In search of silence: Tinnitus Causes, Distress and Attention.
Posted by Xeno on July 17, 2009
The high pitched ringing in my ears (tinnitus) is increasing. I previously noticed it only right before going to sleep and only in my left ear. Now it is in both ears, morning and night and throughout the day. This morning I did something with my attention to greatly reduce the noise. I purposefully forced it to become like a dream that fades. This reduced the sound from a “10″ to about a “3″. It came back and I was able to repeat the experience, but it returned again and is currently extremely loud.
Many thanks to the person who described being cured by antibiotics and that late stage Lyme disease was the cause. I’ll definitely get checked for that soon, just in case.
Here is something about Tinnitus and attention:
Abstract Tinnitus related distress corresponds to different degrees of attention paid to the tinnitus. Shifting attention to a signal other than the tinnitus is therefore particularly difficult for patients with high tinnitus related distress. As attention effects on Event Related Potentials (ERP) have been shown this should be reflected in ERP measurements (N100, phase locking). In order to prove this hypothesis single sweep ERP recordings were obtained in 41 tinnitus patients as well as 10 control subjects during a period of time when attention was shifted to a tone (attended) and during a second phase (unattended) when they did not focus attention to the tone. Whereas tinnitus patients with low distress showed a significant reduction in both N100 amplitude and phase locking when comparing the attended and unattended measurement condition a group of patients with high tinnitus related distress did not show such ERP alterations. Using single sweep ERP measurements the results of our study show, that attention in high tinnitus related distress patients is captured by their tinnitus significantly more than in low distress patients. Furthermore our results provide the basis for future neurofeedback based tinnitus therapies aiming at maximizing the ability to shift attention away from the tinnitus.
Tinnitus (pronounced “tin-it-tus”) is an abnormal noise in the ear (note that it is not an “itis” — or inflammation). Tinnitus is common — nearly 36 million Americans have constant tinnitus and more than half of the normal population has intermittent tinnitus.
About six percent of the general population has what they consider to be “severe” tinnitus. That is a gigantic number of people ! In a large study of more than 2000 adults aged 50 and above, 30.3% reported having experienced tinnitus, with 48% reporting symptoms in both ears. Tinnitus had been present for at least 6 years in 50% of cases, and most (55%) reported a gradual onset. Tinnitus was described as mildly to extremely annoying by 67%.(Sindhusake et al. 2003)
Tinnitus can come and go, or be continuous. It can sound like a low roar, or a high pitched ring. Tinnitus may be in both ears or just in one ear. Seven million Americans are so severely affected that they cannot lead normal lives.
The most common types of tinnitus are ringing or hissing ringing, whistling (high pitched hissing) and roaring (low-pitched hissing). Some persons hear chirping, screeching, or even musical sounds.
Note however that tinnitus nearly always consists of fairly simple sounds — for example, hearing someone talking that no one else can hear would not ordinarily be called tinnitus — this would be called an auditory hallucination. Musical hallucinations in patients without psychiatric disturbance is most often described in older persons, years after hearing loss, but they have also been reported in lesions of the dorsal pons (Schielke et al, 2000).
I had a burst ear drum in the ear where the sound started. I was also read-ended in a car accident several years ago. I’m thinking this physical damage lead to a viral infection (before the sound started I was sick for an entire month and had too two full courses of Zithromax antibiotics). I’ve also been in contact potentially with tics and mosquitos outdoors and possibly with water containing mercury. Read about Ototoix drugs.
If I have, as I suspect, damage to the 8th nerve from one or more of these causes, there is hope:
The results suggest that the mammalian auditory nerve has the capability for self-renewal and replacement. Transplantation of progenitor cells together with established means to induce neural differentiation and fiber growth may facilitate strategies for better repair and treatment of auditory neuronal damage. – sciencedirect
Unfortunately, I have also had a few episodes (although not recently) of dizziness, so I may have an acoustic neuroma.
An acoustic neuroma is a tumor that grows from the sheath (covering) of the eighth cranial nerve. The eighth cranial nerve, also known as the vestibulocochlear nerve, is a bundle of nerves responsible for hearing and balance. This bundle consists of the cochlear nerve (responsible for hearing) and the superior vestibular and inferior vestibular nerves (responsible for balance).
Ugh. Time for a brain scan perhaps.