Causes of Tinnitus and Vertigo in Chinese Medicine
Tinnitus and vertigo have many possible underlying causes according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and herbal therapy to address tinnitus would depend on its ‘root’ cause and the Organ Systems involved. Often, tinnitus due to Excess is aggravated by cupping the hands over the ears, and tinnitus due to Excess is relieved by cupping the ears. Here are some of the more common patterns according to TCM:
Kidney Deficiency Tinnitus
This type of tinnitus typically comes on gradually. The sound is often low and can
resemble water rushing, a low buzz, or low ringing. With Kidney Yin Deficiency, hot flashes or afternoon-evening sweats may be present along with other Kidney Yin Deficiency indications.
Kidney-Essence Depletion Tinnitus
This is the most common type of tinnitus related to aging and would have a gradual onset and low sound. Other indications may be poor memory, slight dizziness, sore back and knees, and fear.
The chapter of On the Brain in the Ling Shu (Miraculous
pivot text) states that “if the brain marrow is insufficient, vertigo
and tinnitus will occur."
Kidney-Heart Imbalances Tinnitus
In Chinese medicine, the Kidney represents the Water Element, and the Heart represents the Fire Element. The balance of Water and Fire is crucial in the body to maintain wellness. TCM recognizes a break down in the communication between the Kidney energetic organ system and the Heart which can occur if either organ system is compromised. This type of tinnitus would present with Kidney Deficient symptoms along with Heart Blood Deficiency symptoms such as palpitations, sleeping problems, poor memory, or anxiety marked with a sense of impending doom.
Tinnitus with a sudden onset and loud noises is often attributed to Liver-Fire rising upward due to emotional issues such as anger or frustration; this results in Internal Wind which is often part of conditions with dizziness. This type of tinnitus may present with a sharp, painful, stabbing headache or dizziness-vertigo.
Kidney-Liver Imbalances Tinnitus
Liver-Spleen Imbalance Tinnitus and Vertigo
Long standing Spleen Qi Deficiency which is not properly addressed may result in Internal Dampness, which combined with Liver Qi Stagnation, can result in tinnitus due to Phlegm-Fire rising upward. This type of tinnitus would be marked with Liver indications possibly along with a heavy head, dizziness or vertigo, and the sound of crickets.
Length of Herbal Therapy
It will take many months of tonic herbal therapy to correct the Organ Level Deficiencies which have caused your tinnitus; think 8-10 months of ongoing herbal application. Meanwhile, if it is hard for you to hear over your tinnitus, ask your friends and family to face you when they talk so you can see their faces. Seeing their expressions may help you understand them better. Ask people to speak louder, but not shout. Also, tell them they do not have to talk slowly, just more clearly.
Other Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a symptom associated with many forms of hearing loss. It can also be a symptom of other health problems. According to estimates by the American Tinnitus Association, at least 12 million Americans have tinnitus. Of these, at least 1 million experience it so severely that it interferes with their daily activities. People with severe cases of tinnitus may find it difficult to hear, work, or even sleep.
What causes tinnitus according to Western medicine?
- Hearing loss. Doctors and scientists have discovered that people with different kinds of hearing loss also may have tinnitus.
- Loud noise. Too much exposure to loud noise can cause noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Trauma and surgery
- Pharmaceutical medicine. More than 200 medicines can cause tinnitus. If you have tinnitus and you take medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine could be involved.
- Other health problems. allergies, tumors, and problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaws, and neck can cause tinnitus.
Think about things that will help you cope. Many people find listening to music very helpful. Focusing on music might help you forget about your tinnitus for a while. It can also help mask the sound. Other people like to listen to recorded nature sounds, like ocean waves, the wind, or even crickets.
Avoid anything that can make your tinnitus worse. This includes smoking, alcohol, and loud noise. If you are a construction worker, an airport worker, or a hunter, or if you are regularly exposed to loud noise at home or at work, wear earplugs or special earmuffs to protect your hearing and keep your tinnitus from getting worse.