Mindfulness Is Key to Tinnitus Relief Research Reveals

Discussion in 'Research News' started by toolman, Feb 7, 2019.

    1. JohnAdams
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      No, they aren't, it is actually because they are smart.
       
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    2. SugarMagnolia
      Jaded

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      Mindfulness is Buddhism. Imagine if some other religion were being touted as a tinnitus "cure."

      Going to Sunday Mass can help tinnitus sufferers.
      Praying to Allah five times a day can help tinnitus sufferers.
      Keeping Kosher can help tinnitus sufferers.

      If it were a Western religion, would psychologists be pushing it as a treatment?
       
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    3. SugarMagnolia
      Jaded

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      I don't believe any non-fatal condition will be cured because there's no incentive. To quote Chris Rock for the umpteenth time: "There's no money in the cure, the money's in the medicine." In other words, a cure means the pharmaceutical company makes money off you once. A treatment means they make money off you over and over for the rest of your long painful life. It's the "come-backs," as Rock says, that makes them the money.
       
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    4. threefirefour
      Peeping tom

      threefirefour Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      Hell im an actual Buddhist and I wouldn’t force it on anyone. Imagine doctors prescribing faith healing.
       
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    5. TheDanishGirl
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      TheDanishGirl Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      All I can think about when I hear mindfulness in connection with tinnitus is this picture

      05onfire1_xp-articleLarge-v2.jpg
       
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    6. Jack Straw
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      Jack Straw Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

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      I used to agree with these threads, but they are a double edged sword.

      Yes, obviously we should use mindfulness when dealing with tinnitus, just like with everything I life. The people who run these studies usually don’t have tinnitus or have a lower forms of it so this works for them as they habituate. So they have no concept of what it is like to deal with tinnitus. They are ignorant to its true nature so I can’t really be mad at them.

      On the other hand, stuff like this reduces people’s perception of how serious tinnitus is. “So they can use mindfulness to help their suffering, well I’ll save my money and put it into something that really needs it.” Also, doctor’s read shit like this and equate tinnitus to some type of mental illness, which can just be treated with mindfulness and anyone who complains is just being a whiner who isn’t trying mindfulness hard enough.

      So yes mindfulness can help us deal with it but it by no means fixes the problem or makes it significantly better that it is no longer an issue. It’s like someone is dying of thirst and you take a water bottle and drip 4 drops in their mouth. Technically it is better than nothing and is “helping”, but the person’s situation essentially hasn’t gotten better.
       
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    7. linearb
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      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      I think this thread is very confused about "habituation" vs "mindfulness". I don't see any hard and fast connection between the two.

      "Mindfulness" in general just means "consciously striving to be aware of what you're doing, while you're doing it", and this usually has a context derived from the non-religious aspects of buddhist practice, which often involves paying attention to a very specific task (like watching the breath, or visualizing a particular letter) while seated still. The pattern is the same: you try to focus on Thing, you realize at some point you are distracted, you patiently and without judgement return your focus to Thing, and you do this over and over and over.

      The idea is that you're building a mental muscle, more or less: our minds have an innate tendency to run off in different directions. Our minds have a tendency to lead and control our stream of consciousness, rather than the other way around. Mindfulness is just a tool to start to become aware of that, and maybe, eventually, with time and patience, gain a little more control over it, and be less subject to just being blown around by the whims of the mind at all times.

      I would say that meditation has helped me incredibly in my ability to tolerate tinnitus and still have a life I find otherwise enjoyable and meaningful. I don't think it's helped me "habituate", and that's why I still have to lean on other tools, like support networks, medications, specific stretches, etc.

      Anyway, as to the sheer power of mindfulness practices.... I know our tinnitus often makes us feel like we're actually on fire. But here's a guy who literally was on fire, and managed to just silently mediate through it without screaming or jumping up or saying "holy shit this was a terrible idea" or any of the other things that would happen if you or I tried to do this. That is the power of a well-honed, well-used, well-loved mind filled with self-compassion, patience and contemplative skill.
      The-burning-monk-1963-small.jpg
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thích_Quảng_Đức

      If you think you've "practiced mindfulness" and it hasn't gotten you anywhere, but also feel that you're probably not capable of self-immolation without screaming or even moving at all... then you haven't practiced meditation as much as you want.

