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Author: admin, 26.01.2015. Category: Is There A Cure For Tinnitus

A few weeks later, there was a new, additional sound, louder and lower pitched, in my right ear. Then, fortuitously, I heard an interview on the radio with a scientist who described a new treatment for tinnitus.
However, occasionally these routine signals are treated as a source of alarm and raised to consciousness.
Apparently if you are put in a soundproof room for an hour, there is a 90% chance you will develop tinnitus — the brain is constantly monitoring sound inputs, and when there are none externally, it starts to pay attention to internally generated signals.
The high-pitched tone in my left ear gradually became less frequent and less noticeable and went away entirely after several months. With this experience, I was attuned to the idea of brain plasticity, which refers to the capacity of the brain to rewire itself.
Doidge was making accessible information from the frontiers of research and therapy that challenged long-established views about the brain, and offered hope where there had been little previously. When I was young, my friends and I somehow learned that the brain was a static and degenerating organ. One example is a study of strengthening a little-used muscle, the one that moves your little finger away from the ring finger.
Because of the popularity of The Brain that Changes Itself, numerous people contacted Doidge, introducing him to other work on neuroplasticity. Another route to healing via neuroplasticity is to shine low-intensity lasers on parts of the body, even the brain itself. Doidge is willing to examine approaches to healing that are dismissed by mainstream medicine, though always putting these in the context of the science of neuroplasticity.
Other tools for healing that Doidge discusses include listening to manipulated sounds and an electronic device placed on the tongue to stimulate neuromodulation. The problem is when bad mental habits take over: unlearning these habits is difficult and requires sustained effort. Moskowitz’s inspiration was simple: what if he could use competitive plasticity in his favor?
What if, when he was in pain, he could try to override the natural tendency to retreat, lie down, rest, stop thinking, and nurse himself? Moskowitz went on to conquer his own severe pain and became a pain medicine specialist, helping many others.
Doidge tells many stories of recovery from seemingly hopeless conditions, including chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, brain damage and autism. If you or someone close to you has any of the conditions addressed by Doidge, it may be worthwhile to read his books as a starting point, check out his website, and decide whether to investigate further. Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is Singapore's flagship hospital offering comprehensive range of medical specialties and services for our patients spanning over two centuries. Despite exercise, there is one point at the joint of my shoulder where I still feel the pain and the shoulder does not seem to be able to move freely. I went to two ear, nose and throat specialists, underwent the Doppler test on my neck to check if my blood vessels have narrowed and also had a computed tomography (CT) scan on the temporal bone at the side of my head.
In addition, I went to see an oral surgeon to check if I have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain or jaw joint pain. A physician has to approach these symptoms based on the most pressing issue that, when left untreated, will progress to further complications. In the process of evaluation, the physician has to find links between the main complaint and whether this is related to the other symptoms.


