Tinnitus Cured but Patient still must Take her Vitamins

My tinnitus returned last week after being gone (yea!) for about two months. Because I had been feeling better, I’d quit taking my vitamins. I am much better, now, after a week of vitamin therapy.

Just 18mcg of B12 and 15mg zinc every day and I’m pretty much OK again!

Drugs as a Cause of Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)

According to the British Tinnitus Association (BTA), few drugs are ototoxic (damaging to the ear) and those are toxic only when obtained in high doses that we, as patients, are unlikely to encounter. (The exception would be some cytotoxic (toxic to cells) drugs used to treat cancer.)

Aspirin, taken at very high doses that with today’s array of medicines is rarely prescribed, may cause tinnitus until the dosage is reduced.

Commonly implicated are streptomycin and gentamicin, aminoglycosides in prescription ear drops, and diuretics, but none at dose levels commonly prescribed.

Quinine taken at levels required to treat malaria may cause permanent damage but at taken levels used to prevent malaria is not a problem. (I really like Quinine Water! I wonder if it’s exacerbated my tinnitus.)

So why are there so many drugs implicated as ototoxic?

In Britain, whenever a patient reports to her doctor the onset tinnitus with a course of medication, the doctor must report it to the Committee on Safety of Medicines. It takes only one report to add a drug to the list.

Tinnitus is common and medical treatment is stressful, so with stress as a well recognized trigger for tinnitus, one might expect that at some point every drug would be on that list.

Another non-worry seems to be recreational drugs—you don’t need to be concerned that marijuana is exacerbating your tinnitus.

Some patients do have idiosyncratic (individual) reactions to drugs. If you suspect you are one, consult your physician.

Source: Drugs, Food and Drink a white paper written by Don McFerran FRCS, Consultant Otolaryngologist Essex County Hospital Colchester, for the British Tinnitus Association, February 2005.

Low-Level Laser Treatment for Ringing in the Ears and TMD (TMJ Disorder)

In commenting on my last post, Alfred Visser suggests that the Alexander Technique for better posture will help. (The Alexander Technique turns out to be more than just posture improvement. I’ll get back to that later.)

Low-Level Laser Treatment may alleviate tinnitus caused by degeneration within the ear.

Dr. Visser recommends low-level laser treatment for tinnitus. He is an audiospecialist from the Netherlands and his website is in Dutch.

If you’d like to read in English about low-level laser treatment for tinnitus, go to this article by Jan Tuner DDS of the Swedish Laser-Medical Society. Following is his abstract.

Tinnitus is a debilitating condition with an increasing incidence, especially among the young generation, due to intensive sound levels at concerts and in headsets. It is, however, not solely a problem of the modern world. The condition is described in papyrus documents dating back 600 BC. Some famous historic persons have suffered from tinnitus, such as Martin Luther, Jean-Jaques Rousseau and Ludwig van Beethoven. It is estimated that roughly one person in ten is affected by tinnitus of some degree. The origin of tinnitus is controversial. It is claimed that tinnitus is located in the inner ear but also that it actually is situated in the brain cortex, as evidenced by PET-scanning. It is reasonable to believe that the condition can have several origins and that one of these then is of interest to the dentist. Low level lasers have been claimed to have a therapeutic effect on tinnitus and vertigo. In these cases the irradiation has been directed towards the cochlea. Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is also reported to be useful in the treatment of temporo-mandibular disorders (TMD). Furthermore, some patients are cured from their tinnitus when a proper TMD therapy has been performed. It now also appears that low level lasers can be used to advantage in the treatment of TMD-related tinnitus, and without actually irradiating the inner ear.

Dr. Tuner points out that tinnitus may be sourced both in the ear and in the head. I myself can feel and hear that this is true. This is why I believe that careful evaluation of the individual patient is a must and that multiple treatment approaches are necessary for an effective cure.

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.)

Sleep Hygiene Tips for Curing Insomnia: Three that Work for Me

I’ve been working this last month on insomnia, reading books on the subject and trying to improve my “sleep hygiene.” Mouse over the image for more information.

My head is happy! I haven’t noticed my tinnitus—ringing in the ears—for a couple of months!

These three sleep hygiene things cured my insomnia.

1) I made my room DARK!

I went to Bed Bath & Beyond and spent about $400 buying floor-to-ceiling drapes that block 98% of light.

