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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016

Tinnitus: Silencing the Buzzing Ears

Advocate Chintamani had just one worry. He failed to understand why every word that left the judge's mouth buzzed in his ears. The remedy of putting the little finger in his ears, one at a time, and giving them some good shake-shake treatment did occur to him, but in the courtroom while the judge was speaking to him, he didn't find it to be the right thing to do. He was mindful that it would certainly look grossly improper and could also annoy the judge, which he certainly could not afford to, particularly when his arguments were not going anywhere with the court anyway.

He did not want to add to the odds against him, for it already looked like he was about to lose the case he had already been paid handsomely for, and while his case looked strong on paper and the arguments he had prepared managed to convince him, they were now failing him. The buzzing in the ear was only adding to his irritated state of mind and he wasn't being able to focus. The excuse of buzzing ears for a date seemed much too lame to even merit consideration.

In short, Advocate Chintamani was in deep soup and the soup was beginning to boil. Worse still, the boil was starting in his ears.

This is Tinnitus, a condition in which the affected person has ringing sensation arising from within the ear. Either one or both the ears could be affected. Generally, the sounds one perceives are akin to buzzing, hissing or whistling. The sound generated on account of the condition varies from person to person. Some people might be able to ignore the sound so generated because it is so faint that they can drown it away by concentrating on other sounds or diverting attention away. Then, there are those who actually suffer from the sound because it is so loud that they fail to concentrate on anything at all. This starts affecting their normal life right away. At night when one tries to sleep and there is little sound around, the buzzing or whistling in the ear could keep the person up through the night turning the next work day into a drowsy nightmare.

There are two broad categories of Tinnitus - Subjective and Objective. Subjective Tinnitus is the one in which the buzzing or ringing sound is heard only by the subject and nobody else hears it whereas Objective Tinnitus is the one in which the sound is also heard by someone who tries to detect the sound, like your doctor.

Subjective Tinnitus is generally a result of one's long exposure to loud noise. Such noisy conditions can be avoided, but we tend to ignore. So, if you are habitual of listening to loud music, try turning the volume down because long term exposure to blaring noise could cause Subjective Tinnitus. This is the reason why those who work in the music industry, particularly those who are involved in organizing rock concerts etc. are more prone to the condition.

So far as Objective Tinnitus is concerned, it is generally the result of the failure in filtering of the routine noises generated within the body. There are routine noises that occur in the body all the time, like breathing, heartbeat etc. But we do not hear them because such routine noises are automatically filtered out by the brain, but when this doesn't happen one keeps hearing the sounds that are actually produced unlike Subjective Tinnitus where the sounds are actually sensations and cannot be heard by others.

When it comes to cure, there is little medication available for Tinnitus, but this does not mean it is incurable. Tinnitus can be cured by adopting a healthy lifestyle. This means that if you are suffering from Tinnitus you need to pay attention to your diet and put together an exercise regimen to be strictly adhered to.

It is very likely that your doctor would recommend certain preventive measures. Avoid visiting places where there is loud noise, like dance parties, discothèques etc. And if it is not avoidable to be present at such place for one reason or the other, it is advisable that you carry earplugs so that when you are not in conversation with someone, you could use them to keep the unwanted sound at bay.

Exercising regularly is also known to reduce the symptoms. This is because exercise improves the overall health of the body, boosts the immune system and fine-tunes the circulation. This, in turn, reduces the symptoms of Tinnitus and provides long-lasting relief. Since the condition is not caused by some bacteria or virus, the cure does not lie in clearing the body of it, but lies in boosting the capability of the body to deal with the condition, which is why exercise and taking better care of the body works better than medication.

Dietary changes also help quite a great deal. In order to effectively deal with Tinnitus, one must enhance one's Vitamin intake. Raw and partly cooked vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals and help the condition.

Harmful substances like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine hinder with the overall fitness of the body. It follows that these substances interfere with the process of recovering from Tinnitus. Therefore, restricting the consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, tea and coffee is part of the remedy.

If your problem is acute and you find it difficult to lead a normal life because of it, chances are that the doctor would prescribe some medication for immediate relief. But this medication generally comprises of anti-depressants to keep your mind off the problem and allow some comfort. However, medication alone cannot help one in the long run. Continuing with medication for a long time can lead to unhealthy dependence on medicine, which certainly is not an acceptable option.

It has also been found that stress, particularly work related, adds to the problem. So, if you are undergoing stress at work, it could be one of the factors responsible for your condition. And in that case stress management techniques could really provide valuable help.

The remedy for the condition, therefore, lies in right diagnosis of the problem and also the identification of the possible causes depending upon which measures can be prescribed.

The condition can definitely be nagging, but can be taken care of so long as the patient cooperates with the doctor and takes all necessary precaution and makes the prescribed changes in his lifestyle. If you do that, soon enough your ears would stop talking and begin to do what they are meant for - listen.


Note: This is not a piece of authoritative medical opinion or advice.

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