Tinnitus causes perception of sound in one or both ears or in the head, in the absense of any external sound. It is often referred to as “ringing in the ears”, although some people hear hissing, roaring, whistling, chirping, or clicking. The ringing can be intermittent or constant-with single or multiple tones-and its perceived volume can range from subtle to shattering.
Ayurvedic name for Tinnitus is “Karnanada”. According to Ayurveda, tinnitus in not a disease but a symptom of prana vayu disturbance. Prana vayu is a subdosha of vata which resides in the head and governs all higher cerebral functions.
The reasons which cause vitiation of Vat dosha are also causing this disease. Thus lack of adequate sleep, tired nerves due to increased worries, incessant talking, excess fasting, excess exercise, sudden shock/grief/fear, excess and difficult to digest cerals in the food, excess bitter medicines/vegetables etc are some of the reasons for tinnitus. Depletition of dhatus as a result of excess indulgence in sex is also another reason.
Samprapti ( Pathogenesis)
Sushruta says when vayu covered with doshas taking faulty passage get located in sound carrying channels,then the patient perceives various types of sound;this disease is known as pranada or Karnanada(ringing in the ears).
Vata principle governs movements in the body like circulation, digestive movements, sensory movement etc. It is made of air and space elements .If vata gets vitiated air and space elements get increased in physiology and disturb all the bodily functions of movements. This leads to pressure in the head , nervous system, dryness in the senses, tinnitus, loss of sleep, dry scalp, dry skin , tendency of unstability, anxiousness, nervousness etc.
Another similar condition is karnasveda(sound in ears).Here Vayu aggravated by exertion, wasting, intake of rough and astringent food and also after head-evacuation and excessive use of cold associating with Pitta, kapha and Rakta gets located in the passage of ear and thus produces sound of bamboo in the ears.
The difference between karnanada and karnaksveda is that the former is caused by single vata with perception of various sounds while the latter is produced by vata associated with other dosha and with flute’s sound.
As tinnitus is a vata disorder the Vata balancing therapies and herbs are beneficial.
Vata influences the movement of thoughts, feelings, prana flows, nerve impulses, and fluids in the body. Hence Vata balancing Food Plan is recommended.
Breakfast is usually desirable.Use hot cereals such as cream of rice or wheat or any other breakfast that is warm, milky, and sweet.
Take warm food, moderately heavy in texture, add butter and fat. sweet and sour tastes are diserable.
Reduce dry foods and bitter tastes. Use warm or hot water and drinks. Raw nuts and nut butters.
Useful Spices: cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger, cloves in moderation.
Consumption of caffeine, nicotine, or cocaine can disturb the prana vayu leading to tinnitus hence avoid it.
• Nasya: Vacha (Acorus calamus) oil nasya, has a powerful effect in calming and balancing the Prana vayu……..
• Abhyanga Massage) Shiroabhyanga(head massage) and padabhyanga(Foot massage), wherein the soles of the feet are massaged with warm sesame oil, has a specific effect in calming the prana vayu………..
• Karnapooran:(Ear drops)To calm the vata in the ears, ten drops of warm sesame oil is applied daily to each ear. The oil is allowed to remain in the first ear for five or ten minutes, then that ear is cleaned, and …………………..
• Kawala & Gandush: Gargling of medicated oils or certain liquids/Kwath is Kawala.It strengthens the nerves of eyes and ears and also pacifies aggravated vata.Gandush is Withholding medicated oils or certain liquids in the mouth for a certain period of time