Unilateral Tinnitus, So You Have It?

Discussion in 'Support' started by mock turtle, Mar 11, 2012.

tinnitus forum
    1. mock turtle

      mock turtle Member

      Location:
      puget sound
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/26/1992...habituated after 2 years; 11/04/11 new outbreak
      its always a puzzle to me that my left ear has gone crazy T while my right side is soft T

      i wonder if the inner an outer hair cells in the two cochleas are to blame or if all this difference is about auditory processing at the dorsal cochlear nucleus or the auditory cortex etc

      so hey...please tell me, if you dont mind, do you have equal T both sides? .... or is it different left or right?

      20 years ago when i first got tinnitus i couldnt tell much difference between left and right , the noises seemed the same and even "sounded" like they were coming from the center of my head

      but with my recurrence of T last year i really got it way more bad on the left than the right

      how strange
       
    2. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Hi, Mock,
      My tinnitus, which is both pulsatile and ringing, is only in my right ear. I do have some hearing loss in that ear, so your theory about auditory processing makes sense to me! If the sounds were coming only from the brain, I would imagine that I'd have ringing in both ears instead of one.

      I agree that the way yours has recurred -- much louder in one ear than the other -- is very strange. Do you have any degree of hearing loss in your left ear? That might explain the difference, to some extent.
       
    3. mock turtle

      mock turtle Member

      Location:
      puget sound
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/26/1992...habituated after 2 years; 11/04/11 new outbreak
      Karen, yes
      ive got more hearing loss on the left than the right, especially at 4000hz (noise exposure)

      i suspect this time around i got hurt from ototoxicity

      how strange i would notice more T left than right...but then again maybe the cochlea was a bit more "thread bare" on the left to begin with so equal damage from medication brought the weaker side down to "the bottom" where as the right side is hanging on to a few stereo cillia at frequencies all gone on the left side...just guessing

      so do you notice your pulsatile T more at any one time if the day than another? i get pulsatile tinnitus briefly every day upon awakening

      how strange all this stuff isnt bilateral since the left ear pretty much goes every where the right ear goes :) hears the same sounds? and eats the same food and meds
       
    4. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      mock -
      I also have the 4kHz buzz. More or less the same in both ears. Tests indicate that I have hearing loss at that frequency.

      (By the way, 4kHz is a very annoying sound! I would much prefer a lower frequency, I think. Tough choice: Buzzing or the sound of a toilet flushing?)

      Based on my readings, I am prone to think that people with tinnitus are generating a chemical on their hair cells. Similar to plaque in arteries, but a chemical that is associated with the mechanics of hearing (my bet is it's pectin, a protein) . I conjecture that the basic electrical circuit at each hair is getting messed up by this chemical, causing noise or feedback. Too bad there isn't a "Draino" for ears to clean-up things.

      Once tinnitus starts in the ear, then it remaps neurologically. We treat the neurological situation using maskers to rehabituate and eliminate the flight-or-fight reflex, eliminating tinnitus as a real threat. To understand the neurological re-wiring of tinnitus may be as difficult as understanding what is consciousness. Fortunately, I have read some extremely positive research news lately about MRI's that are able to detect tinnitus. Perhaps in the next 1-5 years there will be very effective treatments for tinnitus using these new tools. (We're counting on you ATA! Hey,...is anybody out there?)

      Unfortunately, people who have tinnitus are prone to blaming themselves for doing something wrong, as though they've been sentenced to tinnitus hell. But if tinnitus is a chemical thing, we may have little or no control over it,...so why blame ourselves? Tinnitus may be connected with a fundamental aging process that also causes hearing loss, as hairs get "gunked-up", losing their ability to function at certain frequencies. Both my mother and my grandmother had very bad hearing. I'm 60, which appears to be the age when a lot of people get tinnitus.

      That's it for my long hypothesis. Back to real work.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    5. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Karl -- Thanks for your thoughts on tinnitus and neurological rewiring. That makes sense to me; and it's encouraging that one day, they may actually be able to detect tinnitus through MRI or other testing! I think it may have to do with degeneration and the aging process, too. It's just too bad that doctors don't warn patients (like us) that there are many ototoxic drugs out there, that can affect our hearing and do damage to those tiny hair cells in the ear.

      Mock --- Thanks for your response. I think there's something to the fact that you already had some hearing damage in the left ear, and that it may have been weaker --- hence the tinnitus. I had a similar experience with an ototoxic drug; I already had mild tinnitus and hearing loss in my right ear, so taking an ototoxic drug did further damage to my right ear, causing more severe ringing and pulsating. When this first happened to me, back in 2010, I had severe roaring tinnitus and constant pulsating in my right ear. Now, 2 years later, it is less turbulent, but I have pulsating 24/7.

      I agree that it is strange that it isn't bilateral; and mild damage may be the reason why!
       
    6. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Karen -
      Hey, how do you like my avatar from "Young Frankenstein"? I was actually looking for a scene from "The Artist", where the main character had electric currents going through his ears. No luck finding that photo. Anyway, Gene Wilder as Young Frankenstein (Pronounced: "Steen" not "Stine") is one of my favorites. ("It's alive! It's alive!")