      So, that's what I've got to say on "mindfulness". Habituation is something different, where completely subconscious processes strip a signal out of your awareness before it becomes conscious. I understand this well because I have severe visual snow and afterimages which I am completely habituated to. This has never happened with my tinnitus, even this many years in. I have a lot of meditation experience, so I don't think that one day I will say "ah ha! I meditated myself to habituation! It finally happened!"

      I've definitely noticed that my tinnitus gets subjectively quieter after meditation sometimes, though, and in general credit meditation as one of the two or three things which have been most responsible for me having a basically normal life....

      Lots of people poo-poo these practices; I think this is usually for one of two reasons: #1 is that lots of people just make basically unrealistic claims about how powerful these practices are. Meditating an hour a day for a year probably is NOT going to make your tinnitus go away, let alone cure your cancer. But, it will tweak your basic sense of awareness, minute to minute, in ways that are hard to describe -- and there is certainly plenty of good data indicating that these practices do have a dramatic effect on brain function and structure, it's just very hard to extrapolate what that means for specific conditions. Here is a good and reasonably up to date summary of much of this research, written by an MD Neurologist with an interest in meditation:


      This isn't a habituation thread or a shilling thread, you either didn't read or don't understand the OP, and from where I sit you're just another negative nancy interjecting your woe-is-me it-rains-every-day nonsense into every single thread. I'm sorry your tinnitus is so bad and so unpleasant, but it's not really a good reason to just spiral in negativity for the sheer joy of it, especially when you're being objectively wrong.

      I'd say that's not entirely off base, but I would also say "don't knock it until you've tried it". Very, very, very few people have come back to me over the years and say "hey, so I finally got 500 hours of meditative experience in after working with an experienced teacher, and.... it didn't do anything. My thinking is the same, my life is the same, nothing at all has changed".

      I know a lot of people who gave up after a short period of time, or who never bother to find a skilled teacher, or or or or or. It's, like, actually pretty easy to train for a marathon, if that's what you want to do... but of course it's much easier to find reasons you'll never be able to run a marathon and therefore don't need to practice.

      Also, I would say that cartoon is sort of "phase I" of how mindfulness works. People never want to post the second part:
      this_is_not_fine.jpg

      Awareness of what actually is, should be the goal of meditation.

      And then the third panel, is the image above of the monk self-immolating, who has realized that everything is, indeed, not fine.... but somehow found peace in the midst of that, anyway. (And do note, he was not suicidal for psychological reasons, it was a deliberate statement to bring attention to Tibetan slaughter, so let's not even have that derail.....)
       
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    8. SugarMagnolia
      Jaded

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      I think this is definitely a danger, since tinnitus is not something a physiician can see.
      But make no mistake: Mental illness also cannot be treated with mindfulness.
      Mental illness is also something people cannot see.
      You can no more meditate a mental illness away than you can mediate a physical illness away.
      Though lots of psychologists are pushing mindfulness - which pisses me off.
      I have no issues with people who mediate. I'm totally fine with people seeking Sunyata. But I'm equally fine with people praying the rosary. Religion is a comfort to many, but it's no more a cure for mental illness than for physical illness.
       
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    9. kelpiemsp
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      kelpiemsp Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

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      @linearb Thank you for posting that.
       
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    10. annV
      Fine

      annV Member

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      Of course the fabulous British Tinnitus Association has funded this groundbreaking mindfulness study.

      Money well spent, @David.
       
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    11. linearb
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      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      No one is saying you can; the claim is the suffering can be reduced and a higher level of functioning can be achieved. And the data supports that, in many of the places where we have the data. Which is why people want more data.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30692780
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28827214
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30605517
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30499835
      This is far from well explored territory. What we know is that long term contemplative practices of all sorts seem to affect the way the brain plasticizes and tolerates adverse conditions like depression, chronic pain, etc. Figuring out what patient groups this will be most effective for, and what protocols are the most likely to be successful, are very much things which require a lot more data (including, probably, imaging)

      When a doctor encounters a patient with chronic pain, depression, tinnitus, or any other thing there's no easy fix for, a good doctor will then ask "what tools are available to reduce the suffering of this person, lacking a real cure?". This stuff is just one tool in that box, and the amount of money required to hone and study it pales in comparison to drug or device trials.
       
