Do Asian People Get Tinnitus?! — (Info c/o Charat in Bangkok)

Discussion in 'Support' started by Zimichael, Mar 21, 2014.

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    1. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      Location:
      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      Some of you may recall my post some time back about that incredible acupuncturist Ajhan Charat, I saw (twice eventually, once in 2007 and again in 2013) in Bangkok with "needles as big a spears". He did his best to work on my hyperacusis and tinnitus, and indeed the first time it seemed a little calmer once I got back to the USA.

      Anyway, the main thing I wanted to comment on here is a discussion we had in 2013 about "Westerners" and tinnitus versus Asians.

      After my first visit to him in 2007 he took more of an interest in the "phenomenon" (what the hell else can I call it, as 'disease' does not quite jive for me?!) as we struck up quite a rapport and my wife was Thai, etc., etc. So, when he next went to China he asked around extensively about it and did a lot of research to try and find out why it was so difficult to treat with a modality (acupuncture) that seemed tailor-made to treat a presumably "quasi-electrical-nerve-energy" type malfunction in the body. The more he asked the more puzzled he got.
      The Chinese have apparently done a lot of work trying to figure out tinnitus too but it has more or less stumped them. One of the issues that stumps them (and Charat) is that it seems to be an almost exclusively Westerners condition!!! It is very rare for Oriental people to get tinnitus or present with it. In fact Charat says he can hardly remember but a handful in his many decades of being a very busy acupuncturist in Thailand. However, he has seen plenty of Westerners with the condition. And his Chinese compatriots Chinese said the same thing!

      So what is going on here??? For sure it is not lack of exposure. Cimmmeny...I can't believe how many labourers I have seen on building sites, road crews, machinery, whatever, in Thailand and India that are exposed to tremendous, unregulated noise exposure. Let alone the fetish for fire-works and loud bangs for every darn festival under the sun! Not just labourers either. Well-to-do folks at temples, weddings, whatever, where there are loudspeakers blaring out prayers and what not at incredible volumes.
      Groups of people "blowing up money" with firecrackers like mega gunshots and all leaning in to look as the explosion goes off (Don't ask!). And so on....Asia is NOISY, big time.

      Yet they do not seem to suffer tinnitus or even report it medically!...WEIRD!!!

      OK this is not a scientific treatise here, but is based on my own experience and Charat is an impeccable source. Plus I do not know one Asian person with tinnitus and don't think I have ever met one (except medical professionals) who even knew what it was or even existed.

      Now, I'm not sure how helpful this is, but SOMETHING IS GOING ON HERE...and I would also be interested to know if any Asian origin people on this site have tinnitus, and if so, are they born and raised in the West, or are they from mainland Asia? And if so, did they get the tinnitus there, or once in the West?

      Well Neenie got me to post again as she has a valid frustration with the lack of "fix it" answers in relation to tinnitus. Reading her post got me remembering that I had meant to ask this question a long time ago, and whether tinnitus is an almost uniquely "Westerner's" frustration!? If so....WHY!!!???

      Best, Zimichael
       
    2. Catarina
      Old hag

      Catarina Member

      Location:
      Lund, Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2006
      Well, I don't know about the Chinese, but having spent some time in Japan I can tell you they sell quite a few over the counter "remedies" for tinnitus there. My daughter bought me something called Naripitan, which did nothing for my tinnitus but made me very drowsy. From what I understand the same percentage of Westerners and Japanese people suffer with tinnitus (10-15% of the population). I would be surprised if it was different in other Asian countries.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    3. Saif
      Suicidal

      Saif Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      I don't see many people complain about tinnitus here in the middle east, specially when I was searching about it on Internet.
      Maybe we have final cure. :D
       
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    4. LeQuack
      Scared

      LeQuack Member Benefactor

      Location:
      United States of Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bad luck and bad genes
      I'm guessing the western world, being more developed and so on, is also louder, so thereby also a greater percent of tinnitus sufferers.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    5. MattK

      MattK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/13/2014
      My ENT is Chinese, and he said he's had tinnitus for over 40 years. So there goes that theory.
       
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    6. yonkapin

      yonkapin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Melbourne, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2012
      Having grown up in an immigrant suburb in Melbourne mostly filled with south east Asians, a bunch of my friends are either Chinese or Vietnamese. I know a few with tinnitus and many more with parents who also have the condition. For whatever reason though, they seem to care about it a lot less than someone like me does.

