How to Improve your Tinnitus by Reducing Adrenaline
By Julian Cowan Hill R.C.S.T
What is tinnitus?
Most people get tinnitus if you put them into total silence! Heller and Bergman proved this back in 1953 when they found 93% of people taking part in a test reported hearing noises, even though they were in total silence.
Ears work all the time and only relax as long as they have latched onto a harmless background noise. So if you put people in silence, their ears will listen out harder and harder until they find something else to pick up. If there is nothing there, ie silence, most people’s sense of hearing will intensify until it becomes so sensitive, it starts picking up internal nervous information. That’s what tinnitus is- hypersensitive listening that detects the noises of the brain. Your ears have become too sensitive.
If you have tinnitus, the first message is to AVOID SILENCE. It activates a stress response in your system, and increases your internal auditory sensitivity.
So why are you listening constantly to your tinnitus when most of the population is blissfully unaware of it? Why has your hearing become too sensitive and latched onto the noises of your brain?
The answer is because, behind the scenes, your central nervous system is idling in a constant state of red-alert. For some reason your whole system has locked itself into a state of emergency, as if it senses that there is some threat or danger there all the time, even though you know mentally that things are OK. Adrenaline* is the hormone that keeps your system locked into this state. (NB I use the term adrenaline to refer to a group of hormones released by the adrenal glands, eg cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline, etc.)
Below I will explain how your system gets into this state in the first place and how to recognise this pattern in yourself. The key to understanding tinnitus is adrenaline. If you have high levels of adrenaline coursing through your body, this prepares you for emergency. Your heart beats faster, your oxygen intake goes up, your senses become alert and specifically for tinnitus, your sense of hearing becomes acute.
On adrenaline you become much more reactive to the world around you and are constantly ready for action. The adrenal/stress response is purely and simply a survival mechanism that has evolved into our nervous system. When danger appears, we don’t have to think about it, we just automatically go into emergency mode, or the “fight or flight” response as it is called. To get out of danger we need to see, smell, feel and hear the slightest thing at lightening speed because it can save our lives. When the lion appears, if we notice it in time we can run away!
Tinnitus is bound up with this response. This is why most people start complaining about noises in the head after periods of high levels of adrenaline. (More later) Too much adrenaline over a long period of time gives you tinnitus.
Listening sensitivity can be heightened by other things too. If you are hard of hearing or deaf, every time you strain to hear you are heightening your sensitivity. As you can no longer get enough information from the external world, your brain tries harder to increase its receptivity by turning up the inner recording volume. This is why many people with hearing loss often experience tinnitus.
Tinnitus reminds me of an old fashioned tape-recorder when you set the recording volume too high. As a result, you not only hear the intended noise, but you also pick up masses of buzzing and humming coming from the machine itself. Tinnitus is where you hear the noises of the brain on top of sounds coming in from the outside world.
For those of you who are deaf, don’t strain to hear. This only makes your listening even more sensitive and prone to tinnitus. Get the appropriate hearing apparatus so your internal hearing sensitivity can relax and calm down.
You can also make your ears sensitive by sticking things down them....
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