Using an Infrared Sauna for Tinnitus Relief
Tinnitus sufferers, find relief from the constant “ringing” or garbled noises that accompany tinnitus by trying an infrared sauna. Estimates have placed the number of adults that have some degree of tinnitus at around 50 million people.
Many with tinnitus can largely ignore the ringing, whistling, buzzing, or other sounds that accompany temporary bouts of tinnitus. But, there are instances where tinnitus can interfere with personal relationships and even your work life. On May 16th, 2013, radio personality Ian Punnett made the announcement that he would no longer be hosting his popular Sunday call-in show due to the severity of his tinnitus. The constant noise of tinnitus can have drastically negative effects on your life.
While the exact mechanisms of tinnitus are still being studied by scientists, and no cure has been found for tinnitus, some infrared sauna users have found relief by spending time in their saunas. In this article, we will present some theories of how infrared-based therapies may be producing these results, as well as some other methods you can use to alleviate tinnitus.
What is Tinnitus?
Since tinnitus is unique to the individual and cannot be examined or tested, tinnitus is mostly defined by the symptoms that come along with the condition. To most, tinnitus will sound like a low-volume ringing, that is similar to the squealing feedback that occurs when a microphone is placed too close to a loud speaker. But, it is persistent. The symptoms of tinnitus are often more noticeable when there is no background noise, so sleeping in a quiet room may prove to be difficult without the use of a white noise machine.
Some tinnitus sufferers have a form of tinnitus known as “pulsatile tinnitus,” which means the tinnitus becomes more noticeable with ever heartbeat. This type of tinnitus is most often seen in individuals with high blood pressure, or those that consume too many caffeinated beverages or salty foods.
The Top Causes of Tinnitus
One of the difficulties in diagnosing and treating tinnitus is that there over a dozen different types of causes have been linked to what we collectively call tinnitus. We’ve listed some of the most commonly cited causes of tinnitus and explained how each relates to tinnitus.
- Nerve damage — Most cases of tinnitus arise from damage to the miniscule nerves within the inner ear.
- Hearing loss — Hearing loss can cause damage similar in nature to number-one cause of tinnitus, which is damage to the tiny nerves of the inner ear. Most instances of hearing loss-related tinnitus arise from prolonged exposure to noisy environments, playing music too loud, or even a sudden burst of loud noise such as an explosion.
- Medication use — Certain medications can affect the cellular structure of the inner ear. While this list does not encompass all the medications that can cause tinnitus, health scientists have determined that prolonged use of quinine, antibiotics, aspirin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs exacerbate and even cause tinnitus.
- Inner ear trauma — Any type of trauma to the inner ear that permanently disrupts cells or nerves can lead to tinnitus.
- Ear infections — Ear infections can cause a temporary form of tinnitus due to the buildup of fluids in the inner ear, but chronic ear infections can cause permanent scarring to tissues and nerves within the inner ear, which can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Diet — Diets high in grains, cheeses, tonic water, sodium, and fat can elevate blood pressure, worsening the symptoms of tinnitus temporarily.
- TMJ — Temporomandibular joint disorder, or “TMJ,” is a disorder wherein during periods of stress or anxiety, someone will grind their teeth at night. In most instances, being treated for TMJ should alleviate most — if not all — of the symptoms that come with tinnitus.
- Earwax — Some forms of tinnitus are caused by a buildup of earwax. An audiologist can help remove the waxy buildup, which should alleviate your symptoms.
- Change in bone composition — The bones in the inner ear serve a percussive purpose in transmitting sound waves to the ear. Some studies have attributed a stiffening of this bone material as one cause of tinnitus
- High blood pressure (hypertension) — As previously mentioned, high blood pressure can exacerbate the symptoms of tinnitus and create a condition known as pulsatile tinnitus. It’s worth mentioning that stress also elevates blood pressure and can cause tinnitus flare-ups.
How Infrared Saunas are Helping Tinnitus Sufferers
By regularly using a home infrared sauna, such as those from Good Health Saunas®, you can experience significant improvements in terms of the intensity and frequency of your tinnitus. Since infrared saunas reduce blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stress, those suffering from these conditions have found the most success in reducing their tinnitus.
Relief may be harder to come by for those with more persistent, chronic forms of tinnitus. But, a study detailed in the peer-reviewed Open Neurology Journal found that near-infrared light applied externally (such as in an infrared sauna setting) can be “useful for the treatment of chronic tinnitus[…] increasing cell proliferation, synthesis of ATP, promoting the local blood flow in the inner ear and activating repair mechanisms in the inner ear.” Therefore, according to the latest research, some degree of relief for those with chronic tinnitus can be achieved by using an infrared sauna.