OVERVIEW OF TINNITUS
Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no external sound is present. Although tinnitus is often referred to as "ringing in the ears," it is also commonly described as a sensation of hissing, roaring, whistling, chirping or clicking. The perceived sound can be tonal, ranging from high pitch to low pitch. However, for some individuals it can be multi-tonal, or even noise-like (no tonal quality). Tinnitus may be constant, pulsed or intermittent. The volume ranges in intensity from subtle to life-shattering. One or both ears may be affected.
Tinnitus may begin suddenly, or may come on gradually. Tinnitus can strike people of all ages.
The exact mechanism underlying tinnitus is unknown. Several factors are known to cause or worsen tinnitus if it already exists: allergic reactions, noise exposure, wax build-up in the ear canal, certain medications, ear or sinus infections, jaw misalignment (TMJ), cardiovascular disease, growths and/or tumors, underactive thyroid, and head and neck trauma.
Standard medical treatment for tinnitus often involves various therapies, including biofeedback and relaxation training, hearing aids, medication, masking, and TMJ treatment.
From a medical perspective, tinnitus is often regarded as an incurable condition. Treatment is intended to provide symptomatic relief.
EDGAR CAYCE'S PERSPECTIVE
Edgar Cayce gave 197 readings indexed as tinnitus. Various causative factors were noted including pressures on spinal nerves, systemic toxicity (often linked to liver and kidney problems), the after-effects of cold or flu, etc. The common theme in the various patterns of causation is that eventually the nerve impulse and circulation to the ear is impaired or obstructed in some manner resulting in the diverse forms of head noises called tinnitus.
Edgar Cayce was not alone in this view of tinnitus. The traditional osteopathic perspective on tinnitus also recognized that various casual factors could affect nerve functioning and circulation to the ears. Charles Hazzard, a well respected osteopath, included the following explanation of tinnitus in his comprehensive treatise titled The Practice and Applied Therapeutics of Osteopathy published in 1905:
Tinnitus Aurium, or "ringing of the ears," consists of a variety of subjective sounds due to nervous disease, anemia, catarrhal conditions, and various other causes. Generally speaking, the dull, throbbing or buzzing noises are due to obstructed circulation in the ear, especially in the fine capillary network spread upon the drum. This commonly results from colds and catarrhal affections ...
On the other hand, ringing, screeching, or whistling noises commonly denote some affection the nerves of the auditory apparatus, as is sometimes seen resulting from lagrippe [influenza]. (pp. 34 - 35)
Not surprisingly, Edgar Cayce often made referrals to osteopathic physicians for the treatment of tinnitus. Here are a couple of examples in which pressures on nerves along the upper spine resulted in tinnitus:
(Q) What causes irritation in my ears, roaring in head?
(A) Poor circulation.
The [osteopathic] manipulations and adjustments will assist this considerably ... (303-16)
(Q) Please give condition of left ear.
(A) There is a ringing in the ear at times but it is from that incoordination in the sensory forces, in the brachial centers. (2982-3)
(Q) What will relieve the ringing in the ear?
(A) [Eliminating] The pressure as is found in the 5th and 6th cervical. (1377-2)
(Q) Why do I still have the head noises and deafness?
(A) This is lack of coordination in the areas of the secondary supply of nerve forces and energies between sympathetic and cerebrospinal systems, from the upper dorsal centers. These cause, with this incoordination, a short circuit between sympathetic nerves and the central nerve system. (3074-3)
The blood supply indicates, as does the activity in the sensory system, that these deflections exist in the 1st and 3rd dorsal, the 3rd, 4th and 5th cervical; affecting the circulation to the organs of the senses - ears, eyes, nasal passages, and the upper portion of the head.
Hence those conditions which have existed in portions of the soft tissue about ears (or mastoids), nasal passages, the antrum, and the throat - or the glands in same. All of these produce accumulations, or poisons, from lack of drainages.
The combination of these cause the disturbances with this body, producing those deflected conditions as related to smell, or odor, the ringing in the ears - which arises from the deflection of nerve pressure as well as drainages. (1796-2)
The nerves along the upper spine (cervical and dorsal/thoracic) provide impulse and regulate the circulation to the sensory organs, including the ears. Pressure on these nerves can adversely influence hearing by distorting the sensory functions of the auditory nerves. Since these nerves also play a role in regulating blood and lymph circulation to the ears, impingements can also cause auditory problems via disturbed circulation to the ears. Thus spinal adjustments to relieve nerve pressure is a primary treatment in Edgar Cayce's approach to tinnitus.
In addition to pressures on nerves along the spine and local disturbances in circulation to the ear, other factors of a more systemic nature were sometimes implicated in cases of tinnitus. For example, poor eliminations resulting in systemic toxicity was cited in several readings for individuals suffering from tinnitus.
(Q) What will relieve continual ringing in right ear?
(A) The correction of eliminations, and especially those eliminations as related to the pressures created in the whole nervous system; followed by those baths and rubs. These are pressures, for they are poison creations in system ... (2096-1)
Systemic toxicity (autointoxication) is often linked to inadequate functioning of the liver and kidneys - two primary organs of elimination.
The blood supply indicates that there is incoordination between liver and kidneys as related to eliminations; and these bring about irritations in parts of the body, disturbances at times with eyes, ringing in the ears ... (3407-2)
(Q) Roaring in ears and head, and dizziness at times?
(A) Non-activity of the liver, and those reflexes to the system as indicated that are to be overcome by the stimulation through the electrical vibrations [violet ray appliance] that carry on through all the centers along the cerebro-spinal system, and specifically in the area indicated. (369-11)
Thus, internal cleansing is sometimes an essential component in the treatment of tinnitus. A cleansing diet (consisting primarily of fruits and vegetables), abdominal castor oil packs, and colonic irrigations are primary therapeutic modalities for internal cleansing. In certain cases, Edgar Cayce insisted that decreasing systemic toxicity is an essential step in the treatment of tinnitus.