In your case, the pressing complaint is pulsatile tinnitus (ringing in the ears that occurs at the same rate as one’s heartbeat). This requires further evaluation to determine if there are progressive symptoms, such as hearing loss, imbalance, headache, or if there is an audible abnormal sound that can be heard by placing a stethoscope on the head and neck.
When abnormal sounds are not audible, the patient has subjective pulsatile tinnitus and subsequent imaging of the brain or temporal bone is likely to show normal results.
Objective pulsatile tinnitus would require further imaging of the head and neck to exclude small arteriovenous (AV) fistula (an abnormal connection or passageway between an artery and a vein) of the blood vessels in the skull. If left untreated, seizures, coma and respiratory arrest will result due to the compression of the respiratory centre in the brain.
Treatment for tinnitus can be based on counselling techniques alone or sound-based therapy, such as tinnitus retraining therapy, neuromonics and cognitive behavioural therapy by a psychologist. The CT scan of your temporal bone is normal, so this excludes the possibility of a perforated ear membrane and middle ear infection. Your chronic ear itch is likely to be due to excessive ear cleaning, fungal infection of the outer ear canal or part of a generalised eczema problem. The main treatment method is to avoid inserting foreign objects into your ear, as this will cause repeated cycles of ear infection and itch. Non-compliance of treatment for TMJ pain, such as failure to wear a mouth guard at night, may explain the continual ear and facial pain. The oral muscle relaxant prescribed by the neurologist is consistent with the treatment for TMJ dysfunction. The cause for this is uncertain, but trauma, injury and other medical conditions, such as connective tissue disease, may be related to this. The symptoms of stiffness, pain and limitation of movements usually last from six months to two years and are usually self-limiting.
If the symptoms persist beyond two years, it is best to visit a specialist in joint and muscle disorder, such as a rheumatologist or an orthopaedic surgeon. This helps explain why people with hearing impairment are more likely to suffer from tinnitus. My tinnitus was gone as a result of retraining my brain, and I did this by conscious efforts to change how I paid attention. Rather than using only the good arm and leaving the impaired one alone, this therapy in essence tied the good limb down and forced the patient to use the damaged limb intensively, up to hours per day, with gradually increasing challenges. The intensive training triggers major changes in the brain: to carry out the tasks, the brain uses unaffected parts of itself to carry out the limb function.
It describes constraint-induced limb therapy and many other wonders that can be achieved by taking advantage of neuroplasticity. We would humorously remind each other that the brain loses 50,000 cells every day, a relentless downhill descent. His new book, The Brain’s Way of Healing, examines various techniques and therapies that utilise neuroplasticity. This somehow causes the body to reorganise scrambled nerve systems, that send unwarranted signals, and eliminate the problem.
The picture that comes across is that the brain can be stimulated to rewire itself and to function more normally by using a variety of techniques, involving virtually any way of sending signals, including using the mind to do this. Doidge tells about psychiatrist Michael Moskowitz who developed chronic pain and studied research in the area until he came up with a new approach. What if, when his pain started – instead of allowing those areas to be pirated and “taken over” by pain processing – he “took them back” for their original main activities, by forcing himself to perform those activities, no matter how intense the pain was?


In this case, as with other therapies, focused attention becomes a way to reprogramme the brain. In the form of deliberate practice, it is the key to expert performance in many domains, such as chess, golf, writing and playing the violin. If doctors say you will never regain a function, they might be right, but invoking the power of neuroplasticity is making some of their predictions out of date.
This wasn’t all that worrying — a couple of times every year, I would hear such a sound for five or ten seconds, and then it went away.
I believed the standard view that tinnitus is irreversible and potentially progressive, getting worse with time.
All the time there are signals going from the ear to the brain, for example from blood flowing through the eardrums, but normally the brain treats these signals as irrelevant, and does not bring them to conscious attention. The usual idea was that because stroke destroys part of the brain, disability was permanent: limbs would be useless, speech was impaired, and so on, depending on which parts of the brain were affected. For example, with your impaired limb, you repeatedly attempt to put a ball through a large hoop, then a somewhat smaller hoop, chalking up hours of forced effort. Doidge, a psychiatrist, interviewed leading researchers in the field and wrote about their work in an engaging way, often using stories of individuals to motivate discussions of more technical matters. Doidge again uses personal stories by healers, scientists and individuals dealing with their own health problems to motivate his descriptions of approaches to healing. The Feldenkrais method is normally thought of as in the same context as the Alexander technique or Pilates, namely as some sort of alternative health modality. The brain is like a muscle: physical activity strengthens the components that are exercised, and paying attention is a way of doing this. He would force those brain areas to process anything-but-pain, to weaken his chronic pain circuits. In the form of meditation or mindfulness, it is one of the most potent tools for achieving increased happiness. What seems to have occurred is that he forced parts of his brain to consciously take over functions that are normally controlled unconsciously by brain areas that were degenerating.
Doidge, however, presents Feldenkrais as a pioneer in using neuroplasticity as a tool for recovery of normal body functions, decades ahead of the laboratory studies that would explain how his methods worked. In these and other areas, the capacity to focus attention needs to be combined with knowledge about what to focus on and how. Quite a few of them are in the early stages of development, many involve specialised equipment, and all require practitioners to have advanced skills to obtain good results.
Rather than craving silence, as before, I welcomed the capacity to hear naturally generated external sounds. New experiences do not just add memories, but change the way connections are made in the brain. Actually, the muscle may not be stronger, but the mental circuits that activate the muscle become better developed, a process that also occurs in conventional weight training. And not everyone can afford to travel to specialised treatment units or to provide the intense therapy required. Little did I know that checking to hear whether the sound was there was the worst thing I could do.



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