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How to cure Tinnitus

I have tinnitus. It first hit me when I was 30 after I'd not been sleeping enough for a period of about 2 weeks. I was also very unhappy with my job and stressing out over a career move... plus I'd been drinking more than usual (for me that meant going from nothing to getting drunk once a week with friends from work).

My system was under a lot of stress.

Previously I had suffered from TMJ Syndrome (from grinding my teeth in my sleep), which had caused me face, and head aches. I was getting that under control although my physio had warned me: if you don't deal with the stress, it will find another way to come out. It did.

The first bought hit me hard: I had strong ringing in one ear (left or right? I don't remember now) and light ringing in the other. It affected my hearing. I was tested and in the bad ear I was slightly deaf at low registers.

I got an MRI to be sure there was no tumour and the doctor gave me some gingko then told me to learn to live with it. I asked him if there was a connection with my TMJ. He said no. He was wrong of course. Later research on the net showed there's a strong link.

This doc also tested me for allergies (totally unrelated) and then sent me to buy a bunch of anti-allergy products from a company I later learned he had shares in. There are doctors like this in Singapore so beware. I won't name him but watch out for any ENT docs at Gleneagles who give you random allergy tests and generally seem totally uninterested in your actual condition.

I wasn't satisfied with his "live with it" prescription. So, I hunted around the net and came up with what promised to be a potential cure:

  • ginko
  • lecithin
  • vitamin B complex
  • no more caffeine
  • no more alcohol
  • lot of exercise
  • plenty of rest
I exercised like a maniac for 2 weeks and followed my dietary prescription strictly then ... poof! I had a complete cure.

Actually I had a complete remission. About a year later it came back, though not so strongly. Again I was tired and this combined with a few glasses of red wine seemed to trigger the tinnitus.

I took wine permanently off my drink list and returned to the regime. It worked again.

Over the next 6 years, I would get very minor boughts every 6-9 months which would last a day or two. Eventually, however, I grew to have a constant hum in my head. It wasn't loud - I could only hear it at night before sleeping when everything was silent. And I'm conscious of it at classical music concerts during very quiet passages. For the most part, however, I'm completely unaware of it.

I exercise regularly now, drink almost no caffeine, rarely drink alcohol and take vities every day. I also believe my teeth grinding is long gone. I do however, often fail to get enough sleep.

It's Back!
That’s been my problem this past week: not enough sleep. Because of it, I've been drinking tea at the office to keep me awake. It's not a good combo for me: fatigue and caffeine. The amount I drink (2-3 cups) probably isn't a problem: it's just that relative to what I usually drink, it's way too much.

Two nights ago, as I was going to sleep, I remember thinking that I couldn't hear any tinnitus at all - no ring, hum or whine. Ha! That proved to be the calm before the storm. Often before it comes, I go a little deaf!

In the morning, I woke up with a burgeoning case of the real thing in my left ear. It got worse as the day progressed. Of course timing always sucks: I had tickets to watch Gil Shaham perform with the SSO. Fortunately the noise in my head wasn't too bad during the concert though it would have been nice to enjoy it in silence.

Today it's fairly strong... it feels like one side of my head is living in an airplane cabin at 40,000 feet. That's exactly what the muffled sound and feel is like. It's the worse it's been in several years.

As I'm now living what most would consider a pretty healthy lifestyle, I have little left to tweak besides the amount of rest I get. I had 8 hours last night and I'm still exhausted so that shows I'd really let myself get run down - which is plain stupidity. Still, I'm confident I'll get this thing back under control by the weekend and I'll have a strong reminder for a while to get enough sleep.

It sucks but I think in a way I'm lucky to have it. I've got a very loud alarm bell to make sure I take care of myself. Because of it, I enjoy great health.

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