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Systemic Oral Enzymes for Tinnitus: A New Therapy for an Ancient Disease by Michael Schedler, M.D. from The Doctor's Oral Enzyme Health Letter - Volume 1, Number 4 As an ear, nose and throat specialist, I have treated more than 5,000 tinnitus sufferers using nutritional strategies including dietary supplements - even though in the beginning my attitude was that you cannot do very much about the condition. I suffered my own bout with tinnitus starting in 1983. It lasted for several years. I attribute its onset to poor diet and lifestyle habits, as well as a long-standing inflammatory condition.

What is Tinnitus? 
Tinnitus is derived from the Latin word, tinnera, for ringing. It's an ancient condition, once ignorantly linked to witchcraft.

Today, tinnitus affects 40 to 50 million in the United Sates population, roughly 15 percent. Some six million Americans have tinnitus to the extent that it significantly impacts their life. Fully two million Americans have tinnitus to the extent that it is disabling.

Most people live their lives reasonably satisfactorily in spite of their tinnitus, but for others tinnitus can be maddening. Imagine living with an enemy 24 hours a day that no one else hears and that the medical community in general agrees is incurable and difficult to control.

Don't feel alone if you're suffering tinnitus. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Tony Randall, Barbara Streisand, Rosalynn Carter, David Letterman, Ronald Reagan, and Steve Martin have all suffered bouts with tinnitus at one time or another, according to the American Tinnitus Association.

For some, limbic system reconditioning ("auditory habituation"), enhanced by self-hypnosis, can help to make tinnitus largely inconsequential in their own life.

Personally, I changed my diet and lifestyle. I also used a German over-the-counter enzyme preparation, Wobenzym N, which provided complete relief. I have since confirmed its effectiveness anecdotally with thousands of my patients.

Causes of Tinnitus 
Our noisy, polluted urban environment is a prime cause of hearing loss, and, unfortunately, hearing loss, whether it happens quickly or slowly, is closely linked to tinnitus. It is important, however, to understand that hearing loss doesn't cause tinitus and tinnitus doesn't cause hearing loss. It is simply that poor hearing health and tinnitus often go hand in hand.

Many experts attribute the problem particularly to occupational and environmental noises, especially sharp explosions. In about two percent of cases the cause may be a vascular lesion, carotid artery narrowing and other circulatory problems in the person's head. A significant percentage of cases, however, have no known cause.

Conventional Treatment 
The most commonly used strategy in the past 25 years has been "masking." This means covering over the tinnitus noise.

Piomeered by Dr. Jack Vernon of the Oregon Hearing Research Center, masking involves substituting a less noxious stimulus, usually in teh same tonal range that is externally produced, to cover the internally produced noise. This is much like the strategy employed by urban residents when thay turn on a fan or music for its white noise effect to mask the traffic or other sources of noise. The masking sound is typically produced from a bedside unit or in a unit worn on or beside the ear.

More recently, within the last seven to eight years, a different management strategy has been promoted by Dr. Pawel Jastreboff of the University of Maryland School of Medicine Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Center, Baltimore. The Jastreboff approach to tinnitus is to institute retraining therapy or auditory habituation. Directive counseling explains the anatomy and physiology of the auditory system as it relates to tinnitus. The goal is to recondition the limbic system to let go so the internal noise can cease to be an issue in the life of tinnitus sufferers.

Doctor's Own Bout with Tinnitus Leads to Cure 
In my own case, I changed my lifestyle, quit smoking, began exercising, and eating more consciously, cutting down on saturated fats from beef and dairy. I also was suffering inflammation in my ears and took Wobenzym N as a self-experiment to see how my body responded. My hearing in the higher ranges was significantly improved. I was noise-free within three months.

Next, I started treating other patients' hearing disorders with this enzyme formula. I found a strong link between chronic ear infections (chronic running ear), leaking fusions such as puss or clear secretions and proteins, and cases of tinnitus. I have since treated thousands of patients with enzymes with generally good results.

That is because out-of-control inflammatory processes are very much to blame for a significant percentage of tinnitus cases among my patients. The patented Wobenzym N formula consists of trypsin, chymotrypsin, bromelain, papain, and pancreatin with a small amount of the bioflavanoid rutin. Volumes have been published about this formula but, oddly, I am probably the world's leading expert on the use of enzymes in the treatment of tinnitus. In fact, I recently published an extensive paper in the German medical literature on Wobenzym N and tinnitus which will soon be translated and made available here in the United States. Because this formula attacks inflammation safely and effectively, I believe that enzymes have a sound basis for use in supporting the body's normal inflammatory processes, and for helping to relieve tinnitus in those patients where inflammation is a factor.

I started out using the formula with the worst cases and found out the effects were amazing. Patients were getting better who had suffered for years. In one case, I was working with a very sceptical fellow who had suffered tinnitus in his right ear for 17 years. He started taking the enzymes but came back complaining the noise was worse. I have since found that an intial worsening is not only normal but also a very promising reaction. Indeed, in my experience, this is the best reaction we could possibly desire. I have seen such reactions in many cases and these were truly the ones with the best resolution. An increase in tinnitus levels shows that the remedy is having an impact upon the underlying pathogenic structure. Very often this indicates, that the tinnitus may have an immunologic aspect. I have encountered this often in cases of so called "autoimmune inner ear disease." For this type of treatment, I recommend 10 Wobenzym N tablets three times daily. Once I got my patient on the full program for a few weeks, he was feeling much better and the intensity of the tinnitus decreased significantly. When he got down to a very low decibel reading, he declared, "This is an incredible breakthrough. After 17 years, I have been liberated!"

Diet and Tinnitus 
Almost all experts agree that dietary and nutritional strategies that address auditory health in all its facets are critical to providing support to tinnitus suffereres.

Reducing fat and cholesterol is extremely important. A high fat and cholesterol diet may end up reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the inner ear due to blood cell clumping. Too much saturated fat and cholesterol contribute to arterial damage in the carotid arteries in the neck that go to the brain as well as other vessels in the head. Medical case reports and studies mention cholesterol "clumps" and overall high cholesterol levels as causes or partial contributers to tinnitus. Studies throughout the 1980s confirm that high fat diets contribute to hearing loss and possibly to tinnitus.

Reducing sugar intake is important. Increased sugar intake can cause hypoglycemia. During a hypoglycemic episode, adrenaline is released by the adrenal gland. This causes vasoconstriction of the inner ear and can precipitate a tinnitus crisis.