      I would actually assume that it's actually pretty prevalent across all of SE Asia, especially amongst the poorer populations. However, they probably prioritize the condition even less than we do in the Western world. I think it really just comes down to not having the time or money to chase something like tinnitus up with doctors.
       
    7. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      Location:
      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      Thanks for responses so far...though I would point out that it would take a real epidemiological study to know for sure if there were equally as many Asian people with tinnitus as Westerners, given equal or similar trigger events (i.e loud sound). One ENT with tinnitus does not say much, plus how "Westernized" (an affliction??!!) he/she is, etc.
      Yeah, and I was wondering about Japan, but don't know much as have never been there.

      A couple of clarifications though as I did indeed ask Charat similar questions about "tolerance" versus "actual damage" and whether we Westerners are just more highly strung so notice it more. He emphatically said that in his long practice (he must be 60 or so?) it was not just that patients did not present with tinnitus, but they seemed not to get it, as per his general enquiries and his more detailed follow-up in China with various acupuncture centers and teaching schools (where I think he lectures).

      And hey, I can assure you we in the West don't come close to the noise exposure in the "East".....I'm a noise expert as I have had tinnitus for 58 years and am very 'aware' of the whole sound/noise realm. It's insane over there and one of my biggest problems on three long stays in Thailand and one in India was finding any quiet. Countryside, towns, cities, wherever. "Temple Season" in India is beyond belief...Loudspeakers blast across vast neigbourhoods in a competition it seems, with the loudest proving greater fealty to their Gods. Indoors, doors closed, full earplugs, earmuffs and pillows over my head trying to sleep and I still felt like I was five feet from a disco speaker!
      I won't even mention the construction sites I witnessed and no ear protection with rock pounders, jack-hammers, and so on. There have also been lots of wars and guns and all that stuff that has left 38% of all US combat vets back from Iraq with tinnitus c/o the Veterans Administration.

      I'm not saying I know for or that my comments are accurate, but something is going on here!!!
       
    8. Catarina
      Old hag

      Catarina Member

      Location:
      Lund, Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2006
      I did read somewhere that in the USA tinnitus is more often diagnosed in white people, but there may be several reasons for that. I think the general view is that the prevalence worldwide is basically the same, Dr Jastreboff actually estimates that 17% of the world's population suffer from it. If there were a difference in prevalence between countries or population groups, that would suggest some hereditary factor. I suppose that is quite possible in some forms of tinnitus. But again, I would be surprised if it was enough to be of any statistical significance.
      Here is an estimate from China: http://www.hear-it.org/130-million-people-suffer-from-tinnitus
      But it is an interesting question, I doubt there has been any research in this area. Could there be some difference in perception of how to deal with it, different coping techniques?
       
    9. Valentin

      Valentin Member

      Location:
      Thailand
      Tinnitus Since:
      17/08/2013
      I've been to venues twice a week in the past 6 years in thailand and have yet to come across one of them with tinnitus.

      i've always used earplugs and was looked like a curiosity, some of the people i personnaly know are actually working in nightclubs every single day for the past 6 years+ and none of them told me they got tinnitus.

      the DJ in the main room has a huge hearing loss but i don"t think he got tinnitus.
       
    10. dan
      Chatty

      dan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2011
      Any Latinos on this forum?
       
    11. Tom KW
      Fine

      Tom KW Member

      Location:
      Connecticut
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      I think that is probably the holy Grail, why some people get T and others do not. I have a friend here in the states who is in his 60s, he is extremely hard of hearing because of flying helicopters in the war, and has no T whatsoever.
      I think if scientist can find out why some people are resistant to it, maybe they can help the rest of us. one can only hope.
       
    12. carlover
      English

      carlover Member Benefactor

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      1986
      Tom ,it seems if you have hearing loss that on an audiologists graph looks like a ski slope then Tinnitus goes with that.
      Thats why I believe you can have bad hearing loss but noT
       
    13. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      Location:
      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      Catarina...Thanks for that link on prevalence of tinnitus in China. It is frustratingly minimal and matches the little info out there about this. However, it does imply that tinnitus exists in China, however like this brief summary in link below, it seems to not make it much of a big deal or something: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22192603 (I have extracted just two sub-headings below)

      An epidemiologic study of tinnitus in a population in Jiangsu Province, China.

      PURPOSE: To investigate the prevalence of tinnitus and related factors in a Chinese population. These data would be used to plan and evaluate participants also had both pure tone audiometry and an otological examination.

