What is The Cause of Tinnitus and How is İt Treated?
Tinnitus is separated into two main groups. The small group which the reason of tinnitus is able to be detected, tests oriented towards the reason can solve the issue. With neuroimaging, tumoral formations inside the brain, problems take up place can be detected. Because those kinds of problems rarely cause tinnitus by pressuring nearing tissues and hearing nerves. Rarely, brain surgeries or radiotherapy can cause tinnitus.
Hearing losses can cause tinnitus too. That’s why hearing tests are applied to patients. If hearing loss is detected on hearing tests, it’s decided as tinnitus due to hearing loss. Generally, devices improving hearing solves the problem.
But, the main reason cannot be found by the tests that carried out for tinnitus. Those patients form the second group. They have the disease but the reason is cannot be found.
Tinnitus can be squawk or deep, low pitched or high pitched or shrill or weak. It can increase and decrease, stop and continue time to time. The most common is, fluctuating but continuous, increasing and decreasing type.
How is the hearing test carried out?
Human ear can hear 20 to 20.000 Hz frequency range as sound. In other words, as it can both hear a big music instrument’s, contrabass’ for example vibrations as sound and a baby’s shrill cry as a sound. Unwanted or indistinguishable sounds are perceived as noise. Especially when we’re exposed to noises that continue in a specific frequency, damage is inflicted to our ear unique to that frequency.
Almost all of the patients with tinnitus are applied hearing tests. However, almost all of the patients are not applied detailed operations intended for all sounds. Because during the test, 250-500-1000-2000-4000-8000 Hz of pure sounds are made patients listen at an isolated special environment. For every frequency, the volume of sound is increased till the patient hears the sound. The level which “every sound is heard” is the threshold of hearing at that frequency. By marking them with points and combining them on a graphic, audiogram, hearing curve is obtained. Hearing curves are evaluated to decide the person’s hearing loss and the level of it.
This is where the problem lies. Unfortunately, the losses at narrow areas cannot be detected at hearing tests. As we can see at the definition of hearing tests, just six main hearing levels are evaluated while testing. But there are 20.000 different sound frequencies between 20 and 20.000 Hz sound range which human can hear. It’s nearly impossible to detect the pure loss at any of them with the current test method.
Tinnitus or the sound of silence.
Hearing loss which can be called as “the sound of silence “ is the most unforeseen causes of tinnitus.
If I open with an example, there is a condition similar to this case in medicine. This discomfort, people who lost limbs due to the amputation of arms or legs for any reason, feel a severe pain accompanying non- existence of this truncated limbs called 'phantom pains’ in medicine.
Sometimes our brain fills the place of this quietness which is not accustomed to with pure and continuous sound in a similar manner of sound resonance also seen in sound system with microphone. We perceive it as tinnitus. If the hearing loss will be fixed in a way, unresolved effort of the brain will disappear spontaneously.
Our treat method in our clinic is based on this logic: it is pointless to fight flies, swamps must be dried. With acupuncture treatment, declined special hearing problem of the patient is diligently and successfully corrected. Thus, recognizable or unrecognizable hearing problems are corrected and tinnitus is removed permanently.
Dr. Mehmet Salih Özaytürk
Translated by Nedim Yavuz