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    12. threefirefour
      Peeping tom

      threefirefour Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      If what you say about it being unexplored territory is true, then why should we waste our time and resources on something that will be obsolete for tinnitus by the time it is well understood? If it's that far off then Neuromodulation and hearing regeneration will dominate the market and it can't compete with that.

      You could argue it's good for a blanket of issues, but then why waste TINNITUS dollars on it? Waste anxiety money on it, or something overfunded like ADHD but us, we need every penny we can get.
       
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    13. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      This is an excellent post.
      I completely agree.

      I don’t blame anybody for desperately seeking a treatment or a cure.
      This ‘thing’ stinks, no question!!
      Scouring the research news every day will not bring it any quicker though will it?
      Biting our nails while hanging over a cliff is debilitating, and distressing.
      In the mean time we have to survive.

      I practice meditation early every morning.
      I hear my noises, but still manage to achieve peaceful relaxed ‘tummy’ breathing.
      I drift off for a comfortable doze.
      On a day when other responsibilities prevent it, I feel quite different, less peaceful.
      I have never willingly missed a day in five years.
       
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    14. david c

      david c Member

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      It is a shame that precious research resources got wasted on this project. Of course there will be some people who find mindfulness helpful but rather more who don't. These projects usually rely on a high drop-out rate to exclude many of those who don't find it helpful from the final results.
       
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    15. linearb
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      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      You're far more optimistic about the ability of these devices to both reach market fast and provide meaningful relief for most patients than I am. When I was in UMich study they told me to my face if they can help 50% of people they will see that as a huge success. That leaves a lot of people in the lurch.

      These other therapies may eventually provide much better relief. No arguments there. They also don't exist yet, so we should also be concerned with the things that do exist.

      These studies are trying to understand which specific tinnitus patients these principles are likely to help, and what protocols are going to be the most successful.

      It's not a "waste" of money; this is the thing these researchers want to study. Other people want to study other things. You don't get to decide what concepts are interesting to the research community, and no one is asking you to bankroll any of this with your own money. The amount of money that my government gives to these programs is so infinitesimally small compared to what we spend devising better ways to blow up brown people in mud huts that I can't get very worked up about that either -- especially since I think this research is cool, good, prescient, and extremely cheap compared to device or medication trials.

      I see this as similar to saying it is a waste of money when someone buys a hat for a sports team, and it's not a team you like. Nothing about that prevents other people from buying other hats.
       
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    16. threefirefour
      Peeping tom

      threefirefour Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      Yes it would be a big success if it brought relief to 50%... And it did. Now it's getting it to market. Other therapies aren't on market yet but they will be and probably sooner than you think. I expect Neuromodulation and maybe even a degree of hearing regeneration to dominate the tinnitus market by 2030. Of course blind optimism isn't good but mine's actually well founded.

      Idc what the tinnitus researchers think is "cool". If anything this shows that there's a big disconnect between the people on top of the tinnitus community, and the sufferers themselves. If I had to sum up the general sentiment of the tinnitus community (unless they're far gone habituation cult like TSMB), it's "Habituation is great but we need to research a treatment too". The research community needs to research what WE think is "interesting" because we're the customer base. I don't care what they want to research, they probably want to research CBT because it's easier than actual tinnitus research, gets grant money, and is supported by the higher ups of the tinnitus community anyways.

      I don't support the bombing of brown people but if the amount of money we get compared to that is miniscule, then that just proves that the pool of money is very small and we need to redirect all of it to researching treatments. We literally cannot afford side shit like this.
       
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    17. linearb
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      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      More hyperbole and nonsense from someone who didn't read the actual research!

      The actual paper was published as McKenna, L., Marks, E. M., Hallsworth, C. A., & Schaette, R. (2017). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy as a Treatment for Chronic Tinnitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 86(6), 351–361.doi:10.1159/000478267 and if you go and read the full text you will see that you're incorrect.

      If you have some examples of "mindfulness studies that bilked their own results by having a high drop-out rate and papering over it", then I would like to see that. Certainly, sometimes people drop out of studies because they don't see any effect -- and that dropout rate along with demographic data is extremely informative about what cohorts to target in subsequent work.
       