This totally changes the look of my room, of course, which I resisted doing. I installed the black-out curtains over my cafe-style light-and-airy tab-tops. I had been using a sheet over the windows to help darken the room, but it just wasn’t enough—there is too much ambient city light here at night.

2) I started getting up at the same time everyday.

This takes a bit of discipline, but I think it’s what helps the most. I choose 6 am because two days a week I go to yoga at 7. Sometimes, when I don’t need to get up at 6, I just lie in bed and listen to the radio.

3) I changed my attitude about getting ready for bed.

I began to think of nighttime preparation as a relaxing ritual instead of a dreaded chore.

It used to irritate me to have to brush my teeth and close my curtains. Now I use my evening chores as a cue to relax and get ready to sleep. I set the alarm, get a drink of water, and take off my watch thinking how good it’s about to feel lying in bed instead of how these little chores are keeping from getting there.

Now that’s a useful skill to cultivate–recasting something you’ve thought of as bad into something that’s good!

Sleepless Nights: Getting Help for Psychophysiologic Insomnia

In an effort to find better sleep, I zoomed off to the library and checked out some books on sleeplessness. First up is Goodbye Insomnia, Hello Sleep by Samuel Dunkell, M.D.

Bed as horror

One of my problems, quite apparently, is what Dr. Dunkell calls conditioned or psychophysiologic insomnia. I’m so used to being unable to sleep that I look at my bed and anticipate the agony of lying there awake all night. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy—see your bed as a horror and it becomes so.

Patients with this problem sleep quite well other places, which explains why I slept like a baby Saturday in my friend’s bed.

Bed as refuge

When I’m in a period when I’m having good sleep, I look at my bed and see a refuge. So last night I began working on changing the image I hold of my sleep-space. Last night I tried to recall that feeling that my bed is a refuge.

Patients with this problem tend to like naps, which I do during a good sleep period but haven’t lately. I’m too “up” all the time.

Being “too up” is a strong indicator of the hyper-thyroid.

(See the odyssey of my Graves Disease diagnosis at a Tinniuts-Free previous post.)

I’d say my problem is a combination, with the psychophysiologic insomnia triggered by the hyper-thyroid insomnia.

Sleepless Nights Caused by Hyper-Thyroid (Graves Disease) and Lack of Vitamin D

I’m pretty sure I can attribute my sleepless nights to failure in my battle against hyper-thyroid (Graves Disease).

Tuesday morning (yesterday) I looked in the mirror and saw, to my dismay, that my right eye was popping out more than usual.

Then, when I was having my breakfast and reading the paper, a time when I should feel calm, my little heart was beating too fast—at least it wasn’t pounding away while I was lying in bed, which is even more annoying!

This leads me to review my vitamin D intake.

1) I’ve been lax taking the pills and I may not be taking enough when I do.

2) I haven’t seen any sun lately and when I do, I’m covered with warmies from head to toe because we’ve been lucky lately to crack 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

3) I haven’t been eating lately sardines or tongel tuna. (Tongel is a tuna that is more oily than the usual super-market varieties. I buy it at Trader Joe’s.) I suspect these help, because my consumption of them seems to coincide with a better time for both sleep and thyroid.

So yesterday, I began with three cod liver oil pills—at 130 IU’s each, still only 390 IU’s. Recommended is 400 IU’s vitamin D, which many researchers consider wildly inadequate.

And yesterday, in the middle of the day when the sun is at its best, I took a sunbath through the clouds, baring by belly and my thighs while wearing a sunhat and a sweatshirt. I entertained myself for half an hour, there in my backyard, reading a book on insomnia.

Our National Institutes of Health information on vitamin D seems a little outdated. It concentrates on bone health as the primary function of vitamin D and pegs a toxicity level at 2,000 IU’s. (I’ve been bumping that number and I have no symptoms of too much, only of too little.) New research indicates vitamin D is necessary for regulating metabolism, a thyroid function of extreme importance. Many find no basis in fear that too much vitamin D is toxic.

I’m not sure that the vitamin D3 added to milk and sold as the primary supplement actually does any good for the thyroid. It seems to me that the fish-oil and sun versions are necessary for complete health.

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
Health Tip
Hyper-thyroid can cause tinnitus, even before a hormone imbalance is detected. Vitamin D helps your body regulate thyroid. Get it naturally from
Cod Liver Oil

Information in these pages is not a substitute for visiting your doctor
and is not intended as medical advice.

Copyright 2007-2008 Rosalie Ross. All rights reserved.
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