Ringing in the Ears

For John.

...Is the common description we give for various ear disorders. Starting with the common ear ache to ear infection to Meniere's disease to Tinnitus to hearing loss.

How about 28 million americans suffer from one form or another chronic ear ache at various levels.  Practitioners of original medicine believe with tremendous conviction that the most common culprits of any ear disorder is caused by the over use of antibiotics, environmental allergies and the very food that the FDA and AMA approve of us to eat.

The Auditory system is responsible for the processing of sound and regulation of balance, and is one of the body's most sensitive systems.  For such a responsibility the ear allows us to hear the faintest of noises and maintain equilibrium in the most extreme of circumstances.

While hearing loss is common for those of us getting older, many reasons are man made.  Disorder symptoms range from ear pain, stuffiness, inflammation, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), lack of balance, dizziness, vertigo, nerve damage, and of course, hearing loss.

Today, approximately as many as 60% of young people are suffering from one form or another, of ear disorders and hearing loss that have in the past been attributed to people 40 years older!

Lets start at with the most common:  general ear ache, Obviously common, can be as simple as a build up of wax - so clean your ears!  Or, just as usual, it can be caused by a build up of of fluid in the middle ear, resulting in pressure that swells and closes the Eustachain tube.  When the tube closes, fluid from the middle ear is prevented from flowing and begins to accumulate;  thus this stagnant fluid can lead to bacterial infection, causing acute pain, if left untreated, it will lead to fever, and decreased hearing.

Otitis Media: 

Now we're moving onto the infection. There are two types; acute and chronic.  While this condition can occur at any age, it is very common among children.  Acute symptoms range from and combine - upper respiratory infection, and/or allergy, earache goes without saying, then there's the red swollen ear drum, fever and chills.  Interesting to note, that infants that are bottle fed too early are particularly prone to acute ear infections; while mothers who breast feed their babies for at least six months, generally give their infants sufficient protection through the mother's antibodies in her milk.

Chronic Otitis media, refers to constant ear swelling and blockage of the auditory tube, its symptoms include a dull throbbing pain. The hearing loss comes into play when the infection is left untreated, inflammation and swelling will cause the perforation of the membranes of the middle ear, accompanying this is usually drainage from the ear too.  Further, in these chronic cases, when all the afore occur, it can lead to meningitis which is inflammation of the membranes of the spinal cord or brain.

Meniere's Dis-ease: 

is a serious dysfunction typically characterized by the build up of fluid pressure of the inner ear, which ultimately disrupts the balance mechanism and can cause bouts of dizziness, nausea, and even vomiting.  Three common effects of Meniere's dis-ease are vertigo, tinnitus and sensory hearing loss. Onslaughts of pain can last anywhere between 10 minutes to several hours at a time. Again, left untreated, this will lead to hearing loss.  Conventional treatment, includes diuretics to keep fluids out of the ear canal...eventually leading to surgery.

 

Tinnitus:

This variation of ear ache is the "ringing of the ears" sensation; and occasionally pain.  Cause again, include excessive wax build up, a blocked eustachain tube, and a dysfunction of the auditory nerve.  Encouraging this onset can be excessive antibiotic use, drug use, aspirin, smoking, trauma, and the obvious exposure to constant loud noise.  (You might not think it was loud, but your ear might disagree...n' I don't care if it was your favourite song)!  As everything is connected in the body.  Like Meniere's dis-ease, Tinnitus, can cause the feeling of nausea and dizziness, but isn't confined to problems related to the ear exclusively, but also include problems with the heart or brain. 

Hearing loss:

As we know loss can be gradual or sudden.  Problems  that develop over a short time period usual signify blockage in either the outer or inner ear.  Outer ear blockages are most commonly caused by wax build up, while blockages of the inner ear are generally caused by fluid accumulation as a result of infection or allergy.  So we have two basic types of hearing loss - conductive and sensory.

So in summary of causes:

They can range from infection, loud noise, variety of foods, environmental allergies, drugs, smoking (as a result of nicotine's negative effects on circulation), trauma, sustained exposure to chlorine (swimmer's ear) and autoimmune and metabolic disorders, Medications such as aspirin, diuretics, and Chemotherapy are also potential causes.

So we can seem to par take in the most innocent of activities ranging from cleaning our ears with a cotton-bud, to swimming in a pool with too much chlorine, bacteria or fungi. Stubborn and repeated infections are usually fungal and are commonly seen in patients with diabetes, allergies, cancer, candidiasis and other chronic diseases.

Treating ear disorders: 

Again, conventional doctors will treat with surgery and/or antibiotics...because they're not trained to understand how the body works, so they treat the symptom, not the cause.   It then goes without saying, that original medicine practitioners will seek out the cause of the problem, and treat thus.  Be it diet, intolerance to certain foods (you might like it, but your body doesn't), environmental factors, infection or trauma (you got whapped up side of the head).

Through dietary changes (what  your body screaming for, and that doesn't include  double pepperoni please, every time you eat a pizza), nutritional supplementation, allergy elimination (you don't always know what your allergic too, and don't say the opposite sex)! and a host of other tests like herbal remedies, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, craniosacral therapy, and auditory integrationone can truly alleviate one's ear problems.

Dietary Changes:

Again, many people are allergic to certain foods, but don't know it, because the average person only associates an allergy symptom as being sneezing or breaking out in a rash. Yet in truth a reaction has many ways of manifesting itself. One could cut down drastically on saturated fats and cholesterol, wheat and dairy products, and keeping sugar, sweets (candy) and alcohol to a minimum, as they encourage yeast growth - especially important if one has been on a course of antibiotics recently.

