Tinnitus causes perception of sound in one or both ears or in the head, in the absence of any external sound. It is often referred to as "ringing in the ears", although some people hear hissing, roaring, whistling, chirping, or clicking. The ringing can be intermittent or constant-with single or multiple tones-and its perceived volume can range from subtle to shattering.
It is estimated that in U.S. alone, over 50 million experience tinnitus to some degree. Of these, nearly 25% have severe enough tinnitus and about 5% are so seriously debilitated that they cannot function on a "normal," day-to-day basis. The population of affected appears to contain more number of "intellectuals", in sedentary occupation.
The exact physiological causes of tinnitus are not known to science. There are, however, several likely sources, all of which are known to trigger or worsen tinnitus.
- 1. Noise-induced hearing loss - Exposure to loud noises can damage and even destroy hair cells, called cilia, in the inner ear. Once damaged, these hair cells cannot be renewed or replaced.
- 2· Wax build-up in the ear canal - The amount of wax ears produce varies by individual. Sometimes, people produce enough wax that their hearing can be compromised or their tinnitus can seem louder.
- 3· Ear or sinus infections - Many people, including children, experience tinnitus along with an ear or sinus infection. Generally, the tinnitus will lessen and gradually go away once the infection is healed.
- 4· Jaw misalignment - Some people have misaligned jaw joints or jaw muscles, which can not only induce tinnitus, but also affect cranial muscles and nerves and shock absorbers in the jaw joint. Many dentists specialize in this temporomandibular jaw misalignment and can provide assistance with treatment. On the other hand, tinnitus can start by removal of wisdom teeth, (last molars) if cranial nerves in the neighborhood get damaged.
- 5· Cardiovascular disease - Approximately 3 percent of tinnitus patients experience pulsatile tinnitus; they typically hear a rhythmic pulsing, often in time with a heartbeat. Pulsatile tinnitus can indicate the presence of a vascular condition-where the blood flow through veins and arteries is compromised-like a heart murmur, hypertension, or hardening of the arteries.
- 6· Certain types of tumors - Very rarely, people have a benign and slow-growing tumor on their auditory, vestibular, or facial nerves. These tumors can cause tinnitus, deafness, facial paralysis, and loss of balance.
- 7· Certain medications - Some medications are ototoxic-that is, toxic to the ear. Other medications will produce tinnitus as a side effect without damaging the inner ear Ex.- aspirin, quinine and some antibiotics. Effects can depend on the dosage of the medication, can be temporary or permanent.
- 8· Head and neck trauma - Physical trauma to the head and neck can induce tinnitus. Other symptoms include headaches, vertigo, and memory loss.
Often the practitioners of the modern medicine use words "you just have to learn to live with it." Far from being helpful, this phrase increases the isolation and frustration of the tinnitus patients. They are alone, and they are without hope. Often, patients say that they are going mad at the continuous noise.
Tinnitus Ayurvedic View
Ayurvedic name for Tinnitus is "Karnanada". According to Ayurveda, tinnitus in not a disease but a symptom of prana vayu disturbance. Prana vayu is a subdosha of vata which resides in the head and governs all higher cerebral functions.
Causes of Tinnitus
The reasons which cause vitiation of Vat dosha are also causing this disease. Thus lack of adequate sleep, tired nerves due to increased worries, incessant talking, excess fasting, excess exercise, sudden shock/grief/fear, excess and difficult to digest cerals in the food, excess bitter medicines/vegetables etc are some of the reasons for tinnitus. Depletion of dhatus as a result of excess indulgence in sex is also another reason.
Samprapti ( Pathogenesis) of Tinnitus
Sushruta says when vayu covered with doshas taking faulty passage get located in sound carrying channels,then the patient perceives various types of sound;this disease is known as pranada or Karnanada(ringing in the ears).
Vata principle governs movements in the body like circulation, digestive movements, sensory movement etc. It is made of air and space elements .If vata gets vitiated air and space elements get increased in physiology and disturb all the bodily functions of movements. This leads to pressure in the head , nervous system, dryness in the senses, tinnitus, loss of sleep, dry scalp, dry skin , tendency of unstability, anxiousness, nervousness etc.
In tinnitus the sound is experienced only by the patient, it is not external it is internal, it is not the persons imagination it is result of internal, vata, imbalance.
According to Ayurveda vata body type people are prone to suffer with high frequency, pitta body type people with moderate frequency and kapha body type people have the tendency to suffer with low frequency sounds.
Another similar condition is karnasveda(sound in ears).Here Vayu aggravated by exertion, wasting, intake of rough and astringent food and also after head-evacuation and excessive use of cold associating with Pitta, kapha and Rakta gets located in the passage of ear and thus produces sound of bamboo in the ears.
The difference between karnanada and karnaksveda is that the former is caused by single vata with perception of various sounds while the latter is produced by vata associated with other dosha and with flute’s sound.
Tinnitus (karnanaad) may lead to hearing loss (karna baadhirya). It may not be necessary that all tinnitus cases cause hearing loss. People with high vata imbalance, vata body type are more prone to certain other disorders like hearing loss. So these people prone to a condition called hyperacusis (certain high-frequency sounds can be very painful, this condition is also known as hyperacusis.), concentration problems, sleeping problems, irritation and annoyance, hypersensitivity to sounds, or increased sensitivity in silence. chronicity of this problem causes despair, frustration and depression in many people
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