Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Taming The Trolls Within

Tinnitus is a perception of a sound in one or both ears or in the head when no external sound is present. It is often described as ringing in the ears but also as hissing, roaring, whisthling etc. - but common to all - as a completely different sound as previously experienced from their external environment.It can be intermittent or continuus. It can accour as one time event, occassionaly or as long term symptom. Volume varies from subtle to shattering.Objective tinnitus has mostly physiological origin e.g. arterial anevrism in the brain. It is thereby only a symptom and not a disease itself. Treatment is with eliminating the cause.At subjective tinnitus abnormal auditory nerve activity is the only detectable change. This "true tinnitus" can be considered as a disease.What cannot be considered as tinnitus:-any external sound-sounds caused by change in external air pressure (at diving or quick changes in altitude (car on mountain road, plane...)-"voices" as psychiatric patients describe them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

9/11 Still Ringing in Your Ears

As workers wipe the final traces of the former Deutsche Bank building from the New York Skyline, residents in the Manhattan area can rejoice in the removal of this painful 9/11 reminder and continued threat. Besides reiterating the obvious global dangers our nation faces from terrorists, the presence of this building, shrouded in protective plastic, also reminded residents of the environmental dangers resting just below the surface of some of New York’s structures. Besides finding the remains of 9/11 victims scattered over the room of the damaged building, crews also found toxins like asbestos, lead and mercury, delaying the cleanup of the structure as leaders decided how to remove these toxins.

With the EPA’s addition of the Gowanus Canal to the Agency’s Superfund National Priorities List, neighboring areas might experience a similar level of protective action. Besides the well-known toxins present in the canal itself, including industrial and sewage runoff, buildings in the surrounding area present a constant threat to citizens, especially as improvements are made that can release previously contained toxins.

Asbestos, in particular, represents a great threat when disturbed, which allows its fibers to release in the air to be inhaled or swallowed. Leading to a lethal cancer, mesothelioma symptoms can lie dormant for up to five decades. Furthermore, these symptoms generally appear relatively mild, mimicking other illnesses like pneumonia, which allows the disease to progress into its later stages before treatment is sought.

In addition to the chemical presence New Yorkers had to endure after the 9/11 attacks, over 1,000 new cases of tinnitus were reported, adding to their lingering consequences of this event. However, this condition is not only an annoyance for the victims, but an actual attack on their sanity as they attempt to overcome the trauma of an event. This untreatable condition is just one of the many consequences New Yorkers must face and is further motivation for residents to urge city leaders to make improvements in areas over which they have control, like healthy renovation.

Learning about the specific risks, like mesothelioma, these chemicals pose gives residents greater influence over the nature of renovation taking place in a community. In an area with such a unique character, like Carroll Gardens, preservation of those characteristics is undeniably essential to both its history and identity. However, like any successful community movement, without knowing the issues developers and leaders will use to justify their actions, the voice of citizens deserving the greatest share in the discussion over development will be drown out by approaching jackhammers. Indeed, city leaders and developers respect and recognize detailed petitions detailing the drawbacks of proposals and alternative suggestions.

One useful strategy is to point out the problems brought on by the demolition of older structures, as exemplified by the Deutsche Bank building. Dangerous materials, like asbestos, can permanently be contained through enclosing or encapsulating the product, providing a permanent barrier between the toxin and the outside air. As a cheaper and safer alternative, residents can point to the numerous economic and safety benefits of renovations that seek to improve the community through minor safety adjustments that don’t threaten the unique fiber of the community. By pointing out the high rate of disease, including mesothelioma symptoms, seen throughout New York after the 9/11 attacks, city legislators are sure to be open to discussions regarding how to safely restore communities while simultaneously preserving their historical integrity.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

How Stress and Anxiety are Connected to Tinnitus

Stress can cause many problems and exacerbate others, including Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Many individuals suffer from this malady and can deal with it on a daily basis until stress levels rise and then the Tinnitus becomes significantly worse. Of course, there are many different reasons why an individual may develop Tinnitus, but stress and anxiety can intensify the effects of the ringing in the ears. Because of this individuals with Tinnitus need to manage the stress in their lives to minimize the effects.

In general, when an individual suffers from tinnitus the body feels as if it is being attacked at all times. So, the effects are never-ending and the body ultimately responds in a physical way with additional problems like insomnia, anxiety, and even depression. Once these responses occur they only serve to intensify the tinnitus, which is just a violent circle. Because of this it is incredibly important for sufferers to find a way to relax and keep their symptoms at bay (as much as possible) instead of stressing out and exacerbating them. Of course, this is much easier to say than to actually implement. But, nevertheless, it is very important to make an effort to achieve. Sufferers of tinnitus know this very well and try their best not to stress out because the ringing in their ears only gets worse.

