Understand Your Tinnitus

UT-Understand Your Tinnitus

Here are some concise answers to common and important questions about tinnitus.  Read through.  Watch the videos if you want more information.

  • Where is the tinnitus “heard?” — brain (auditory cortex).  You can perceive that you are hearing sound without your ear machinery, but not without your brain machinery.  Of course, without your ear machinery, you cannot accurately transmit and interpret sounds in your environment, but that’s not what tinnitus is.
  • Where is the tinnitus generated? — brain stem or brain (auditory cortex). The lowest level where the nervous system puts signals together as non-environmental sound (what we call tinnitus) may be in the ear machinery, but this tinnitus nerve activity has actually been measured in the brain stem and the brain (auditory cortex). 
  • What predisposes one to (or contributes to the development of) tinnitus, and really any poor brain or body health problem? 
    • Genetics, diet, stress, nutritional status, physical fitness, sleep, and posture.  Here’s a video explaining Retraining the Emotional part of the brain to lower tinnitus suffering (CBT for Tinnitus) and many of the causes related to brain health…dementia specifically in this video (Dementia Prevention & Reversal)
  • What indirectly causes tinnitus? — 
    • Common: Waste product buildup in muscles (trigger points) of the head, jaw, and neck .  Here’s a video for more information:  Somatosensory Tinnitus
    • Common: Brain adaptation in the hearing center, after hearing loss .  Here’s a video for more information:  Brain Adaptation Tinnitus
    • Rare: swollen blood vessels, infections, or tumors irritating the hearing neurons. When in doubt, an ENT is the specialist who can tell you.
      • Swollen vessels usually cause pulsating sounds, in rhythm with your heart beat
      • Infections usually cause a fever and show up on blood tests
      • Tumors usually affect other nerve functions as well, like hearing, and it progressively worsens.
  • How can you know what is predisposing you to (or causing) YOUR tinnitus?
    • Rare causes: Evaluation by a qualified professional
    • Common: The Healthy Brain Lifestyle and the ATPI Tinnitus questionnaires we offer for free.  (These are part of the Tinnitus Recovery score at www.TinnitusSynergy.com.) 
  • What directly causes tinnitus? — Firing of neurons in the hearing center of the brain.  This is show in the Brain Adaptation Tinnitus video already referenced above.
  • What approaches have repeatedly been studied and found to be 25-35%  effective at reducing tinnitus sound or its effects? 
    • Sound therapies, including: Hearing aids, Maskers, Auditory Discrimination Therapy (ADT), Trigger Point Therapy are the most widely studied successful (30% or better improvement on THI).
  • Is tinnitus-related stress, sometimes called distress or suffering, worse with louder tinnitus?
    • No, LOUDER tinnitus does NOT CAUSE GREATER distress blamed on tinnitus.  I know that may seem impossible. Certainly, louder noises you do not want to hear are harder to handle, or more irritating, than quieter noises you do not want to hear.  But, studies show CLEARLY that one person with a certain tinnitus volume may have CONSIDERABLY less stress related to their tinnitus than another person with the EXACT same tinnitus volume.
  • How can one person with a certain tinnitus volume have CONSIDERABLY less STRESS related to their tinnitus than another person with the EXACT same tinnitus VOLUME?
    • Correct: They have the ability to FOCUS THEIR ATTENTION away from the tinnitus sound. (We train you on this in our “Attention Control” module.)
    • Correct: They CHALLENGE and REPLACE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS with TRUE and HELPFUL thoughts before it takes control of their EMOTION and BEHAVIOR. (We train you on this in our “Thought Challenger” module.)
    • Incorrect: Their tinnitus is NOT actually as loud as the other person.