydney Australia.

If it's all a bit much and you just want it sorted you can contact us.

As with all of our treatments it's No change to your condition No charge or you can simply visit our website to find out more.

If 'the bells are ringing' and you want them gone, or you are sick of the vertigo this can definitely help.

Chris Toal

Chris Toal
Managing Director Wellness at Work Ltd.

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