- Mar 10, 2017
- by Jonathan Greene
What is Tinnitus?
You may be familiar with the experience of a ringing sensation in your ears after a night out enjoying some good music. Perhaps you’ve never given it a second thought as the sound normally disappears on its own. But what if you were to wake up in the morning and still have the ringing in your ears? And what if the ringing never stopped?
This is tinnitus – better described as the phantom perception of sound.
Tinnitus affects 10 to 15% of the adult population worldwide and there are currently no drug therapies available on the market. The reason for this is a limited understanding of how tinnitus sets in and what prevents it from going away.
How Does Tinnitus Work?
The generation and transmission of signals in the brain are subject to constant changes. In particular, signals can be boosted or tuned down in a process known as “plasticity”. When signals are boosted, it is referred to as “long-term potentiation”, a process which is critical in our ability to learn and store memories.
Knowing that tinnitus is a phantom sound which does not exist in the outside world but is perceived, suggests that somewhere in the brain there are cells generating a false signal in response to a sound which does not exist. Studies show that auditory signals are transmitted from the cochlea, in the inner ear, to a brain structure called the dorsal cochlear nucleus..
Cells in the dorsal cochlear nucleus are capable of boosting their signals. Based on previous studies there are reasons to believe that this ability could be compromised after multiple exposures to loud sound. If true, this would be strong evidence implicating the dorsal cochlear nucleus as the false signal generator, making it a target for therapeutic intervention.
The suspicions were right: exposure to loud sound prevented the dorsal cochlear nucleus from boosting its incoming signals. Exposure to loud sound therefore altered brain plasticity, leaving the dorsal cochlear nucleus in a compromised state.
What Triggers Tinnitus?
First, there is an exposure to loud sound – either instantly from an explosion or multiples experiences over a long period of time. This induces a temporary period of hearing loss or a “hard-of-hearing” experience, where the whole world appears to have turned down its volume. During this period, cells in the dorsal cochlear nucleus try to compensate for this low surrounding volume by boosting their signal.
This intervention is successful, but by the time the temporary hearing loss disappears, the signal boost has been stored as a “memory” in the dorsal cochlear nucleus, a memory which is not easily forgotten. The consequences of this scenario is tinnitus, a false signal generation which is perceived in the absence of an external stimulus. In brief, it has been shown that tinnitus is a state of continuous painful learning.
We showed that tinnitus sets in at a specific sound frequency, after the experience of loud sound exposure. Better yet, it is showed that a high magnesium levels can prevent the dorsal cochlear nucleus from turning the dials all the way up and locking this in place as a memory. With that intervention, it is possible to prevent the subsequent perception of tinnitus. This is because magnesium boosts neuron pathways, causing information to stay consistent and un altered.
If you suffer from Tinnitus the best thing you could do is rub Magnesium Oil on or around your ears to increase your Mg Levels. Placing it around your ears also streamlines the minerals straight to the area applied. It’s a win win for your health and hearing, with no negative side effects.