How TCM think about Tinnitus
Tinnitus is very common, affecting an estimated 50 million adults in the U.S. For most people, the condition is merely an annoyance. In severe cases, however, tinnitus can cause people to have difficulty concentrating and sleeping. It may eventually interfere with work and personal relationships, resulting in psychological distress.
A variety of other conditions and illnesses can lead to tinnitus, including:
Blockages of the ear due to a buildup of wax, an ear infection, or rarely, a benign tumor of the nerve that allows us to hear (auditory nerve) Certain drugs -- most notably aspirin, several types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, loop diuretics, and antidepressants, as well as quinine medications; tinnitus is cited as a potential side effect for about 200 prescription and nonprescription drugs. The natural aging process, which can cause deterioration of the cochlea or other parts of the ear Meniere's disease, which affects the inner part of the ear Otosclerosis, a disease that results in stiffening of the small bones in the middle ear Other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, circulatory problems, anemia, allergies, an underactive thyroid gland, autoimmune disease, and diabetes Neck or jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome Injuries to the head and neck
The inner ear is an endolymphatic system. The membranous structure of the cochlea and the semicircular canals are also called the endolymphatic sac. The endolymph fluid chemical makeup is similar to the intracellular fluid which contains high potassium and low sodium. The endolymphatic sac functions similarly to the lymphatic ducts and regulates the fluid exchange in the ear to maintain endolymphatic fluid volume, pressure, ion transporter, mechanical valve, endolymph production, as well as immune function. Well balanced endolymph fluid volume and chemical composition allow the hair cells that are bathed in the endolymph to function normally and are essential to normal hearing, balance, and movement.
In TCM theory, tinnitus, motion sickness, and Meniere’s disease is a condition of spleen deficiency and the resulting disturbance to the endolymph quality in the inner ear is a condition called phlegm-damp. A spleen deficiency can cause phlegm-damp accumulation in the inner ear causing tinnitus, motion sickness or Meniere’s disease.
---by Wei Laboratories