Tinnitus, the medical term for ringing or buzzing in the ear, can leave a lasting impact on one’s quality of life. For some, life can continue almost normally with mild discomfort, but for others these are debilitating symptoms. Tinnitus originates in the neurons of the brain, but we perceive the sounds to be coming from the ears. These phantom sounds can be intermittent or constant and range in volume from soft and ignorable to intrusive and annoyingly loud. While there are no FDA drug treatments to prevent or reverse hearing loss and tinnitus symptoms, temporary tinnitus can be prevented and permanent tinnitus can be managed.
Here is a roadmap to help you navigate a living life to the fullest with tinnitus.
Tinnitus specialists tend to distinguish between ‘new’ tinnitus, which may or may not be temporary, and ‘old’ tinnitus, which is more likely to be permanent. Permanent tinnitus is typically defined as tinnitus that persists longer than six months. This is an estimate, not a scientific finding; nevertheless, the distinction is important for self-diagnosis and self care.
Perhaps you’ve had muffled hearing and abnormal buzzing and the ringing sounds of tinnitus after noise exposure. If so, the evidence strongly suggests you’ve experienced symptoms of serious hearing cell trauma, most often caused by intense levels of environmental noise, and the symptoms are warning signs of permanent auditory system damage. If your hearing returned to normal and the tinnitus symptoms disappeared within a few days, you likely forgot about it. However, if the tinnitus symptoms persisted, you have temporary tinnitus.
The science also indicates that repeated exposure to environmental noise can further aggravate the disorder, making recovery more difficult and less likely, which also makes permanent hearing loss and permanent tinnitus more likely. The longer these symptoms persist, the harder they are to change. In this view, tinnitus symptoms are new sound patterns akin to habits. They become more deeply embedded into consciousness the longer they persist.
Managing tinnitus symptoms is likely a priority for maintaining quality of life if you have permanent tinnitus and the symptoms are intrusive.
Although there are no approved drugs to treat the fundamental underlying cause of tinnitus, approved drugs available from physicians may be beneficial to treating the insomnia, anxiety, or depression that often accompanies tinnitus.
Additionally, the research community is focusing attention on a wide variety of brain training interventions designed to help manage or mitigate symptoms by influencing the brain’s capacity for neuroplasticity, it’s ability to adapt to changes in neuronic input, which is clearly presented by tinnitus.
These interventions, called cognitive training programs, vary in cost, but all appear to require consistent commitment. Some programs require devices which are provided as part of the cost of the program, or available for rent or purchase. These programs “purport to exploit the brain’s capacity for neuroplasticity, might have a role in the future treatment of patients with tinnitus.” (Piccirillo et at, 2017) 1
According to the Piccirillo paper cited above and others we’ve reviewed, it’s too early to assess the efficacy of these interventions. What can be said is that most of these programs are variations on the ancient brain training practice of meditation, the benefits of which on cognitive health are well established. Aside from the cost of guidance and training, meditation requires only patience, persistence, and the consistent allocation of small amounts of time.
Feeding hearing cells is an effective response to inner ear cell trauma and the consequence of tinnitus. This idea may seem strange, but only because it’s a new scientific idea and a brand new solution, not because it’s whacky.
Recall that the fundamental role of an inner ear hair cell is transduction, which means the cell converts sound waves into an electrical signal. Once converted, supporting cells transport the signal to the auditory cortex in the brain. That work takes energy.
In summary, the energy those cells need to respond to higher levels of sound input is created in the biological process of cellular respiration, called metabolism. This happens everywhere in the body, but in the inner ear, the metabolic system begins to malfunction when the oxidative molecules necessary for cellular energy production – reactive oxygen molecules called free radicals – are produced in excess.
The research teaches that intense sound overwhelms the antioxidant systems built into cells designed to neutralize and eliminate them into the bloodstream. When that happens, the excess free radicals initiate a series of bad biochemical reactions in the inner ear.
Soundbites is designed to be preventive care for hearing, specifically to help inner ear cells cope with excess free radicals to prolong the normal life of those cells. It’s best to take it before noise exposure if possible, or as soon after as possible, to protect and preserve hearing.
Soundbites is patented to prevent and treat temporary and permanent tinnitus largely because the formula is also patented to prevent and treat hearing loss, and the two conditions are related, as we’ve described above.
If you have permanent tinnitus, case reports and pilot phase clinical data indicate slow but consistent reduction in tinnitus symptoms typically perceived within the first three months of taking Soundbites daily, and a relatively quick return of symptoms when taking Soundbites pauses. We’re a data-driven company. Studies are ongoing.