      Yes, yesterday I was pontificating, thinking I have a handle on tinnitus. Alas, today is like Steely Dan's shortest song, "Through With Buzz" - except I'm not through with this buzz. Nope, it just keeps buzzing and buzzing and buzzing...

      If I could only hook up a generator to this buzz in my head, we could solve the world's energy problems. Seems like it's free energy. I just don't get how this thing keeps going and going like the Energizer bunny.

      There is some very exciting news of tinnitus research in the U.S. that my audiologist sent me: A newly developed MRI that is able to detect tinnitus. Using this device, researchers are able to tune-out/cancel the signal. Researchers say it's amazing, and may have applications for other disorders, such as autism.

      Let's hope they don't take too long with discoveries like this. In a year or two I will habituate myself to the buzz.
       
    7. joe

      joe Member

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2011
      There is some very exciting news of tinnitus research in the U.S. that my audiologist sent me: A newly developed MRI that is able to detect tinnitus. Using this device, researchers are able to tune-out/cancel the signal. Researchers say it's amazing, and may have applications for other disorders, such as autism.

      can you supply the link or book its in please?
       
    8. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Joe -
      Here's a copy of the article sent to me:
      Joint Study Provides Advances in WTAMU Tinnitus Research

      CANYON, Texas—A major development in tinnitus research last fall at West Texas A&M University has led to a joint study using magnetoencephalography with measurable results.

      Dr. Leslie Dalton, visiting professor of communication disorders, recently found that a particular area of the brain can be programmed to suppress the debilitating effects of the phantom sounds of tinnitus, a condition marked by a ringing sound in the ears. He found he could make tinnitus go away by taking advantage of how the auditory system works normally while totally ignoring the phantom sound itself. His research prompted an invitation from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit to participate in a joint study with Dr. Susan Bowyer, a medical neuroimaging physicist and senior staff investigator at the hospital. Her work demonstrated that tinnitus could be seen in scans using magnetoencephalography (MEG).
      “It was a match made in heaven,” Dalton said. “Since the cancellation paradigm is a neurological manipulation computer-based program, the MEG is a natural device for demonstrating what the process is doing. It has been especially exciting to actually see the tinnitus on the MEG scan rather than having to rely on what the patient reports as he/she hears or doesn’t hear a sound.”

      Magnetoencephalography is used to map magnetic electrical current occurring naturally in the brain. The method was made possible by the invention of the superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) by a Ford Motor Company engineer. Hundreds of SQUIDs are placed around a patient’s head to ‘read’ the brain activity and can be used in a before and after situation.

      In the Dalton and Bowyer study, the patient’s MEG activity was measured without the cancellation process. The Dalton cancellation program was then delivered in the ears of the patient through specially designed miniature ear probes and a second MEG scan was taken.

      “The results were beyond my wildest dreams” Dalton said. “One does not need to be an expert to see the effect of the neurological change.”

      Before (A) and after (B) MEG scans show a clear picture of what is happening in the brain of a patient while the Dalton cancellation stimulus is delivered into the ears. The sounds going into the ears are so quiet that the patient cannot hear them, yet the brain still responds to them. At first the patient must wear a set of hearing aid like devices but as time goes by, the brain’s natural plasticity changes so that the tinnitus goes away for a period of time without the devices. In cases where the patient is wearing hearing aids, the tinnitus system can be retrofit onto the hearing aids.
      Dalton is excited about the use of the neurological process.

      “Just think about the possibilities,” he said. “Stuttering, for example, is a neurological disambiguation problem. The loss of speech caused by stroke also may be helped by rerouting the signals of the brain to a portion not damaged by the stroke. Even autism and traumatic brain injury are neurologically-based problems that might be changed with the tinnitus method.”
      Dalton said future research is being planned by the communication disorders and psychology departments at WTAMU in conjunction with the University of New Mexico Biomedical Research and Integrative Neuroscience Center in Albuquerque.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      (Another related article from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Note: Get ready for the scaples, because wires are implanted in the head and chest.)

      Henry Ford Hospital Tinnitus Program
      Doctors at Henry Ford Hospital leads one of the nation's most experienced Tinnitus Programs. A new neurostimulation procedure for patients with disabling tinnitus is offered and our physicians are the first in the world to perform this procedure.

      Up to 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus, a Latin term defined as "tinkling or ringing like a bell." However, the buzzing, clacking, roaring and whistling of this auditory condition can disrupt everyday activities, causing severe distress and depression.

      Electrical stimulation of the brain has been used since the 1800s to treat tinnitus, albeit with mixed results. The Henry Ford approach of electrical stimulation of the auditory cortex aims to disrupt the "hearing" of tinnitus. The procedure works by electrically matching the pitch and tone of the tinnitus, effectively jamming the signal and masking the sound.

