Can Chiropractic Help Tinnitus?

Have you ever been going about your day and then suddenly your ears start to ring? Have you ever been working and then suddenly your ears start to buzz and you don’t know why? There’s nothing ringing or buzzing near you, so what is that noise?

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the medical term for ringing or buzzing in your ears that is not coming from an outside source. The buzzing can be in one ear or both. And the ringing can be constant or come and go. Occasionally it can be associated with hearing loss but it can also come from other reasons. The noise you hear is not caused by an external sound, and other people usually cannot hear it. Tinnitus is not just limited to ringing or buzzing, the sound heard can also be roaring, clicking, hissing, or humming. The phantom noise can be mild, but it can also sometimes be so loud it causes difficulty concentrating or hearing anything else.

In some rare cases of tinnitus, the sound can be rhythmic, a whooshing or pulsing sound in time with the heartbeat. This type of tinnitus is called Pulsatile Tinnitus. And is often one of the forms of objective tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a fairly common problem; according to the Mayo Clinic, it affects about 15-20% of people, and is especially common in older adults.

What Causes Tinnitus?

This ringing in the ears be caused by a number of reasons. It is commonly caused by an underlying condition such as age related hearing loss or an ear injury. There are certain disorders in the ear such as Ménière’s disease which can have tinnitus as a side effect. Ménière disease is a disorder of the part of the ear that controls balance. Pulsatile tinnitus can be caused by blood vessel damage or more turbulent blood flow in arteries that have stiffened with age.

However, there are a number of causes of tinnitus that are not caused by an underlying condition.

It can be caused by too much ear wax, often impacted and muffling the sound traveling to the ear. Tinnitus can occur as a side effect of some medications such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs if taken in high doses.

Tinnitus can also be a side effect of temporomandibular joint disorder; tightness in the ligaments, muscles, and nerves of the jaw can pull on the ear and cause ringing symptoms as well as TMJ pain.

Tinnitus can also appear as a side effect when there is a problem in the middle ear, such as an infection or vascular tumor.

One of the most common cause of tinnitus, particularly in younger adults, is exposure to very loud sounds or loud noises. This damage to the ear drum, the bones of the ear, or the hair sensors of the inner ear in the cochlea can cause sensorineural hearing loss and the ringing in the ears. The sensation cells being damaged causes the circuits in the brain to not receive the signals they expect, and instead stimulate abnormal activity in the neurons, resulting in the illusion of sound. When the brain tries to hear the expected sounded and signals, the brain turns up the sensitivity on those pathways, just like you can increase the volume in your car radio. The electrical noise that the ear ends up actually hearing is tinnitus. It is a kind of phantom limb phenomenon but in your ears. The brain is producing signals to compensate for the input that it feels it is missing.

Another common cause of tinnitus is a head injury or a neck trauma such as whiplash after a car accident. Severe injury to the neck can place abnormal pressure on the upper cervical spine. Injury can also bump the cervical spine out of it’s natural alignment. These misalignments change the pressure on the spinal nerve traveling out of the upper cervical spine and when a misalignment affects the cranial nerve heading to the ear, it can result in tinnitus symptoms. These misalignments can also cause headaches, and contribute to symptoms of vertigo, and neck pain.

How Can Chiropractic Treatment Help Tinnitus?

Chiropractic care for tinnitus involves chiropractic adjustments. Adjustments work to help treat tinnitus by restoring the natural alignment of the cervical spine by helping relieve the pressure that those misalignments have placed on the neck, head, and body. Misalignments particularly in the upper cervical area of the spine, can impede the communication of the brain to and from the ear, can cause the brain to try and compensate for the lack of communications by upping the sensitivity of those nerves, causing the tinnitus symptoms. A chiropractic adjustment, relieving that pressure and restoring communication can help alleviate the symptoms as well as restore healthy nervous system function.

Tinnitus that is the result of injuries from a car accident can also be greatly helped by upper cervical chiropractic management. Not only will adjustments help provide relief from neck pain, and headaches, common symptoms of whiplash, but again, can help ease the pressure on the nerves communicating with the ears, helping reduce or eliminate the symptom of ringing.

Chiropractic care in general can also greatly help provide symptom relief of the underlying causes of tinnitus. TMJ pain can be greatly helped by cervical spinal manipulation, relieving the pressure and restoring nervous system communication to the craniofacial nerve centers which can help reduce the tightness of the muscles of the face and relieve the pulling on the ear that can cause tinnitus.

Chiropractic care as a whole can help restore overall health and well being to patients, assisting not just with tinnitus, but with a multitude of other symptoms.

Call today and schedule an appointment to see if chiropractic treatment can help with your tinnitus symptoms!