It is unfortunate that tinnitus makes individuals stress out over their symptoms and then their stressing only causes their symptoms to worsen. Fortunately, for individuals with tinnitus there are ways to get stress under control before it gets out of hand and causes the individual worse ringing in their ears. One example of a way to reduce stress is to simply exercise. It has been proven that exercise really helps individuals relax, forget about what’s bothering them, and simply enjoy life. Those with tinnitus should exercise every single day in order to relax, forget about their ringing ears for just a bit, and hopefully relax enough to keep the symptoms from getting too bad. Another good option for reducing stress is to take part in yoga and meditation and even have a massage on a regular basis.

Nobody wants to have tinnitus and those who do certainly don’t want their symptoms to get any worse than they have to. Due to this individuals suffering from tinnitus should make all efforts to live a low key and relaxing life that has as little stress as possible. And, in addition to this tinnitus sufferers should do their best to exercise and take part in relaxation exercises to keep what stress they do have at bay. Many individuals suffer from tinnitus and of them approximately 90% experience exaggerated symptoms when subjected to stressful situations. Because of this individuals with tinnitus must do all they can in order to reduce stress in their lives so they may live an enjoyable life.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Treatment for Tinnitus

Treatment for Tinnitus by Mark Goeder-Tarant

If you have Tinnitus, or ringing of the ears, then you certainly want relief and you want it fast. The treatment options for Tinnitus vary significantly depending upon the cause of your problem. Some cases of Tinnitus may be treated successfully while others result in a disability the patient must learn to live with. The most important aspect of treating Tinnitus is determining that the ringing in the ears is not related to a treatable illness but rather resulting due to damage to the ear.

Treatment options that are prescribed for individuals who cannot deal with the constant ringing in their ears include the following.

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs are frequently used to treat Tinnitus. Maskers that make white noise, which in turn masks the ringing, have also been used successfully. If you are only bothered by your Tinnitus at night then a fan might be enough to distract you from the noise. You may also play your favorite CD or radio station at a low volume for the same effect.

Some Tinnitus sufferers have found relief from relaxation techniques as well. Biofeedback is yet another treatment method that offers some sufferers relief. The reason these relaxation techniques work well for Tinnitus sufferers is that stress often makes the ailment worse. So, those who suffer from Tinnitus should focus on staying relaxed and stress free to keep their symptoms under control.

Tinnitus sufferers should also keep in mind that caffeine may make their symptoms worse. This means switching out caffeinated colas, teas, and coffees for the decaffeinated versions. Things like chocolate and even some cold medicines have caffeine in them as well and should be limited to keep Tinnitus symptoms under control. Nicotine should be avoided as well, which includes cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products.

One of the most important things you can do if you suffer from Tinnitus is to protect your hearing at all costs. The reason why is that as you lose your hearing your Tinnitus symptoms will worsen. So, if you work in a loud environment, shoot guns, or are exposed to any other loud activity make sure you wear proper hearing protection.

Avoid salt, maintain a good blood pressure, get plenty of sleep, and don’t allow yourself to become anxious. The more anxious you become over your Tinnitus the more difficult it will be to live with. Exercising on a regular basis and avoiding aspirin products are also recommended for Tinnitus sufferers.

Many Tinnitus sufferers have said the best treatment is no treatment at all. They claim that simply ignoring the ringing in the ears is enough to allow it to fade away. Not focusing on it allows sufferers of Tinnitus to move on and enjoy their lives without constantly focusing on the ringing in their ears.
Most people will find their Tinnitus is not curable, although it may be treatable with one or more of the above suggestions. A very small percentage of people will actually have a medical problem that causes the Tinnitus like a tumor. However, most people with Tinnitus simply learn to live with it and find a treatment option that helps them deal with the ringing in their ears.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tinnitus: Basic Information

Tinnitus is a disorder that affects millions of individuals all around the world. Commonly people suffering from tinnitus, also known as ringing ears, find it hard to concentrate and lead a normal life. The reason for this is that in some cases the ringing of the ears is so loud that people suffering from tinnitus often develop some sort of sleeping disturbance, most commonly insomnia. In some cases tinnitus can be cured naturally without the need of any specific treatment, but for others treatment is the only way of ever curing it.