      RESULTS: The overall prevalence of tinnitus was 14.5%, and the standardized rates were 11.4% in the whole country and 12.4% in Jiangsu province. Its prevalence increased with age. The prevalence of tinnitus was 11.9 and 15.6% in urban and rural residents, respectively There was no significant difference in prevalence between men and women. Hearing impairment, history of middle ear infections, and noise exposure were the main risk factors for tinnitus.


      I sort of get the impression that it is... "Oh, yes there is this thing called tinnitus indeed, and maybe there should be some awareness about it...Meanwhile let's get on with dynamiting out that hill to put more blocks of apartments in. Ummmm...tell the workers to put mud in their ears when it goes off, or look the other way..."

      OK...if Google is any indication of "Relevance" do a Google search of "China Tinnitus"...do not do 'Chinese Tinnitus', as you end up with zillions of Western based sites devoted to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and acupuncture, etc., etc.
      So, wait for it, with "China Tinnitus" I GET TWO SITES THAT MENTION IT...TWO!!!!!! and one is that one mentioned by Catarina!

      So what does that say??? Just try the same Google search and leave out China, or put in USA, or Europe....The list will indeed go to China and back.

      Something is going on here, and I do not think it is just that the Chinese are not reporting it. If it was a big deal there would be more on it than this. It's 2014 not Mao's era! The medical world is too open for this kind of void...hell, many Western docs have studied acupuncture and TCM in China or gone there for courses (even my own who gave me that darn Neomycin).

      Like I said WEIRD....and I fully agree with Valentin and his comments. Wearing earplugs in Thailand was considered "strange" and some odd "Farang thing" (Westerner thing). They had no clue as to why bother.

      I don't know. Maybe this is a wild goose chase, but I think there is a "phenomenon" going on with this that has some kind of causality, whether it be genetic, environmental or mental/attitudinal, that is begging for more exposure. Perhaps there are some clues that could lead research in a more fruitful direction...I've been waiting a long time since my mother said: "Oh don't worry Michael, THEY will find a cure in no time. Look at all the incredible things THEY (the white coats) are discovering (DDT, Nitrogen fertilizers, atomic bombs, rocket ships, etc.). Just a little patience dear."

      That was in 1956.


      Best, Zimichael
       
    14. Valentin

      Valentin Member

      Location:
      Thailand
      Tinnitus Since:
      17/08/2013
      you're not looking right, china doesn't use roman alphabet, look for "耳鳴" and you'll find what you're looking for.
       
    15. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      Location:
      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      Valentin...If you read Chinese, can you maybe do a little follow-up on this as the articles I am finding c/o your Chinese search are still pretty low key (Google Translate does a decent job making them quite readable). Indeed, there seems to be a 'normal incidence level' of tinnitus according to some of them in the general population, but somehow it still appears to not be such a "big deal" like it is for us. But maybe that is just an outside onlooker's impression? Really hard to tell.

      So that is why I keep going back to Ajhan Charat's comments in Bangkok, as I truly believe he is one of the best acupuncturists in the world today. He is amazing to watch, meet and know. I have a pretty good shit-detector after 20 years of chronic undiagnosed illness (let alone the tinnitus) and seeing/being treated by countless docs of all stripes and specialties. With Charat I invariably felt like I was in the hands of a Master and a very, very, very competent human being.

      However, like I have said...this thread is an "open question" discussion and may or may not lead anywhere.

      Best, Zimichael
       
    16. Fish
      Balanced

      Fish Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poland
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2012
      I really doubt any race in this world is immune to hearing damage and resulting tinnitus...

      Indians definitely have problems with tinnitus, if I remember right, lidocaine is a big deal in India and they were undergoing some large-scale medical trials with it.

      I'm pretty sure I've seen at least two chinese people in this forum and at least one japanese - this man by the way deserves a shout out, his name is Makoto Deguchi and he happens to be an excellent jazz pianist :)

      https://myspace.com/makotodeguchi/music/songs
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    17. Valentin

      Valentin Member

      Location:
      Thailand
      Tinnitus Since:
      17/08/2013
      we'll have to wait for aaron to show up, he's the chinese member of this forum :)
       
    18. newarrior

      newarrior Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/1996
      I am in Asia 6 weeks and I wonder the same thing..And the noise here is dreadful
       
    19. Marie79

      Marie79 Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2/1/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      My coworker is Chinese and had T during her entire prgnancy
       

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