Based on the above considerations with regard to the various causes of tinnitus, treatment recommendations varied considerably. However, certain therapeutic modalities were more frequently suggested. Osteopathic treatment was the most commonly recommended therapy. Systemic cleansing via diet, castor oil packs, and colonic irrigations was emphasized. Other therapies were often integrated into the treatment plan as described in the following excerpt which mentions the use of mild electrotherapy (violet ray appliance), the hand-held vibrator, cleansing of the ear, and maintaining a positive mental attitude:
(Q) What should be done to cure roaring in ear?
(A) This is included in those things as indicated; in the use of the violet ray and the applicator about same. Use the vibrator SPONGE applicator about the neck and head; that is, around the FACE and head, and the cup applicator on the spinal column itself. These should soon prove helpful; though they may be irritating at times, even more so than at present, but gradually the condition should recede - and the corrections being made in the system will relieve the distress.
Cleanse the ear at times, to be sure, with any warm solution; preferably a combination of salt and soda in equal parts with distilled water; or with a little sweet oil and then cleanse with a little tuft of cotton or the like. For these are the natural discharges that come from the lack of the distribution of refuse forces or used energies within the system itself.
Keep the mental and physical body fit. (413-5)
The mental and spiritual aspects of tinnitus were especially emphasized in reading 5140-1:
In giving the interpretations of the conditions as we find them with this physical body, much as to the results as may be obtained will depend upon the spiritual attitude that is taken by the body; not respecting the physical disturbance.
There will be required the analyzing of self first, as to what purpose, as to what use the body will give to those creative forces that may bring relief from the physical disturbance which exists...
Have you listened to the voice of conscience as it has brought corrections to the self? These are parts of the cause of the creation of deposits along the Eustachian tube, which causes the great roaring in the head and ears; that is, in the anxiety the body feels at times through the general mental attitude towards conditions as well as towards people.
In making the applications for helpful forces, do the first things, first; and the vows and promises you make to thy own better self, you'd better keep, lest the last state be worse than the first! (5140-1)
So, at least in some cases of tinnitus, these questions may well be asked,
"Is there something that I don't want to hear?"
"Am I blocking messages from within?"
"How would I live differently if I were healed?"
Significantly, in addition to the psychospiritual emphasis, reading 5140-1 insisted that the physical aspects of the condition be addressed with some of the typical therapies for tinnitus: osteopathic adjustments and massage, castor oil packs, electrotherapy, and a healthy diet.
The psychological and physical dimensions were also well integrated in reading 1523-15 which provided suggestions for a specific exercise to improve nerve functioning and circulation to the ears:
(Q) What causes my ears to roar like ocean waves beating in them at times?
(A) This is from the emotional body. Hence the needs for the head and neck exercise. This is a tendency of the slowing of the circulation through the eustachian tubes to the auditory forces of the ear. Thus the physical reaction from same. This should entirely disappear if the head and neck exercise is taken. (1523-15)
Thus a blending of treatments into a well integrated treatment plan was often recommended by Edgar Cayce for the treatment of tinnitus. Here is a summary of some of the most common treatment recommendations for tinnitus.
Conceptually, the Cayce approach to tinnitus focuses on assisting the body in healing itself by the application of a variety of therapies intended to address the underlying causes of the condition. The mental and spiritual aspects of healing are emphasized from the standpoint of working with a spiritual ideal.
Here are some general therapeutic recommendations intended to address the underlying causes of tinnitus:
- MANUAL THERAPY (SPINAL MANIPULATION): Cayce often recommended spinal manipulations to correct specific problems which may be a primary cause of tinnitus. The upper spine, in particular, should be evaluated for abnormalities. It is difficult to obtain the osteopathic adjustments specified by Cayce. However, a chiropractor may be of help. The frequency of the adjustments will depend on the recommendations of the individual chiropractor or osteopath. The use of an electric vibrator may also be helpful for individuals unable to obtain regular spinal adjustments.
- EXERCISE: A simple "head and neck exercise" is suggested to assist with relaxing neck muscles, improve nerve functioning and circulation to the ears.
- ELECTROTHERAPY: Regular use of the violet ray appliance to stimulate nerve functioning and circulation is recommended.
- LOCAL CLEANSING: If the ear(s) is prone to accumulations or discharges, daily cleansing with a mild solution such as warm water containing salt and soda may be helpful.
- INTERNAL CLEANSING: Because tinnitus was often linked with poor eliminations, hydrotherapy is recommended to improve eliminations through the colon. Hydrotherapy includes drinking six to eight glasses of pure water daily and obtaining colonic irrigations to cleanse the bowel. Following the diet should also assist with internal cleansing. Hot castor oil packs applied over the abdomen are recommended to improve circulation (especially lymphatic) and eliminations through the alimentary canal.
- DIET: The Basic Cayce Diet is intended to improve assimilation and elimination. The diet focuses heavily on keeping a proper alkaline/acid balance while avoiding foods which produce toxicity and drain the system. Essentially, the diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables while avoiding fried foods and refined carbohydrates ("junk food"). Certain food combinations are emphasized.
- ATTITUDES AND EMOTIONS: The mental and spiritual aspects of healing are frequently discussed in the Cayce readings. Particularly, an attitude of desiring and expecting to be healed is important. A positive mental and emotional attitude and can be created and maintained by focusing on a high purpose (spiritual ideal) for being healed.