Why are more and more people opting for Ayurveda for Tinnitus treatment?
At UWAY, we’ve noticed a significant surge in Tinnitus cases, with a remarkable 40% increase over the past six months, which includes children. In this article, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, conventional treatments for Tinnitus, and the growing interest in Ayurvedic Tinnitus treatments
What Causes Tinnitus? – Understanding the Triggers
Tinnitus, characterized by ringing, roaring, or buzzing sounds, is a prevalent condition impacting a significant portion of adults. Recent medical surveys from May 2023 in India revealed a 6.7% prevalence of tinnitus among adults, with 76% reporting intermittent tinnitus. Notably, tinnitus affects both adults and children. While Tinnitus may improve over time in both age groups, it can worsen progressively in some cases. ‘Chronic Tinnitus’ is the term used when these symptoms persist for three months or longer.”
Tinnitus is a common condition, and while its exact origins are not completely clear, several factors have been associated. Here’s a concise breakdown of potential tinnitus causes:
- Noise Exposure: Exposure to loud sounds in various settings, such as workplaces, concerts, or sporting events, can lead to tinnitus. It’s worth noting that veterans are particularly vulnerable to tinnitus due to their exposure to loud noises, like gunfire, machinery, and explosions.
- Hearing Loss: Tinnitus is strongly linked to hearing loss, which can result from aging or prolonged exposure to loud noise. Interestingly, not everyone with hearing loss experiences tinnitus.
- Medications: Certain medications, especially when taken at high doses, may trigger tinnitus. These can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin), specific antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs, anti-malaria medications, and certain antidepressants.
- Earwax or Ear Infection: Blockages in the ear canal caused by earwax or fluid from an ear infection can be tinnitus culprits.
- Head or Neck Injuries: Injuries to the head or neck can harm the ear’s structures, nerves that transmit sound signals to the brain, or areas responsible for processing sound, potentially leading to tinnitus.
- Cervical Spondylosis and Its Link to Tinnitus: Cervical spondylosis ranks among the primary contributors to tinnitus. Often, it’s perceived as a symptom of the underlying condition, leading people to overlook the need for specific treatment. Nonetheless, once the root issue is addressed, the associated symptoms can gradually diminish
Less common risk factors for tinnitus include:
- Ménière’s Disease: This inner ear disorder, besides causing balance and hearing problems, can induce tinnitus.
- Jaw Joint Issues: Problems with the jaw joint, located close to the ear, can result from teeth grinding or jaw clenching, potentially aggravating or causing tinnitus.
- Tumor-Related Disorders: Benign tumors like vestibular schwannomas (acoustic neuromas) can affect the nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain, leading to tinnitus. Other head, neck, or brain tumors may also contribute.
- Blood Vessel Problems: Conditions like high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or blood vessel abnormalities near or within the ear can disrupt blood flow and trigger tinnitus.
- Chronic Conditions: Tinnitus has been associated with various chronic conditions, including diabetes, migraines, thyroid disorders, anemia, and autoimmune disorders like lupus and multiple sclerosis.
It’s important to acknowledge that while numerous factors can cause tinnitus, some individuals develop this condition without any known cause.
Allopathic Tinnitus Management
This typically involves hearing tests (audiometry), imaging studies like MRI or CT scans, and blood tests.
Allopathic treatment for tinnitus frequently involves medication, especially when an underlying medical condition is at play. Common medications used for tinnitus management include:
- Antidepressants: Medications like amitriptyline are prescribed to mitigate tinnitus-related depression and anxiety.
- Antianxiety drugs: Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam, can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality for individuals with tinnitus.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be considered if tinnitus is associated with inflammation.
- Vasodilators: Medications that enhance blood flow, like betahistine, may be recommended when tinnitus is connected to circulatory issues in the ear.
3. Hearing Aids
For tinnitus related to hearing loss, allopathic treatment often includes hearing aids. These devices amplify external sounds, making it easier to hear ambient noise and lessening the perception of tinnitus.
4. Sound Therapy
Sound therapy employs external noises, such as white noise machines, to mask or distract from the tinnitus sounds. This approach can aid in habituation to tinnitus over time, reducing its impact on daily life.
5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT, a psychotherapeutic approach, proves beneficial in managing tinnitus-related stress and anxiety. It endeavors to modify negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with tinnitus, empowering patients to cope effectively.
6. Surgical Interventions
In cases where tinnitus stems from structural issues within the ear, surgical interventions may be considered. Common procedures encompass cochlear implants, auditory brainstem implants, and the removal of obstructions contributing to tinnitus.
Does Tinnitus Affect the Brain?
One other common question patients have is if Tinnitus affects the brain in some form ?Tinnitus can initially heighten brain attentiveness, but prolonged exposure to it can have detrimental effects. One of the research reports from the University of Illinois discovered that chronic tinnitus can alter specific brain networks, making the brain more alert and less relaxed.