      The procedure first requires brain mapping using Magnetoencephalography (MEG) with an electrode implanted into the auditory cortex. MEG is used to identify the location in the brain where the physiological event originates. This is done by imitating the frequency and pitch of the tinnitus sounds, then introducing them into the patient's ear so a tonotopic map of the auditory cortex can be generated to show the areas that should be excited by neurostimulation.

      These areas, or markers, are recorded on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) so they can be registered on a computer. Finally, an electrode is neuronavigated into the predetermined place on the auditory cortex.
      The electrodes are buried under the scalp, then guided behind the ear and over the fatty tissue of the clavicle so they can be placed on the pectoral muscle of the chest. The cables are connected to a generator that's programmed while the patient is in the operating room, allowing a signal to be sent that effectively renders the brain incapable of generating nuisance sounds. The final calibration is made about two weeks after surgery.

      With continued research and fine-tuning of the procedure, electrical stimulation could become a viable and effective treatment for the treatment of disabling tinnitus. Research is important as there are other places on the auditory cortex where neurostimulation may relieve tinnitus, and research may show where stimulation of a specific area may work for some patients, a different area may require stimulation to work for other patients.

      Early results at Henry Ford point to tremendous potential in the application of electrostimulation devices in the influence of tinnitus relief. No therapy promises a 100 percent favorable outcome, but in the end it's the improvement in the patient's quality of life that is the true measure of treatment success.
       
    10. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Hi, Karl,

      (Love your avatar, by the way. Gene Wilder's hair has the same visual effect as electric shock, so it works, on so many levels!!)

      The electrical stimulation treatment sounds very promising, and with continued research and fine-tuning, maybe it will be available, and safe, for everyone within the next decade. It makes sense that neurostimulation of a certain part of the auditory cortex might vary, depending on the patient; MRI brain mapping would seem to be a good way to identify the specific area that will respond to the stimulation. The thought of electrodes scares me a little bit, but I think most of us with disabling tinnitus would be willing to undergo such a procedure, if the chances of success were good.

      Very exciting, and hopeful!!
       
    11. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Hi Karen.
      (I will probably change my avatar in the next week or so. It does work well with this article about neurostimulation. Imagine, cutting into the scalp, attaching electrodes, placing wires under the skin...? Sounds like Frankenschteen to me.)

      Since there is presently no cure for tinnitus (except for the Frankenschteen electrode treatment), I'm hoping that habituation will eventually work for me.

      I've been trying to understand what exactly "habituation" is. Perhaps if I succeed with habituation, in a year or two, the present "annoying sound" will cease to be categorized as "annoying", and will just be a sound that I don't notice. Is that how habituation works?

      The thing I hate most about tinnitus is how it may be subtracting from my attention and mental clarity. I want to be at 100%, and not anything less. I have a lot more to do with my life, but "T" is dragging me down like a lead weight,
       
    12. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Karl,

      I certainly agree that habituation is the best way to cope with tinnitus, and they say it is possible to do that. I've actually had tinnitus for about 20 some-odd years, and had acclimated to it a long time ago. The only time I really noticed it was at night, when all was quiet, and even then, it was more like a sound than an annoyance.

      Now, however, (since the ototoxic blood pressure drug in 2010), my tinnitus is much worse, and I haven't yet acclimated --- although I am finding it easier to cope now than 2 years ago. What changed? Well, I'm not exactly sure. I'm taking magnesium, vitamins, and other supplements, and my blood pressure is pretty much under control. Also, I'm still using the Universal Sound Therapy for tinnitus, and I believe that has taken the edge off. But, habituation may be more about the brain's ability to adjust and cope than anything else we might do, or ingest. Maybe, with time, the brain begins to adjust to the injury or assault to the tiny hair cells in the ear, or as you said, "neurological rewiring". In the meantime, we are left to cope as best we can.

      I'm very frustrated, too, with the way tinnitus makes my head feel, which is kind of unclear and foggy. I'm going to be looking into a hearing aid and/or masking device to see if it will help. I agree with you about wanting to be at 100%, and the T can certainly take away from that!
       
    13. mock turtle

      mock turtle Member

      Location:
      puget sound
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/26/1992...habituated after 2 years; 11/04/11 new outbreak
      Karl, Karen, Joe

      ive read with great interets your comments and,,, as im on the road...business, i cant give the attention deserved in response, but will do so end of week...really appreciate your insight
       
    14. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      That's also the way I see it. I am impressed when people say they have "been habituated". Perhaps my tinnitus will someday be like rain on the roof.

      I'm an engineer, and I attempt to understand things based on mechanical principles. As a frustrated amatuer on the subject of tinnitus, the most interesting papers that I have seen are coming from a branch of science that I suppose would be called bio-physics. Bio-engineers/physicists postulate that the hair bundles form a mechanism called a Hopf amplifier. They have worked out the mechanics and chemistry of the hair bundles. These little amplifiers are extremely fine tuned. An injury or chemical can effect the tuning of these little hair bundles, causing the "T" sound that we hear.

      I certainly hope that someone at the ATA is attempting to apply bio-physics research to finding a cure. It seems to me these researchers already have a great deal already figured out. There has to be a cure for this someday.
       

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