Tinnitus Returns: Slumping in front of Computer Causes Ringing in Ears

Yesterday I reported that I’d forgotten all about having tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Well, ha! Last night I noticed it again.

Poor posture causes tinnitus, ringing in the ears.

What was I doing yesterday that is different from the last couple of months? I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for hours at a time. (I made a new website, indextrious.com, that advertises a friend’s billboard space. Check it out.)

If you’ve been reading my site, you might know that I consider slumping posture to be a cause of tinnitus. When you’re slumping, your life fluids—blood, neurons, et cetera—can’t flow around unimpeded and their obstruction can cause problems such as fatigue, headache, numbness in the hands, and of course tinnitus.

It’s really easy for me to slump at my desk, and do I slump—back rounded, shoulders hunched, chin thrust toward my computer monitor.

I’m now on a mission to train myself to sit up straight as I’ve trained myself to stand up straight.

I’m going to start by reviewing the Alexander Technique.

(There are many books on the Alexander Technique. This is one that gets a good rating. Mouse over image for more information. I have viewed a DVD with William Hurt and Jane Kominsky called The Alexander Technique, which I found very helpful. I would like to recommend it, but it is currently unavailable.)

13 smashing comments for this post.

  1. Alfred Visser Said:

    Alternative treatments for tinnitus

    Conventional wisdom says that there is no cure for tinnitus. There are many other alternative tinnitus treatment methods that have been tried with regard to finding some relief for this debilitating condition known as tinnitus which affects about 50 million people in the US alone.

    There are many alternative treatments for tinnitus options available to the tinnitus sufferer today:

    1. Acupressure: This was originated by the Chinese using this pressure on certain points of the body is thought to help decreasing the level of tinnitus.

    2. The Alexander Technique (This is not really an alternative treatment for tinnitus): Here the tinnitus patient is taught posture and other techniques aimed at improving blood flow to the ears which is thought to relieve the symptoms of tinnitus.

    3. Aromatherapy: Today aromatherapy treats patients as it is believed to help in reducing the tinnitus.

    4. Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a method where people are taught to improve their health by using communications from their own bodies.

    5. Deep Breathing: This is helpful in relaxation and in minimizing the stress. It is advised to take 175 deep breaths constantly every hour until tinnitus relief happens.

    6. Chiropractic: This helps to improve blood supply to the head and ears which can help with tinnitus in certain individuals.

    7. Diet, Vitamin and Nutritional Supplements: diets play a key role in the alternative treatment of tinnitus and vitamin and nutritional supplements help keep your immune system in shape.

    8. Lifestyle: Tinnitus sufferers should exercise regularly to help increase blood supply to the head.

    9. Massage: Massaging for tinnitus has been found to have some effect. Relief is obtained by using the thumb and index fingers to gently massage the earlobes and edge of the ears.

    10. Meditation: It is basically a mind over body technique which helps improving tinnitus as one relaxes and try to concentrate on some other thing other than the symptoms.

    11. Reflexology: When one is tired and stressed out tinnitus is at its worst and reflexology can help with relaxation techniques which in turn lead to a lowering of the tinnitus noises.

    12. Low Level Laser Therapy: Low Level Laser Treatment (LLLT) for tinnitus has been practiced for about 20 years in Europe and is beginning to be recognized and practiced in Canada.
    It stimulates mitochondria in the cells to produce energy through the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Mitochondria are the power supplies of all cells; they metabolize (burn) fuel and produce energy for the cell in the form of ATP. In stimulating the mitochondria, laser therapy can repair damaged tissue and return cells to a healthy state, reversing many degenerative conditions.

    Of these, Low level Laser treatments for tinnitus are by far the most successful of all alternative treatments for tinnitus. Low Level Laser treatment is fast being acknowledged and accepted as the only safe treatment that brings positive results. Low Level Laser treatments do not have any side effects and have a long and proven history of relieving tinnitus.

    laserkontrol.ca

  2. Rosalie Ross Said:

    Thank you so much, Dr. Visser, for your list of things people can do to relieve tinnitus.

    I had not heard of the Laser treatment you describe. It sounds very very good and I wonder if it can help with deafness.

    I imagine the Laser might be aimed at stimulating re-growth of the little hair-like nerve cells in the cochlea.

    Would you like to tell us more about it?

    Rosalie

  3. Jimmy Jones Said:

    Slumping in front of a computer can cause Tinnitus because of poor posture ??

    I think this is clear case of an elephant in the room.
    It’s a bit like standing on a hot piece of coal and then blaming the pain on a stomach upset!
    From a scientific standpoint the cause of Tinnitus is NOT bad circulation but more likely to be the fine hairs which are inside the inner ear communicating sounds to the brain. They have been damaged in some way.
    i.e. they have been flattened and have not restored themselves to the default position necessary for unimpaired hearing.
    This damage can be caused in several ways

    1. It can be from an infection of the ear.
    2. It can be from repeated exposure to load noise such as that in a disco or using a Chainsaw without hearing protection for long periods.
    3. It can be from ONE burst of very load noise such as an explosion or the report of a gun.

    Tinnitus can be a complicated and confusing condition the damage may not be noticed at first, but can be exacerbated and enhanced by various sound sources. Such as a computer!
    A computers power supply contains a device known as a switched mode power supply, I will not go into the technical details here but suffice it to say it gives off an extremely load VERY high frequency sound which can affect an already damaged ear . This can give rise to an almost false ringing in the ears if exposure to the computer sound is for long periods of time.
    If the high frequency sound is removed the ringing will disappear over time. This does not mean that the damage has gone but the symptoms can be relieved.
    This sound can also be given off by an amplifier which also has a switched mode power supply.
    The tinnitus sufferer is unaware during exposure of the sound but hears it later after the sound has been removed.
    So this fellow who is slumping near his monitor is being exposed to a very load noise which is above the normal human frequency range, but affects the inner ear.