Nowadays there are many effective treatments available that are successful for certain cases, but may not work for others, it all depends on the nature of the tinnitus. Shown below is a list of some of the more commonly used tinnitus treatments used. Tinnitus retraining therapy

Tinnitus retraining therapy
(TRT) is a treatment commonly known as, habituation therapy, whereby a patient uses a combination of tinnitus retraining and sound enrichment techniques to reduce the perception of the noises caused by the tinnitus. This method might take some time to master but because there is no official 100 percent effective way of treating tinnitus, many patients are whiling to give this method a try.

Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive therapy is different approach to tinnitus treatment. Basically what’s pretended is a change in the way the patients reacts to the tinnitus rather than trying to cure it.
The therapy requires that the patient together with the doctor indentify the negative impact of tinnitus.

Masking is a method utilized not to cure tinnitus but rather control its effects. A devise commonly resembling a hearing aid, that is designed to produce low-level sound, is introduced into the ear to eliminate the perception of noise.

Hearing Aids
Some patients with severe tinnitus may in some cases benefit from the use of a hearing aid. By using such a device, the sounds of speech are brought above background tinnitus noise, making it easier for the person to hear other people. Hearing aids could also be used as a means of introducing white noise for blocking chronic tinnitus when sleeping.

Medicines and vitamins
There are some vitamins and a wide range of medicines that can help cure tinnitus. Some of Vitamins include Niacin, Lecithin, Zinc and Magnesium. Medicines that could prove effective include Anti-Depressants, Tranquilizers, and Muscle Relaxants, Alprazolam (Xanax), Klonopin, Anti-Convulsants, Intravenous Lidocaine and Anti-Histamine. Before starting a treatment using any sort of pharmaceutical drugs it is always imperative that a specialized doctor be consulted first.

Biofeedback is a therapy utilized to teach patients how to relax their muscles and automatic body functions. The main idea is to help people manage stress, which can worsen tinnitus, by changing the way the body responds to it. People using this method have reported that this method if done correctly can drastically decrease tinnitus noise.

Many other forms of treatment are available but because tinnitus can radically vary from person to person only an otolaryngologists can help decide which solution is best suited for each case.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tinnitus dangers for the IPod generation

The walkman and portable CD players are yesterday’s news, the iPod generation has officially taken over. These new hip portable music players, commonly known has MP3 players, have taken the world by storm not only by changing the way people perceive their music but also in the way they hear it. With the popularization of the MP3 player, people started listening to music on the go, whilst driving, working, eating, walking, exercising, satisfying their music desires all day long, anywhere and everywhere.
The problem resides in the fact that today’s youth spend hours every day listening to loud music on their MP3 players, frequently without any intervals for long periods of time. But the question we should be asking ourselves is, can these very trendy MP3 players cause earring damage and tinnitus? Pete Townshend, guitarist for the very popular 60’s rock band “The Who” believes that his tinnitus and consequent hearing loss wasn’t a direct result of their incredibly loud live performances but rather from using headphones while in the recording studio. Although the band was notoriously known for their excessively loud concerts, Pete Townshend explained that what really hurt his earring were the many hours he spent in recording studios and from listening to tracks for recreational purposes all through headphones.
Many believe that digital MP3 players introduced even a greater risk of tinnitus because they are more powerful and can hold substantially larger quantities of music. The old cassette walkmans and portable CD players (Discman) where quite large when compared with a MP3 player and because they required Cassettes or CD to play music, users never used them for very long periods of time without intervals. Even the most modest MP3 player can hold hundreds of songs and because these gadgets have a powerful rechargeable battery users can listen to music non stop for hours on end.
Many Specialists have repeatedly warned MP3 users that listening to very loud music with earphones could cause catastrophic and irreversible hearing damage. Furthermore, prolonged use, even if at reasonable moderate volume, could also represent a threat because today’s modern earphones are normally introduced directly into the ear. The concern is so serious that experts have even gone has far as saying that MP3 players should be designed to prevent users from playing music above 90 decibels.
If you are a MP3 user there are a few things you could do to limit your risks of contracting tinnitus. First, always play your music at a moderate volume, remember that it doesn’t take much to damage your hearing. Even occasional users are at risk if music is played too loud. Do not use a MP3 for very long periods of time, according to experts these devices should never be used for longer than one hour per day.
Last of all, if you are a regular MP3 user and think you might have suffered some hearing loss or damage, stop using any type of earphones or listening to loud music and visit a Hearing Specialist.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How to live with tinnitus

