About a year ago, my husband began complaining. He said that when he laid down at night he could hear a faint thudding of his heartbeat in the ears. At first, the noise was nothing more than an annoyance, but it soon grew to be a problem. As the weeks and months passed, the dull thudding became a louder humming, an almost constant sound. Even worse, while this aggravating symptom first occurred only when he laid down, eventually the noise began to accompany him during the day as well. He once told me that the noise was like a discordant symphony ringing in his ears.
He and I both believed that it was nothing—just one of those things you learn to live with. Still, as time went on and the noise became more and more intrusive, I knew we had to do something. The first step, of course, was a visit to his doctor. One brief history and a perfunctory exam later we were told that the condition was….ringing in the ears. I felt like saying “we know that, but what is wrong with him.” The Doctor went on to explain that there was not much we could do. Hearing the heartbeat in the ears, also called Pulsatile Tinnitus, isn’t even a disease in and of itself – it is a symptom. The doctor decided my husband’s symptoms were most likely caused by allergies or sinus problems and prescribe an antihistamine. The problem was, while the drug made my husband very sleepy, it really did little to alleviate the problem, especially since he could only take the medication at night.
We went back to the doctor. In fact we ended up going back five times. Each time we were told about another possible underlying cause and prescribe another drug. None of these methods worked well and many didn’t seem to make a difference at all. My husband had just about given up hope that he would ever have clear hearing again when we decided to get proactive and research the subject ourselves. Turns out that in theory the doctor was right – we had to find out what the underlying cause of the Tinnitus is and treat that. He may have been wrong about the many different medications he prescribed. Some of the possible underlying causes like whiplash, allergies and blocked Eustachian tubes just didn’t fit with my husband’s history. One underlying cause did: Stress. It turns out that stress is one of the leading causes of Tinnitus.
We also discovered that there are natural remedies that have been used to treat Pulsatile Tinnitus with a high degree of success. In my husband’s case, it was simply a matter of changing his eating and sleeping habits and finding a way to unwind. Once he learned to let go of the stresses of everyday life, he relaxed and gradually, the ringing went away. When my husband is overstressed at work, overtired or simply not taking care of himself the symptoms tend to reappear.
Tinnitus isn’t something you have to learn to live with, it is something you have to learn to fight against. Visit with your doctor, of course, but be sure to discuss alternative or holistic method instead of strictly medical methods. You may just find the solution is something as easy as learning to relax, or to manage your allergies.