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Author: admin | 10.03.2014 | Category: Tinnitus Causes And Treatments

The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) is a world leader, with a trained team of friendly and experienced advisers for anyone who experiences tinnitus or those simply seeking guidance or information about the condition. This information has been written to help you understand more about complementary therapies and their value in managing tinnitus.
Many of you will at some time or other have tried at least one form of complementary therapy, or alternative medicine, as a way of helping your tinnitus. The form of complementary therapy I am most often asked about in my tinnitus clinic is gingko biloba, a herbal supplement available in health food shops which derives from the rather beautifully named Chinese Maidenhair tree. One study in 1998, which compared acupuncture to physiotherapy, showed some improvements in tinnitus for 45% of patients following acupuncture but sadly the improvements did not last long. Homeopathy is a tremendously popular form of complementary therapy which has whole hospitals dedicated to its use and a string of well known advocates, including Prince Charles. Although the use of Hopi ear candles is popular with people seeking an alternative method of dealing with ear wax and with tinnitus, there are a number of concerns regarding this form of therapy. Interestingly, the Hopi people have distanced themselves from the use of ear candles and have claimed that such devices have never been used by the Hopi tribe. A quick surf of the internet reveals many other forms of complementary therapy being recommended for tinnitus, amongst them zinc supplements, vitamin B and restricted diets.
Plenty of anecdotal evidence does of course exist, and there are probably people reading this information sheet right now, who feel that their tinnitus has been helped significantly by some form of complementary therapy or other.
These may be relatively small considerations and many people would argue that they would rather have an upset stomach than tinnitus. It is fairly obvious that the more despairing a person feels, the more difficult it becomes to cope with tinnitus day-to-day. Another factor to consider, is that complementary therapy is generally expensive, and not normally available on the NHS.
It is for these reasons that I feel uneasy about recommending any form of complementary therapy to my patients as a tinnitus treatment. Having said this, I think there are circumstances under which complementary therapy can have a very useful role to play.
It is well proven that people feel more able to get on top of their tinnitus when they are feeling otherwise well in themselves.
In some cases the results are promising, and although alternative medicines are rarely shown to be more effective than conventional medicines, such as anti-depressants, they may be equally effective in some cases, and are often preferable to users. There are other ways, too, in which I believe the world of complementary therapy can improve the lives of people with tinnitus.
A criticism sometimes launched at complementary therapies is that their apparently high success rate for treating some ailments is due entirely to the placebo effect. Nobody really understands how this works, but it does seem clear that believing you are being treated for your ailment has a positive effect on the ailment itself. The placebo effect is strong in many complementary therapy trials, including those for tinnitus. Does this mean that the whole thing is just a big con, and people are somehow deceived into thinking their treatment it working?
Britain’s only professor of complementary therapy, Edzard Ernst, identifies several factors which enhance the placebo effect.


