“Tinnitus and Viruses ” By Dr. Jeff Ashforth, B.S.,D.C.

By Dr Ernst
September 19, 2023

Ringing in the ears, scientifically known as tinnitus, is a common and often bothersome auditory symptom that affects millions of people worldwide. While tinnitus can arise from a variety of factors, from exposure to loud noise to certain medical conditions, there is a growing body of research suggesting a relationship between viruses and tinnitus. In this newsletter, we’ll explore the intricate connection between viruses and ringing in the ears, how viral infections can trigger or exacerbate tinnitus and the mechanisms behind this phenomenon.

Before we explore the relationship between viruses and tinnitus, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what tinnitus is and how it manifests. Tinnitus is a perception of sound when no external sound source is present. This internal sound is often described as ringing, buzzing, hissing, or even roaring. Tinnitus can be classified into two main categories: subjective tinnitus, where only the affected individual hears the sound, and objective tinnitus, where an external observer can also hear the sound, typically due to muscle spasms or vascular abnormalities.

Tinnitus can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term), and its severity can range from mildly annoying to severely debilitating. It can affect one or both ears and may present in various forms, making it a complex condition to diagnose and manage.

The link between viral infections and tinnitus is not fully understood, but research has shed light on several mechanisms by which viruses may contribute to the development or exacerbation of tinnitus.
Viral infections trigger an immune response in the body, with the immune system working to combat the invading pathogens. This immune response can lead to inflammation, both locally in the infected area and systemically throughout the body. In the case of ear infections, such as viral otitis or labyrinthitis, this inflammation can extend to the auditory system, including the cochlea and the auditory nerve.
Inflammation in the auditory system may disrupt normal hearing processes and result in the perception of abnormal sounds, including ringing in the ears.

Moreover, the release of inflammatory molecules, such as cytokines, can affect the functioning of auditory hair cells and neurons, contributing to tinnitus.

Some viruses have a neurotropic nature, meaning they have an affinity for nerve tissues. Viral infections that target the nerves, such as herpesviruses or certain strains of the influenza virus, can directly affect the auditory nerve or the central auditory pathways in the brain.

When these neural structures are compromised by viral infections, it can lead to abnormal electrical activity in the auditory system, which can manifest as tinnitus. This disruption in neural signaling may persist even after the viral infection has cleared, resulting in chronic tinnitus.
Viral infections can be stressful, both physically and emotionally. The stress response triggered by an infection can contribute to the perception of tinnitus or exacerbate existing tinnitus. Additionally, the anxiety and worry associated with being ill can heighten one’s awareness of tinnitus, making it seem more bothersome than usual.

Several viruses have been linked to tinnitus, either as direct causes or as contributors to its development. Here are some notable viral infections associated with tinnitus: Herpesviruses, including herpes simplex virus (HSV) and varicella-zoster virus (VZV), Influenza virus, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), and respiratory viruses like the common cold and COVID-19.

Chiropractic adjustments, particularly those targeting the cervical spine (neck), can help relieve tinnitus by addressing the true cause: SUBLUXATION. This is because adjustments reduce neurological interference caused by subluxation that results in poor blood flow to the ears and dysfunction of the surrounding muscles and tissues. More importantly, Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to boost immune system function, thereby protecting you from the viral infections that can cause tinnitus to begin with.

In an era where viral infections are a constant concern, harnessing the power of nature to boost our immune defenses is gaining increasing attention. Among the array of natural remedies, three stand out: olive extract, oregano oil, and lavender oil. These potent extracts have been revered for their antiviral properties and have found their place in the arsenal against viral invaders.

Olive Extract: Olive trees have been revered for their medicinal properties for centuries. Olive extract, particularly rich in compounds like oleuropein, demonstrates powerful antiviral effects. Research suggests that it can inhibit the replication of various viruses, including the influenza virus and herpes simplex virus. Its immune-boosting properties help the body combat viral infections more effectively.

Oregano Oil: Oregano, a common kitchen herb, contains a potent essential oil with remarkable antiviral properties. Carvacrol and thymol, two of its primary components, exhibit strong antiviral activities. Oregano oil has been shown to combat respiratory viruses, including the common cold and flu, by inhibiting viral replication and reducing symptom severity.

Lavender Oil: Lavender oil, celebrated for its soothing aroma, has more to offer than just a pleasant scent. It possesses antiviral properties that can help combat viral infections. Lavender oil’s immune-boosting qualities aid in strengthening the body’s defenses, making it more resilient to viral invaders.

So, as cold and flu (and COVID) season approaches, be sure to boost your immune system by keeping your spine and nervous system healthy with regular Chiropractic adjustments and ETERNA supplements like Biofilm EO, Bioimmune and NAC.

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