    18. spedgas
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      I’m set to start a CBT for tinnitus class here in a few weeks. I think this is one of those things where you get out of it what you put into it. I’ll admit I’m skeptical of what it will ultimately do for me. I’ve never been a “mind over matter” kind of guy. It’s going to take huge effort on my part. That being said, this is here now. It’s what I’ve currently got to work with. If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.

      I’m excited about neuromodulation, but I’m also realistic about my expectations of it. I think it will reduce tinnitus distress for a large percentage of people. However, I think total resolution of tinnitus using this method will be achieved by a small percentage of its users. Hopefully it works for me and reduces my tinnitus.

      If it doesn’t then I’ll rely on neuromodulation to knock it down and CBT to deal with the scraps left over.
       
    19. david c

      david c Member

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      Actually the British Tinnitus Association is very frequently asking its members to bankroll this type of research - which is why donors who gave to them in the past are looking instead to other charities which are more interested in biomedical research.
       
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    20. linearb
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      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      Okay, fine, no one is forcing you to give them money. Overall your statement here supports the point I was making.
       
    21. KazM
      Conehead

      KazM Member

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      Hi all, interesting discussion, while the areas affected by tinnitus are lumped into one basket I believe there can be no major break through in research and this is why some therapies are seen to work better for some cases of tinnitus and not others. Habituation under any name just dampens the volume.
       
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    22. threefirefour
      Peeping tom

      threefirefour Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      If tinnitus researchers aren’t representing our interest then we should not fund them. That’s why we’re complaining about this blatant misuse of funds.
       
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    23. Drone Draper
      Jaded

      Drone Draper Member

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      I wonder if mindfulness would have helped people in iron lungs before the polio vaccine...

      It's good and all, but is there any need to spend money research it further? I mean, is there anything new to discover about the methods or their veracity?
       
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    24. linearb
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      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      You say "we" and "our" like we're a unified block. I think funding this research is in my interests, because these tools are useful to me and I think understanding more about how they work is important.
       
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    25. threefirefour
      Peeping tom

      threefirefour Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      You may think it’s in your interest, but it’s not. A cure is much more in your interest.
       
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    26. JohnAdams
      Festive

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      Anyone that raises money for tinnitus research and donates it to CBT/TRT/Mindfullofcrapness or anything that doesn't involve actually curing tinnitus should be air dropped over Siberia and frog marched to a gulag to spend the rest of their lives toiling in hard labor.
       
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    27. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      You're free to disagree with me, but you're not some cosmic arbiter of what is or isn't important. As far as I know, you're a person who now has a minor form of tinnitus and has lived with it for a relatively short period of time; it is the height of arrogance and condescension for you to imply you understand my own interests better than I do.
       
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    28. JohnAdams
      Festive

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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      You're saying being cured isn't as important as learning to deal with a disease. How does that even make sense?
       
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    29. Helheim
      Angry

      Helheim Member Podcast Patron

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      Yeah seriously. Mindfulness is nice and all, but let's not waste tinnitus research money on it, shall we?
       
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    30. Lane

      Lane Member

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      I certainly understand the sentiment, but I'm not sure I agree it's a total waste. -- That's just me however.
      @linearb -- I agree with @Jazzer on his appraisal that your's was an excellent post.
      Since a lot of the discussion on this thread seems to touch on spirituality, I think an old spiritual adage deserves to be mentioned: -- "The mind is a very good servant, but a very bad master". -- I'm not particularly comfortable with the word "mindfulness" myself, as it can mean different things to different people. I suspect if 5 billion people on the planet decided to try it, you'd probably get about 5 billion different descriptions of why it did or didn't work for them.

      I think the reason for that is we're all individuals, and our success (or lack thereof) hinges to a great degree on how (or whether) a person uses their own creativity to make it work for them. I suspect those who overly rely on fairly rote techniques are not going to get the same benefits as those who are more inclined to figure out innovative ways to make it work for their own individual madeup. Such as incorporating it with physical exercises (like @fishbone), or some other activity we love to do.

      Like others on this board, I've discovered various calming techniques that work pretty well for me, and incorporate various forms of visualization, contemplation, internally singing or humming various sounds, etc. I feel these techniques are more effective for me than mindfulness, or even meditation. But that's me. I think it behooves all of us to experiment to find something that helps us cope. Even if it means commiserating with our (often Soulful) furry friends when the burden at times feels too much to bear.
       
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