Complementary therapists tend to do all of these things, so it is perhaps not surprising that patients usually feel happy with the treatment they have received at their hands, even if clinical trials have shown it to be ineffective.
So where does that leave you, if you are currently considering complementary therapy for tinnitus? A list of the references used in preparing and reviewing this leaflet is available on request.
This information has been produced by the BTA and conforms to the Principles and Requirements of the Information Standard. If you sell or buy on eBay, no matter how frequently or infrequently, you can donate to the BTA as part of your eBay experience. If you're a seller, you can choose to donate a percentage of the final selling fee to the BTA, and will receive a fee credit proportionate to the amount you have donated to charity from eBay. If you shop online, you can help the BTA at no cost to you and still shop at your favourite stores and companies, including Marks and Spencer, Amazon, eBay, Thorntons, Ernest Jones, Sky Digital, Premier Inn, Littlewoods and Haven Holidays. Your chosen therapy may have been recommended by a friend, by a newspaper or on the internet.
It has been used by at least 25% of the people in the Western world for all kinds of conditions, but in particular for conditions for which there is no definitive medical cure. Three quite small studies carried out in the 1990s did show that gingko was fairly effective in reducing tinnitus, but the largest study carried out to date - which involved many BTA members - showed more disappointing results.
This is a form of ancient Chinese medicine in which fine needles are inserted into the skin at certain points on the body.
Another six studies showed no positive effect, so I would hesitate to recommend acupuncture to anyone as a treatment for tinnitus.
The most that can be said for these is that, as yet, not enough scientific evidence exists to make any judgements about whether they are effective or not - we simply do not know. However, side effects from herbal medicines are possible - just because it can be bought over the counter does not mean that it carries no risks at all.
Often, people try a succession of treatments, one after the other, and as each one fails they become increasingly disheartened, and increasingly more despairing about their tinnitus. This idea is backed up by a Swedish study from 1997 which found that patients who had tried some form of complementary therapy for tinnitus, without success, prior to attending appointments at the tinnitus clinic started off with a more negative outlook than those who had not, and were less motivated to accept the specialist advice being offered there. Paying out hard earned cash for treatments which do not work is again likely to increase feelings of despair and resentment, both of which stand in the way of coming to terms with tinnitus. They may be an option worth considering for those who are struggling with other problems surrounding their tinnitus.
This phenomenon has been recognised since ancient Greek times; a large number of patients who go for treatment will find themselves getting better even when they are in fact taking sugar pills, or some other inactive treatment. This means that in many of the studies where treatment - gingko biloba, acupuncture or whatever - was shown to be ineffective, a number of people did actually experience improvements in their tinnitus.
Furthermore, even when a treatment is actually beneficial, its effect will still be further enhanced by these same factors.
You can choose from three different games and a massive 60p in every £1 comes directly to the BTA - and we will use this to fund our freephone telephone helpline and to fund medical research into tinnitus. For each purchase made from these companies - and almost 70 more - the BTA will receive a percentage of the purchase price and you won't pay a penny extra.


Some will have found it quite effective, others will have found it utterly useless, and others still, may be unsure whether it really helped or not.
Ewart Davies and his team at Birmingham University, concluded that gingko was not an effective treatment for tinnitus for most people, although the possibility remains that certain individuals might benefit, so the book is not yet closed on this one. However, it is most unusual as it works on the philosophy that the more a substance is diluted, the more potent it becomes.
There is, however, good evidence that the use of ear candles has damaged some people's ears. People have reported headaches and stomach upsets after taking gingko biloba, and there can also be negative health effects caused by large doses of vitamin and mineral supplements. Things like anxiety, depression and insomnia tend to get more attention from the medical world than tinnitus, and a smallish number of clinical trials have been carried out into various complementary therapies for such problems. This is why, in order to be considered valid, any treatment being tested has to be shown not just to be effective but to be more effective than placebo.
It was just that a similar number of people responded to the placebo treatment as responded to the actual one.
If people are feeling better, something is making them feel better, and we would do well to look at what the placebo effect is actually doing. You can predict temperatures, sunshine or lightning - so whatever the weather, you could be smiling! As a buyer, you can choose to make a small donation to the BTA at the checkout - ease the retail therapy guilt!
Unfortunately, the medical profession as a whole is not catching up with the demands of patients.
So far only one study has been carried out into tinnitus and homeopathy - once again by the ever busy Ewart Davies and others - and this showed that the homeopathic remedy had no effect.
Any tinnitus clinic worth its salt will try to address the co-symptoms of tinnitus rather than just the noise itself.
If you do decide to go for it, be aware also that a good, well-informed, caring therapist is probably worth any number of gingko biloba capsules. This is not only about the funds raised, including the BTA in your listing raises awareness of the charity and tinnitus and helps to reach more people who need our assistance. We are still quite uninformed about the effectiveness of complementary therapy in general, and for tinnitus in particular. Whether homeopathy can possibly be an effective treatment for anything is a matter of hot debate within the scientific community, and beyond the scope of this article, but as far as tinnitus is concerned the outlook is not good so far. This information sheet is not intended to be a guide to complementary therapy for tinnitus, but more a comment on what we do, and don’t know about it, what there is left to learn and what conclusions we can draw from the work that has been done so far.



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