Generic Theory on the Origins of Tinnitus, What Do You Think?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Frederick86, Nov 15, 2013.

    1. Frederick86

      Frederick86 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      I'm developing a theory of the reasons behind most kinds of tinnitus, basically is like I'm "connecting the dots", and as I'm not a doctor or a scientist, I'd like to share it just as "food for though" in case some of you could find this interesting.

      What I'm connecting is the known causes and aggravators of tinnitus (hearing loss, some physical and mental health issues, etc) with the fact that some of us seem to be "picking up" an specific kind of sounds similar to the ones of our computers, hd's, electric devices, etc.

      I think maybe there's more than correlation about these two things.

      I have some tinnitus tones and I've been trying ACR, trigger point therapy and physical therapy with some success, but now I'm trying to take care of other tone that was minimal (just some "sparkles" at night") and it's been worsening in the last months.

      And it seems that the noisy fridge I talked about here is also making this louder, AND muscles seem to be involved too. Some mornings, if I haven't been clenching too much and I wake up when the fridge has been quiet for a while, I don't hear it for some minutes, till I get up and move a bit or till the fridge sounds (the motor runs about 30 min, then stops another 20-30 min, and so on.)

      So it seems that I'm picking up sounds from my fridge (or it "irritates" my hearing), and the sounds picked may depend on which parts of my muscles are the most affected by trigger points (they can affect both the middle ear and the inner ear, then creating different pitched sounds.)

      I'm starting to figure out the complex relation between these factors.

      My theory is that tinnitus in some people could be activated like this:

      • First, a person has some high-frequency hearing loss and/or a sensitive hearing system (hyperacusia, etc) be it because of a single event (like a concert) or a sustained damage over time till a critical point is reached.

      • Then, the person has ALSO a strain in muscles, anxiety (the "fight or flight" thing we know so well), trigger points/myofascial syndrome, chronic pain, or any other problem leading to central sensitization, or any condition who makes them prone to increased neuronal plasticity. Without this, many people has hearing loss but no tinnitus, as we know.

      • The combination of hearing damage (and we ALL have some after our 20's) with one of this health issues can lead to somatic or auditory tinnitus by itself, but the interesting part is WHY we get one particular sound among all the frequencies we have deficits at. It could lack of stimulation or...

      • Or, if a sound is close to a "lost" frequency or it's continuous and lasts for a good part of the day, it stimulates the auditory system on the wrong way and the brain "get stuck" with that frequency. We know that the auditory cortex has its physical space divided among all the hearing range and a hearing loss leads to the brain amplifying that space to hear better. That plasticity could also happen with continuous tones in the environment too, and get noticed when it comes to a point, or when our neuronal "filters" get damaged.

      If we think about it, our auditory system (ears and auditory cortex) has evolved in the middle of the forests where our ancestors lived and is intended to function optimally on those circumstances. There, you don't have ANY sound that is a continuous tone, all the sounds vary (animals, birds) or have multiple and variable frequencies (rain, wind). There is never absolute silence, but also there is never a background of electronical-electric noises for 6, 8, or more hours everyday (like our fridges, computers, etc).

      The more serious, proved, sound therapies for tinnitus (TRT, ACR, notched sound), all must be done for several hours a day to have an effect on brain plasticity, and some people is made worse by them, possibly for some specific range of frequencies that they can't tolerate as it increases tinnitus or creates new tones for them.

      And what we are doing with our environments is precisely an auditory/neuronal agression with sounds that are repeated for hours everyday and that our brain is made to listen to over and over, like a white noise generator designed to cause tinnitus instead of treating it.

      For many people, it never happens anything and they don't get tinnitus. For others, as we get hearing loss and other health issues, something in our brains and nervous systems gets decompensated, and tinnitus starts.

      If we think about it, we all have hearing loss in frequencies above 18.000 hz from 20 years on, yet few people develop such a high pitched tinnitus, and we don't have DAILY stimulation on those ranges (unless we train dogs I guess). The average tinnitus is about 4000-8000hz, and we are surrounded by electronical devices that make sounds on that range.

      I know about residual inhibition, but the thing is that maybe if a continuous sound is close to the range of our hearing loss/tinnitus but not a good enough match to cause R.I, it could stimulate the auditory cortex in a decompensated way and then it creates a tinnitus tone/worsen the existing one.

      So, to test this theory, I'll be doing some things: physical therapy and osteopathy to take care of muscular and skeletal triggers, some sound theraphy (ACR and maybe some notched noise if that doesn't work), AND creating the most varied sound environment possible: changing to a quiet fridge, less hours with the computer (with frequent breaks), sound enrichment with more analogic sources (spending more time outside, a radio with batteries, etc), everything to improve my general well-being and not being as much exposed to continous sounds as now.

      What do you think of this theory?
      • Like Like x 3
    2. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      Its as good, and as bad, as any other theory making the rounds out there.
      • Like Like x 1
    3. Off-Kilter

      Off-Kilter Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      It makes sense to me, and gives me a new theory about my own tinnitus obsession.

      "Unfortunately", your experiment on yourself will fail to prove anything at all, because all of the things you listed are great ideas that would improve anyone's anxiety problems, and thus reduce the frequency of anyone's perceived tinnitus. Sounds like a great way to "fail", though! ;) Good luck.

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