What’s that ringing?

Have you ever had an inexplicable ringing in your ears but don’t know why or how to get rid of it? You may have a condition called Tinnitus.

Tinnitus describes any sound a person can hear from inside their body rather than from an outside source. It may be experienced in one or both ears or in the head. Frequently described as a ringing sound, it can be a high pitched buzz, whine, tick, hiss, beep, whoosh, whistle, roaring, clicking or ‘crickets’ sound. It may sound like the wind or the sea and may be continuous or intermittent.

What causes tinnitus?

It is not fully understood but studies point to hyperactive neurological activity in cells used for hearing sensitivity, pitch etc. This can be brought on when suddenly exposed to a loud or piercing sound like an explosion. Other cases are linked to some type of head or neck trauma.

Tinnitus is not a disease in itself but a symptom that can arise from a number of factors such as ear infections, wax or something else lodged in the ear or nose allergies (allergic rhinitis). It can also be a side-effect of certain medications, and may result from an abnormally low level of serotonin activity.

It is not harmful but often has a significant impact on day-to-day life. It can be debilitating if the condition is severe. A lack of quality of sleep and concentration problems will wear on anyone and can result in sleeping problems and possibly depression.

Tinnitus affects one in 10 people in the UK and ranges from mild to chronic. Western medicine is limited in its treatment options, no prescription drug is available for this condition. While it is difficult to treat with Western medicine, it is not incurable.

How Acupuncture can help

Acupuncture can bring significant relief to those suffering from tinnitus and is a safe treatment to consider. Tinnitus is linked to nerve and touch sensitivity. For some, clenching one’s jaw or applying pressure to the neck can bring on or reduce tinnitus.

Acupuncture patients with this disorder will have a high response rate to the nerve’s natural response to pressure and the disorder’s sensitivity to certain points. In more temporary cases of tinnitus, high emotional strain or sudden anger can lead to ringing in the ears. Also diet can have an effect. Overworking or excessive physical strain can lead to nerve disturbance, causing tinnitus. Lastly, trauma is a common cause of the ringing noise associated with this disorder.

Acupuncture calms the excited nerve cells used for hearing.  Acupuncture is best known for relieveing pressure at different points of stress in the body and this is the same thing in that it can successfully relieve pressure in the nerve cells that have been triggered, calm the entire head and neck areas and subsequently calm the nerves associated with hearing sensations.

Acupuncture boosts serotonin levels and this may also account for its success in treating tinnitus.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments required will depend on a number of factors: the intensity of the symptoms at the time of starting treatment, stress and lifestyle. Advice regarding this may be given to help further.

Most people will need to come weekly for several treatments.

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