Tinnitus affects one in ten French people. These incessant background noises in the ear harm the quality of life as much as they handicap those who are affected. Sophrology can be useful in helping to better tolerate the permanent noise and avoid triggering depressive symptoms induced by the permanent gene.
Tinnitus affects about 10% of the adult population, with very disabling forms in less than 1% of cases. Tinnitus is hissing, crackling or ringing in the ears, which does not come from the outside world. Occurring in one or both ears, they can be continuous or intermittent, transient or persistent. Persistent tinnitus can last for months or even years.
In about 80% of cases, tinnitus is associated with hearing problems. In the other cases, although no deficit is found on the audiogram, the existence of undetectable damage to the auditory nerve fibers cannot be ruled out. Hearing loss is the most common cause of tinnitus. Faced with a hearing deficiency, the brain will reorganize itself to adapt and attempt to compensate for this deficiency. Unfortunately, this reorganization can lead to an aberrant functioning of the auditory cortex. In some cases, abnormal activities generated along the auditory pathway will be interpreted as sounds by the central nervous system. The brain will then hear sounds that do not correspond to external acoustic stimulation: this is tinnitus!
Tinnitus: Triggers and aggravators
Trauma induced by surgery, inflammation related to otitis media, a drug toxic to the auditory system (ototoxic drug) or even a vascular problem that can cause discomfort near the auditory nerve can also be causes of tinnitus. Their main origin is age-related hearing loss, reaching a peak around the age of 65. This risk also increases with lifetime exposure to noise and the occurrence of noise trauma. A recent study of 26-year-old disc jockeys, working three nights a week for six years, shows that 75% of them suffer from tinnitus.
The impact of tinnitus varies greatly from one individual to another, ranging from a simple annoyance to a severe handicap in daily life. Tinnitus can, in particular, cause difficulty in falling asleep or concentrating. They can also cause states of anxiety and depression.
Sophrology to better live with tinnitus
In case of tinnitus, it is useful to consult to look for hearing loss. In case of proven deficit, a hearing aid usually improves hearing and diverts the patient from his tinnitus.
However, there is no treatment for tinnitus per se. In disabling cases, however, solutions can be proposed to reduce the impact:
– tinnitus markers can be proposed. These are prostheses that emit background noise, moderate but permanent, which masks tinnitus and limits its perception;
– cognitive-behavioural therapies allow patients to learn to live better with their tinnitus. For example, sophrology can help them remove the negative connotation of sound, put its importance into perspective and live better with it.
– in the event of anxiety and/or depression, treatment by a therapist or psychologist, as well as natural antidepressants, such as St. John’s wort or griffonnia can be useful.