I have no time for Tinnitus – Muriel’s Blog

I have no time for Tinnitus, for I’m as busy as a bee

living life to the full, like a bird that’s been set free.

You came into my life and left me in such a mess

until I realised that paying you attention was heightening my stress.

So I will suppress you, compress you and ignore you, until you set me free

for there is one thing you can be sure of, you will not feast on me.

 

I have no time for Tinnitus. I refuse to let you intervene

and strongly refute that you’ll prevent me from being the person I’ve always been.

Though we’ll always be together – I fully understand,

but be sure of one thing – that I will not allow you to take the upper hand!

There is life after Tinnitus, while as yet no cure has been found –

if we manage our condition and remain positive, we can turn our lives around.

Like the soldier back from battle, the war has left him lame.

He picks up the pieces and goes forward, so we must do the same.

 

I have no time for Tinnitus, so I’ll ignore you all I can.

You are very prevalent and the blight of many a man.

We must always remember that life is for living.

Tho’ events can beset us which are quite unforgiving.

So we must stay with the moment and never look back,

keep the present in mind so that we remain on track.

The future is for tomorrow – the past already gone.

 

So Tinnitus sufferers everywhere let us each and every one –

state, that we have no time for Tinnitus, with one united voice

for if we grasp the help that’s out there, then we do have a choice.

Finally, our message to Tinnitus – to leave you in no doubt

that our aim will always be – to try and stamp you out!

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Chiropractic and Tinnitus Article by Priscilla So

I’m sure as tinnitus sufferers you probably know a bit more about the different symptoms, causes and issues than I do.  All I know is that in my 7 years of practice and my father’s 17 years of experience, we have helped numerous people reduce the frequency or severity of tinnitus or even report that it has completely disappeared.  Of course we know there are many reasons why people develop it and there are often many other symptoms that appear with it.  As Chiropractors we don’t treat symptoms as such and so I think I better explain exactly what it is we do do….

Usually a person comes to see us because they have a specific symptom that is bothering them such as low back pain, knee pain, headaches etc.  We always take a full medical history, neurological and chiropractic assessment of every person that walks in the door.

The body is controlled by the nervous system, the brain has nerve fibres that travel through the spinal cord and exit at every level of the spinal column.  I sometimes describe myself like a posh electrician because I help to make sure there are no blockages to the wiring that makes your body work.  The diagram shows where these nerve connections exit along the spinal cord and what areas of the body they supply.

Every cell in the body has to have communication to the brain to know how to function. The brain tells the cells what to do, but it also needs to receive information from the nerve fibres to know what is going on.  For example; if you need to move your wrist, your brain receives information all the time from the tissuesaround the joint and the joint capsule about where they are in space (proprioceptive nerve fibres) and what’s going on, this happens without you being aware of it. The information travels from the wrist through the elbow, the shoulder, up into the spinal cord in the neck and into the brain and back again.  If I damage my wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck or brain, that’s going to change the way the body moves that area or the muscles it can make fire.  I might notice that I can’t grip so well, that things seem particularly heavy or I might not notice anything different until because I’m using the muscles incorrectly, I start to damage them and feel pain. Tinnitus essentially is the nerve fibres in the ear being triggered as though they are responding to noise and telling the brain that there is sound, even when there isn’t. So what can cause certain nerve fibres to fire off?

There are three main things that can impede the function of normal nerve communication and so proper functioning of the body, they are:

 

Physical Stress:  so you can have a fall, you injure yourself, the body stops certain muscles and joints from moving while they heal and in the meantime you recruit different structures to move you, maybe in time damaging them and leading to symptoms. There can be changes in function before you notice and before you may feel symptoms.

We know that there are certain nerves that supply the ear and control its function, they exit from the top of the cervical spine, so if there is some problem with the joints, muscle and soft tissue in this area it can lead to nerve fibres firing off because they’ve been stimulated by damage, inflammation or abnormal movement, this can lead to symptoms, one of which may be tinnitus.  It is common not to have any symptoms in the neck with only tinnitus noticed.  That is why we as chiropractors look at function; do the joints function properly in their movement?  If they don’t then there is a problem.

Additionally the functioning of the jaw can have an effect on the ear, simply because of its proximity and its relationship with the surrounding musculature.  That is why some tinnitus sufferers may also notice their jaw clicks, pops or locks.  Chiropractors can also look at the functioning of the jaw, both the joint and the musculature and help correct this.

 

Chemical stress:  Are you eating the right foods for your body to repair, maintain and produce the chemicals to keep you working.  Bacteria, viruses and chemicals in the environment also cause changes to your body that affect its function.