  4. q simmons Said:

    I have a tinnitus that comes and goes. It’ll disappear for days, weeks, perhaps even months at a time. Then one day it’ll show up, and it’s a very obnoxious low-frequency hum/vibration in my right ear.

    When i go through a layoff period (generally in the winter), I sometimes spend six to eight plus hours sitting at the PC. Sure enough, that’s when the tinnitus starts to roar for days at a time.

    It seems unlikely that it’s caused by any of those listed by Mr. Jones. I can’t say that posture has anything to do with it, but I can’t rule it out either. Bad ergonomics perhaps leads to impaired blood flow to the ear? Seems unlikely too. I don’t know.

  5. Rosalie Ross Said:

    Dear q simmons,

    It sounds like you’re getting so engrossed in your activity that you stay at it until your head is buzzing, like it would if you were pulling an all-nighter.

    But here’s something else to think about.

    I think the number one reason for tinnitus is anxiety. (Only 25% of tinnitus is attributed to noise and almost none to infection.) You’ve definitely got anxiety when you’re laid off.

    The first time it occurred to me that I could do something about my tinnitus was when I was reading the newspaper and the siren started and I realized that I was reading about something that worried me. Then I started keeping track, and I noticed that the tinnitus came whenever I encountered something that I didn’t like and felt powerless to do anything about.

    Then I knew it was up to me to disconnect, if you will, the tinnitus from the anxiety.

    It’s harder for me to do if I’m worrying about personal job/money issues, though, and my tinnitus sounds then more like what you describe.

    The first step to solving your problem is figuring out, as you’re doing, when it tends to happen.

    What are you doing at the computer? Are you being constructive or are you fooling around and making yourself feel guilty and worried. Are you concerned that someone will criticize how you’re spending your time?

    Yours, Rosalie

  6. stephen Said:

    Yoga! Upward facing dog pose is the antidote.

  7. lina henderson Said:

    This comment is in reference to Jimmy Jones post.
    I can tell you that tinnitus cause by poor posture is very real. I happen to get buzzing in the ears every time I sit at the computer or to read. After seeing a ENT I was told to see a neurologist,who confirmed that the buzzing in my ears is related to posture. The cervical vertebras,if arthritic,can cause pressure on the nerves or on the circulatory system, causing a buzzing noise in your ears.

  8. Josef Said:

    I subscribe to the idea that computer switched power supplies cause or at least aggravate tinnitus.
    My hiss in the head is pretty low in the morning, but builds up gradually and when I go to bed it is quite strong. I spend lot of time at the computer. And no, I don’t feel guilty about anything.

    Josef

  9. Rich Said:

    I have developed tinnitus over the past 6 months. I played in bands for years and often experienced ringing in the ears but it always went away in time. Now, I have a constant ring night and day. I have noticed that the computer and TV make the problem much worse.

  10. Stanley Schwartz Said:

    Is this true? I work on a computer all day and this is something I have to be concerned about if this is actually true.

  11. Rosalie Ross Said:

    It may or may not be true for you. It’s something to consider when you’re trying to figure out what exactly is the trouble.

    I tend to sit very straight when I’m typing and slump when I’m using the mouse.

    My tinnitus comes when I stay up very late working, and as it gets late and I get tired, I slump more and more.

    I recommend sitting up straight every time you remember and taking stretch breaks every time you remember–even if it’s just to lift your chest and twirl your wrists while you’re checking your work.

  12. brandon Said:

    I can attest to this. I do not get it persistently, it will only last for a few moments. I realized today that it is triggered when I shift from a head-sticking-out-looking-at-the-monitor position into a more upright one. Inflammation in the muscles/nerves/etc. in the back of the head can impact the sinuses/nerves, amongst other things.

  13. Ali Said:

    Six months ago, I’ve experienced that ‘white noise’ ear ringing. I thought it was computer related because, recreationally after work, I watch movies and TV on the computer as well as playing games.

    I first thought it was because of Intel’s turbo core technology emitting a high frequency noise, so I upgraded from a Q6600 to the newer i5. It was upgrade time anyways. Well, sadly, my ears were still ringing. I had build these towers with quiet guides provided by Silentpcreview (.com).

    So, Intel based technology could or could not exasperate or even be a cause my ear ringing. I also assumed that the PSU switching power was causing it like said in another comment. I, then, decided to build a tower with AMD components along with a different brand of power supply. Sadly, I figure the fans are triggering or simply aggravating the tinnitus and that’s all there is to it. It’s the first weekend with the new tower and my ears are ringing far worse due to the louder PSU fan and more ventilated tower that my other Intel ‘quiet’ towers don’t have (both have Antec Earthwatts whereas the AMD tower has OCZ Modxstream).

    I’ve basically burned up a whole lot of money for nothing while proverbially trying to scratch an itch that I can’t get to. I’m stuck with a couple of computer towers to liquidate, but the worse thing is that I’m stuck with a case of tinnitus that is driving me mad.

    It’s a wireless world out there now, more than ever, and perhaps all that electrical interference junk is taking a toll on our vital systems. Who really knows?

    Rosalie responds: Tinnitus is mentioned in ancient texts. It’s nothing new to the digital age. I wish we could blame it on technology, but No.

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Health Tip
People with tinnitus are found to have lower levels of zinc and B-12. Get yours in a B-Complex plus Zinc and Vitamin C
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