manage my tinnitus Part 1How I manage my Tinnitus: Sarah’s story

I suffer from tinnitus, like many others. I have done a lot of searching and reading and uncovered tons of different ideas, tips and tricks which really didn’t help at all. I kept at it and did find several ways to manage my tinnitus which really help me. I am writing this so that maybe what has helped me can possibly help others.

Asking for help for Tinnitus

My do-it-yourself, self diagnosis, self help for ringing in the ears was getting me nowhere. I finally thought, maybe I need help on how I manage my tinnitus. That help started with going to an ENT Specialist first.  An ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) is a physician trained in the medical and surgical treatment of the ears, nose throat, and related structures of the head and neck. They have special expertise in managing diseases of the ears, nose and nasal passage sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity and upper pharynx (mouth and throat), as well as structures of the neck and face. (source: entassociates.com)

my hearing was pretty good

I was a little hesitant on visiting an ENT Specialist, however, nothing else was working, so I thought why not. I thought my tinnitus was job related because I work in an atmosphere where LOUD noises are the norm, so naturally, I thought that was the reason for my tinnitus. The ENT Specialist conducted a very thorough test to check my hearing and my ear and concluded that my hearing was pretty good. Now, despite my hearing being very good, the doctor didn’t rule out my tinnitus could be caused my work environment.

More questions:  possible TMJ and Tinnitus

As the doctor dug further, he was interested in possibly understanding any other underlying issues that may be causing my tinnitus so he started by asking me questions. Now these questions were not geared toward anything related to my ear, hearing, noises so I was not sure where this was going. He asked me questions like what time did I wake up, or what did I eat last night. So after about 5-10 minutes of questions, the doctor had a hypothesis. The doctor told me that my tinnitus is most likely due to TMJ, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Kind of shocked, and puzzled, I told the doctor that my jaw was fine. In fact, I didn’t recall any jaw issues, until the doctor asked me some more specific questions. He asked questions about my jaw clicking or perhaps locking up at times. I told him that after thinking about it, it has happened on occasion. The doctor then started feeling my jawbone and as soon as he moved down a little I felt a great deal of pain. My first thought was this is not helping me in how I am going to manage my tinnitus. The doctor however revealed to me that the muscles were spasmming and he bet anything that this is the reason for my tinnitus.  He referred me to a specialist for TMJ and though I was a little annoyed I would have to visit someone else, I didn’t complain and decided to go see what this other specialist has to say.

The next step: TMJ treatment for Tinnitusmanage my tinnitus

I made an appointment with a TMJ specialist. TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) sounded pretty bad and I wasn’t too thrilled about having to visit another doctor, but I thought if I gave everything else a chance, why not this. After all, I may be able to manage my tinnitus better than I have been doing and maybe I will find some tinnitus relief.

My first meeting with the TMJ Specialist was actually very good. He asked lots of questions and provided me with tons of tips. I made several appointments over the course of 3 months and he would always give me tips and pointers on relaxation techniques for my jaw along with jaw therapy. The doctor was very patient with me and very supportive. On my third appointment he actually gave me a jaw corrector plate along with a medicine that is a type of tranquilizer that calms the brain and nerves. I was concerned about this drug, but after some research, I noticed that I was not alone in my journey. In fact, I found out a lot of people who suffer from tinnitus have followed the same or almost the same steps I have.  As my sessions were coming to end my TMJ Specialist recommended one more thing. He had a friend who was a chiropractor who had helped someone previously with tinnitus. Now, again, my first reaction was why am I going to a chiropractor, but then I thought, I have been hesitant twice, and twice I have found more and more relief when it comes to me managing my tinnitus. So I was very optimistic and was open to going to a chiropractor.

Then more: a Chiropractor

So the first day I went to the chiropractor she informed me of the conversations she had with my TMJ Specialist. I found out that they had many conversations about me and my TMJ Specialist provided lots of insight on what I felt and what I was doing to try to find some sort of tinnitus relief. The chiropractor worked wonders around my jaw area, shoulders and neck. He recommended some additional jaw exercises that I can do at home and told me to avoid certain foods for it can cause more stress on the jaw.

The Outcome of my Tinnitus Management

All in all this experience has helped me manage my tinnitus to the point where I don’t even feel like I have tinnitus anymore. From visiting an ENT, to a TMJ Specialist and a chiropractor, I feel the combination of those three individuals along with my dedicated and willingness to try new things have changed me for the better. I live each and every day much more peacefully and don’t ever notice my tinnitus. I would recommend, if you have not, maybe paying a visit to the same three doctors that I have. You never know, it may help you as it has me. I now know specific exercises, relaxation techniques, foods to avoid and other valuable tips and tricks that all play a tremendously big part in how i manage my tinnitus day after day.

Sarah C is a high level consultant. Her struggle with Tinnitus could have but did not seriously damage her career.