Did your symptoms start after an illness or infection?  As chiropractors, not only can we check to see whether there is any structural issue that may have aggravated the problem and help that, for example; a kinked Eustachian tube, a problem with how the jaw moves or cervical joint issues which affect how well the ear drains.  We can also talk to you about supplements and diet which may help your immune system if you feel you’re prone to infections.

Are you eating the right foods for your body to heal and repair?  We know that a lack of certain essential minerals or vitamins can impede nerve function and cause chemical changes in the body.

That’s why Vitamin B12 and zinc is sometimes recommended for sufferers.

 

Emotional Stress:  I know that when we feel tired, down, hungry or generally stressed, symptoms can appear.  The problem is probably there all the time but when our bodies are not coping very well we produce more stress chemicals and our bodies become less able to cope with stress, like the additional nerve firing from an overstimulated nerve cell in the ear.  Also symptoms can appear worse at night, this is simply because there is less to distract the brain, the nerves may be firing all the time and the brain can ignore it for a while but at night time it can seem worse, this is also true of people that see us because of pain.

So how can chiropractors help?  Well we believe that the body is self-healing and self-regulating, we just enable the body to heal as well as it can. Of course if you have suffered long term damage to the ear, this may not resolve completely or heal but it’s always worth seeing if there is anything else that is making it worse or aggravating it. As I hope I’ve explained; diet, stress and physical problems can all contribute to the symptoms you may be suffering.

My advice, give your body a break, make it easier for it to function by drinking enough water, eating well, sleeping well and visit a chiropractor to make sure there are no additional structural issues that may be causing stress to the body.

Priscilla So Masters (Chiropractic) DC

Advanced Rated Activator doctor.

 

Priscilla is the owner of two practices in Matlock, Derbyshire and Bedford, Bedfordshire.  She works in the Matlock Clinic and Frank, her father and Esther Kong practice in Bedford. Frank, Priscilla and Esther use the Activator technique; a hand held device which delivers a specific gentle thrust to move a joint, normalise nerve function and reduce inflammation. The activator protocol specifically determines which structures are involved and in what direction they need adjusting, so the treatment is precise, measurable and gentle.

 

so-healthy.co.uk

Group counselling sessions to help manage Tinnitus

We were asked to plan a set of Workshops/group counselling for people experiencing tinnitus.  It was agreed to undertake 4 Workshop sessions, each of which would be for 2 hours per month.

There was a lot of planning involved for each Workshop/group counselling, but the hard work resulted in a set of 4 excellent sessions.  We worked closely with Margot Boss, Hearing Therapist from Chesterfield Royal Hospital, both in planning the Workshops and at each Workshop Session.

Each session was flexible and interactive, allowing participants to share their experiences and to be fully involved in discussions.

The group was relatively small which was ideal as everyone interacted freely and became friends and no one felt intimated in sharing their story, their thoughts and anxieties about tinnitus.

We also encouraged them to bring along their husbands/partners and one lady brought along her husband who readily participated in the discussions.

The basic format was:-

 

Session 1:

At the start of the session we gave everyone an Advice Sheet which was to make them aware that it is essential to have a proper diagnosis and the appropriate procedure from GP to ENT and Audiology in order to have their hearing checked properly.

At our first session we gave everyone the opportunity to talk about their tinnitus experience and what they wanted to achieve from the workshops.   Then we talked about:

What is tinnitus?    Understanding hearing and tinnitus  Tinnitus and how we respond

The subject of hearing equipment was covered because the majority of the participants had, in fact, been given hearing aids and some of them were experiencing problems adjusting to them.

At the end of the session we gave them some homework to do and they certainly took this on board.

 

Session 2:

The second session started with feedback from the homework.  One lady in particular had put a lot of effort into her homework and a lively discussion followed with word association and tinnitus.

This session covered perception of tinnitus and exploring indepth psychological responses to tinnitus.  We asked the group to think about their reactions to tinnitus which we put on a flip chart, recognising self-defeating thoughts.

We then challenged the thoughts that fuel their tinnitus and their unrealistic expectations and discussed ways in which they could think differently.  We discussed with them how to develop managing tools and techniques that would help to change their negative thoughts and beliefs, using our case studies where appropriate.

The session finished with a relaxation routine based on imagery.  Then set their homework.

 

Session 3:

This session centred on sound enrichment both as a practical measure and psychological tool and also discussed ways in which to help them to have a good night’s sleep.   In this session we used resources for sound therapy borrowed from the BTA as well as CDs.   No homework was given after this session as we encouraged them to experiment with sound.

 

Session 4:

At the final Workshop we went throughall the main points of our three previous sessions.  A lively discussion took place and all questions were answered.  They said that,not only had the workshops helped them to manage their tinnitus much better, but also the opportunity to talk openly to others and to understand that their reactions to tinnitus were experienced by others was invaluable to them.