It has been noted in children, that a lack of protein and iron in their diet can lead to ear infection, and as a child is not that far removed from an adult, it makes good sense that taking proper natural supplements for the adult like B vitamins, and vitamins that contain iron, can help prevent the condition known as Anemia, which is known to lead to ear infections.  Note, that iron should not be used during an ear infection, as too much can lower immunity.  When being tested by an Applied Kinesiologist of other natural health practitioner, they will access what minerals etc you are low in.

With chronic Otitis Media, supplements of beta carotene, vitamin C along with the amino acid N-acetyl-Cysteine which helps remove excess fluid, can greatly increase recovery through helping the body get back into balance. After usage of antibiotics, using  friendly bacteria such as Acidophilus to reconstruct the normal digestive tract flora. 

With Tinnitus high doses of pancreatic enzymes have been repeatedly shown to reduce the inflammation shown on the major organs associated with hearing. Other nutritional supplementations include vitamins A and C, bioflavonoids and zinc. Vitamin A and E have proven beneficial for people with hearing loss associated with age, as has MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) an organic form of sulfur used as ear drops.

Herbal Remedies:  

Many practitioners will recommend herbs to treat ear infections, the list can contain such herbs as - Golden Seal,  mullein and Hypericum (St. John's Wart). These particular herbs aide in reducing the actual pain in the ear, and help draw out excess fluids.   Echinacea and Golden Seal act as anti-bacterial.  Echinacea is also used  as an immune enhancing herb along with its gift of destroying bad bacteria and viruses, has anti-inflammatory effects plus, stimulates tissue repair at injury sites. Echinacea is widely used because of its power to fight common head colds and related ailments due to it's properties enabling it to increase the number of immune cells in the blood.

Ginkgo Biloba increases circulation in and around the ear and is commonly used to treat Tinnitus.

Tea Tree oil drops and diluted grapefruit seed extract drops are helpful for Ringing in the Ears, clogged ears, diminished hearing, ear pain, itching in the ears or ear problems caused by yeast infections.

Homeopathy:

There are several remedies in place. For early onsets, Aconite and Ferrum phos.  For advanced stages or recurrent episodes, one could use Belladonna, Chamomilla, Hepar Sulf, Lycopodium, Merc Sol., Pulsatilla and Silicea.  Depending on the symptoms, allergenic food must be eliminated from the diet.  Many people who suffer from Meniere's Dis-ease have a history of migraines. Restrictions of caffeine sodium and chocolate are a must; in addition, a person should be checked for sensitivity to mercury dental amalgams.

Ayurvedic Medicine:  

This type of treatment combines oils, massage, herbs and nutritional supplements.  Many practitioners will apply Neem for an ear infection, which is both antibacterial and antifungal.  Mix Neem with warm Adardica Indica oil and place it in the ear, then gently apply a lymphatic massage on the outside of the ear to open the eustachian tube to facilitate drainage.

In summary of Treatment:

  • Changing/modifying your diet is almost a given.  Specifically cutting down on saturated fats, finding out if you're allergic to wheat and/or dairy products.  Keeping sugar, sweets, and alcohol to a minimum.
  • When treating chronic Otitus Media, supplements of Beta Carotene and vitamin C can be very beneficial, as well as N-Acetyl to encourage drainage.
  • Vitamins A and E and MSN has proven beneficail for hearing loss associated with age.
  • Ginko Biloba increases circulation in and around the ear, and is commonly used to treat Tinnitus.  Black Cohosh can also help relieve Ringing in the Ears.
  • Homeopathic remedies have been shown to work faster, better and their positive effects last longer than antibiotics or Otitus Media.
  • According to Chinese medicine, ear complaints are associated with kidney function, thus Acupuncture points related to the kidneys are used to treat a range of ear disorders.
  • Ayurvedic medicine uses a combination of oils, massage herbs and nutritional supplemts.
  • Craniosacral Therapy  can be very beneficial in treating hearing disorders caaused by  problems associated with the temporal bone (on both sides of the skull at its base, one portion of which encloses the organ of hearing).
  • Auditory Integration training may be effective for people who are hyper-sensitive to high frequency sounds.

 

Please note,

that all of the above should be carried out by a qualified  health professional. It is your choice and responsibility to adhere to the guidelines given by the Practitioner.  When one isn't familiar with Natural treatments, one can feel rather lost and over whelmed. However, today, going to see a specialist in natural health care is as easy as going to a conventional doctor. It is more times than not, no where near the expense of seeing a conventional doctor; and due to the long overdue choice by millions of people, the AMA has been forced into accepting its place back in the health arena, and thus these practitioners are able to accept health insurance holders.

While personal recommendations are typically the best way to find your new Natural Health Care Specialist, sometimes we have to go through the Yellow Pages and such; however, I have included some alternatives below:

 

Credit and thanks go to:

  • Constantine A. Kotsanis, M.D. Texas.
  • Katie Data, N.D. Washington.
  • Virender Sodhi, M.D. Washington.
  • Michael Schmidt, B.S.,  D.C.,  C.C.N., Minnesota.
  • William Cook,  M.D. Tennessee
  • Lendon Smith, M.D. Oregon.
  • John Hibbs, N.D. Washington.
  • David L. Hoffman, B.Sc., M.N.I.M.H. California.
  • K.H. Friese, M.D. Germany.
  • Robert D. Milne, M.D. Nevada.
  • Roger Hirsh, O.M.D. California.
  • John Uplledger, D.O. Florida.