It is not true that there is no treatment for tinnitus. Occasionally, the cause of tinnitus can be treated.
For instance, if the noise in the ears is caused by a middle ear infection, antibiotics may solve the problem.
Here is some simple advice which can help the patient cope with the constant noise of tinnitus:
  • Learn to relax. Relaxation techniques can be of great benefit.
  • Try to keep your mind occupied with work or hobbies.
  • Try not to think of your tinnitus.
  • Lower the intake of caffeine - so do not drink too much coffee, tea or cola.
  • Maintain a good sleeping pattern - do not sleep during the day.
  • Be aware of noise levels.

Reiki- A possible treatment for Tinnitus?

Reiki an alternative therapy is excellent for any condition, but is particularly suitable for tinnitus and it's causes. Reiki is the 'Universal Life-force Energy' and is increasingly becoming accepted as complementary to both conventional medicine and to other alternative therapies. Working with a trained healer, this energy can work directly on your mental blocks. During my own first treatment, I felt a 'chili bean' in my brain - a very small area of intense energy: my mental block literally being zapped away by the Reiki energy. The following day at work, issues that would have got me annoyed had no effect whatever! You can learn the basics of Reiki treatment in a weekend course and treat yourself.

Mechanisms of subjective tinnitus

The inner ear contains many thousand minute hairs which vibrate in response to sound waves. Receptor cells (hair cells) in turn send signals to the brain which are interpreted as sound. Although receptor cells can be regenerated from the adjacent supporting Deiters cells after injury in birds, reptiles, and amphibians, in mammals it is believed that they can be produced only during embryogenesis. Although mammalian Deiters cells reproduce and position themselves appropriately for regeneration, they have not been observed to transdifferentiate into receptor cells except in tissue culture experiments.Therefore, if these hairs become damaged, through prolonged exposure to excessive volume, for instance, then deafness to certain frequencies occurs. In tinnitus, they may falsely relay information at a certain frequency that an externally audible sound is present, when it is not.

The mechanisms of subjective tinnitus are often obscure. While it's not surprising that direct trauma to the inner ear can cause tinnitus, other apparent causes (e.g., TMJ and dental disorders) are difficult to explain. Recent research has proposed that there are two distinct categories of subjective tinnitus, otic tinnitus caused by disorders of the inner ear or the acoustic nerve, and somatic tinnitus caused by disorders outside the ear and nerve, but still within the head or neck. It is further hypothesized that somatic tinnitus may be due to "central crosstalk" within the brain, as certain head and neck nerves enter the brain near regions known to be involved in hearing.

Pulsatile Tinnitus

In this form of tinnitus the sufferer hears something resembling their heartbeat in their ear. The cause for pulsatile tinnitus usually involves vascular, tumor or muscular causes. A blood vessel may be close to the eardrum, a vascular tumor such as a "glomus" may fill the middle ear, or a vein similar to a varicose vein may make enough noise to be heard. Other pulsatile tinnitus possibilities include dehiscence of the jugular bulb, and an abberently located carotid artery. An enlarged jugular bulb on the involved side is common in persons with venous type pulsatile tinintus.
In persons with pulsatile tinnitus, additional tests may be proposed to study the blood vessels and to check the pressure inside the head. Gentle pressure on the neck can be performed to block the jugular vein but not the carotid artery. The Valsalva maneuver reduces venous return by increasing intrathoracic pressure. If there is a venous hum, this usually abates or improves markedly. If the pulsatile tinnitus pulsation is arterial, these tests have no effects. MRI/MRA or CT is often suggested in younger patients with unilateral pulsatile tinnitus. In older patients, pulsatile tinnitus is often due to atherosclerotic disease and it is less important to get an MRI/MRA. In some cases of pulsatile tinnitus a lumbar puncture may be considered if there is a possibility of benign intracranial hypertension. More invasive pulsatile tinnitus testing includes the "balloon occlusion test", where a balloon is blown up in the internal jugular vein to see if it eliminates pulsatile tinnitus.
It is strongly recommended that all individuals with pulsatile tinnitus locate an excellent physician with interest in the circulatory system and complete a thorough examination. Based on research, which included reviewing 7 otolaryngology textbooks and over 250 research studies, data appears to support the underlying cause for detecting a pulsatile tinnitus as physiologic in nature. That said, there are many, many cases of pulsatile tinnitus that defy diagnosis and identification of the causative agent.