 

What they found therapeutic was putting their thoughts down on paper; these thoughts changed over the sessions – which was positive proof that the sessions had been beneficial!

At all Sessions we used a visual presentation with positive imagery and helpful thoughts.  

After all sessions we gave them resources so they could build up a portfolio of helpful hints, tips and techniques. 

We gave them a feedback form after the last session which showed that the sessions had been very positive. 

Tinnitus research priorities established

After months of hard work, the James Lind Alliance (JLA) Tinnitus Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) has published the top ten research uncertainties for tinnitus agreed by patients and clinicians. It is hoped that these will be a catalyst for more tinnitus research and encourage funders and researchers to rise to the challenge of addressing the selected priorities.

The top ten research uncertainties chosen were:

  • What management strategies are more effective than a usual model of audiological care in improving outcomes for people with tinnitus?
  • Is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), delivered by audiology professionals, effective for people with tinnitus? Here comparisons might be with usual audiological care or CBT delivered by a psychologist.
  • What management strategies are more effective for improving tinnitus-related insomnia than a usual model of care?
  • Do any of the various available complementary therapies provide improved outcome for people with tinnitus compared with a usual model of care?
  • What type of digital hearing aid or amplification strategy provides the most effective tinnitus relief?
  • What is the optimal set of guidelines for assessing children with tinnitus?
  • How can tinnitus be effectively managed in people who are Deaf or who have a profound hearing loss?
  • Are there different types of tinnitus and can they be explained by different mechanisms in the ear or brain?
  • What is the link between tinnitus and hyperacusis (over-sensitivity to sounds)?
  • Which medications have proven to be effective in tinnitus management compared with placebo?

David Stockdale, Chief Executive of the British Tinnitus Association said, “I am delighted with the top ten research uncertainties that have been selected as they represent a clear focus for future research as well as really capturing the questions that are important for patients and clinicians alike.”

Working with the JLA, the process of choosing the uncertainties began in September 2011, with patients and clinicians submitting the questions that they would like to see researched. Over 2500 questions were subsequently posed. A pooling and filtering process then took place removing anything previously researched leaving 393 questions. This long list was refined to 170 by removing those questions selected by only one or two people. These were then distributed within the tinnitus community so that patients and clinicians could choose their top ten. A shortlist was produced from these responses and discussed at a meeting in London on 16 July 2012 where both patients and clinicians finally agreed on the top ten.

The James Lind Alliance (JLA) Tinnitus Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) was led by the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) and the NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit.

The tinnitus uncertainties will now appear on the UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (UK DUETs). UK DUETs publishes treatment uncertainties from patients, carers, clinicians, and from research recommendations, covering a wide variety of health problems.

The top ten tinnitus treatments uncertainties will be launched at the British Society of Audiology (BSA) Conference on 5-7 September 2012. Deb Hall, Director of NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit, said: “The outcomes from this project provide a much needed boost to tinnitus research because they identify specific questions for scientists to address that will bring about real patient benefit”

Making a noise on Tinnitus

The following information was extracted from a report in the ‘compensation’ section of ‘hazards’ – The Workers’ Health and Safety Magazine (April-June 2012)

“Unions are drawing attention to a neglected occupational health issue, tinnitus, caused by exposure to noise at work.  The condition leads to buzzing or ringing noises in the ear.

Tony Rupa, head of legal services with the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), said: “People traditionally associate tinnitus and hearing damage with heavy manufacturing and music industries, but there are many people who work in the communications sector who are exposed to loud, continuous and high pitched noises.”

He added that the union “is assisting around 3,500 members with claims arising from the use of oscillators/amplifiers in their work, many of whom are suffering with tinnitus.”

Stephen Starosta received £7,500 from BT to cover the cost of equipment to help deal with his tinnitus.

The 56-year old started work for the company as a telephone engineer in 1989.  His job involved using BT’s ‘green set’ and ‘yellow set’ oscillators, devices that transmit a constant high pitched sound through a headset, allowing the user to listen for changes in tone and track faults in telephone cables.

Although the telecoms giant has since admitted that the equipment is dangerous and has withdrawn both oscillators from use, Stephen and his lawyers are concerned that other companies, who have been sold the old devices by BT, are still putting workers at risk.

Rail union ASLEF took up a compensation case on behalf of a member who developed the condition after a faulty train door slammed with an explosion-like bang.

The train driver, who is employed by Northern Rail Ltd, was left with tinnitus in his right ear.  This affects his sleep and means he is unable to concentrate on reading.  As a result of the condition, company policy meant that he was unable to drive trains for a year and was put on light duties for six months.  After receiving specialist treatment for his tinnitus he has been able to return to his job full-time.”