These networks include the dorsal attention network, which reacts to stimuli like touch and noise, and the default mode network, responsible for relaxation and rest.
Under normal circumstances, when something captures a person’s attention, the dorsal attention network activates. However, the default mode network usually steps in to facilitate relaxation and prevent mental fatigue.
In individuals with tinnitus, the persistent ringing or buzzing sound monopolizes the brain’s focus, preventing it from entering the default mode. Consequently, the brain remains in a heightened state of attentiveness, leading to mental fatigue.
COVID-19 Pandemic Effects on Tinnitus: Recent Research Findings
Ongoing research highlights the impact of COVID-19 on various aspects of health. Among the findings, COVID-19 is associated with hearing-related symptoms, including dizziness, vertigo, and hearing loss. A study surveyed 3,103 people with tinnitus, revealing that 40% experienced a deterioration of their condition during the pandemic. The exacerbation was linked to factors like medication use, lifestyle changes, and emotional distress. Researchers note the need for further investigation into the relationship between COVID-19 and tinnitus, emphasizing the importance of available medical services, helplines, and support groups for those affected.
Why and When Do Patients Opt for Ayurvedic Tinnitus Treatment?
The majority of tinnitus patients turn to Ayurveda when they are already undergoing allopathic treatments, or when they have exhausted their current treatment options due to various factors:
- Ineffective Allopathic Treatments: Many patients seek Ayurvedic treatment for tinnitus after not experiencing relief from prolonged allopathic treatment.
- Ineffectiveness of Hearing Aids: When hearing aids fail to provide significant relief or do not perform optimally, patients often consider Ayurvedic alternatives.
- Exploring Non-Surgical Options: Some patients, even after being advised to undergo surgery, prefer to explore non-surgical avenues for managing their tinnitus.
This shift to Ayurveda typically occurs when individuals are seeking alternative solutions and a holistic approach to their tinnitus concerns.”
What are the treatment options for Tinnitus in Ayurveda
Patients seeking Ayurvedic Tinnitus treatment can be broadly categorized into three groups:
- Tinnitus caused by physiological issues.
- Tinnitus stemming from psychological problems.
- Patients with Tinnitus resulting from a combination of both physiological and psychological factors.
While identifying the root cause of Tinnitus is relatively straightforward for patients in the first category, it necessitates a more sensitive diagnosis for those falling into the other two categories.”
Please understand that our approach to treatment is highly personalized because the disorder is quite complex. In cases where the issue is primarily physiological, which accounts for 60% of cases, we use a combination of oral and topical applications. However, patients falling into other categories necessitate a different approach
Tinnitus, especially in its chronic form, can cause mental exhaustion. The brain requires regular intervals of relaxation and rest, such as sleep, meditation, breaks, and relaxation, to recover.
Chronic tinnitus constantly draws the individual’s focus to the ringing sound, preventing full relaxation. This results in mental and physical exhaustion, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, and fatigue.
While it’s challenging to outline a precise Ayurveda protocol for tinnitus, patients can expect a combination of the following treatments when seeking Ayurvedic care for Tinnitus:
- Karna Poorna (Warm Medicated Oil Ear Drops):
- Karna Poorna involves the gentle administration of warm medicated oil drops into the ears, soothing auditory nerves and alleviating tinnitus symptoms.
- Kaval and Gandusha (Oil Gargling and Mouth Holding):
- These oral practices entail swishing specific oils in the mouth for a designated period, effectively calming Vata dosha and promoting ear health.
- Abhyanga (Full Body Massage):
- Abhyanga, a revitalizing full-body massage with medicated oils, fosters overall well-being and aids the body in managing tinnitus more effectively.
- Shirodhara is a deeply relaxing therapy where a continuous stream of warm herbal oil is poured onto the forehead, helping reduce stress and anxiety often associated with tinnitus.
- Snehpana (Internal Oleation):
- Snehpana involves the consumption of specific medicated oils to pacify Vata dosha, reducing tinnitus intensity and promoting inner balance.
- Virechan (Purgation Therapy):
- Virechan is a cleansing therapy that purifies the body and mitigates the effects of tinnitus, especially when aggravated by excess toxins.
These Ayurvedic therapies, when complemented with Vata Shamaka (Vata-pacifying) oral medications, play a pivotal role in managing tinnitus. They aim to fortify the nerves surrounding the ear while addressing the root cause of tinnitus – an imbalance in Vata dosha.
In Ayurveda, tinnitus is perceived as a reflection of Vata vitiation. These therapies are specifically designed to restore dosha harmony. Moreover, they enhance overall well-being, helping individuals find relief from the persistent sounds in their ears.
In summary, Ayurvedic tinnitus treatments offer a holistic alternative that not only targets symptoms but also rejuvenates the individual as a whole. These natural remedies promote peace and balance, reducing the impact of Tinnitus on one’s quality of life.