DISCLAIMER While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this Journal, the New Zealand Tinnitus Association Inc. the authors and the editors expressly disclaim liability to any person for the consequences of anything done or omitted to be done by any such person in reliance upon any part of the contents of this Journal.
The views expressed in this journal are not necessarily the views of the Editor, or the Executive of NZTA Inc. The New Zealand Tinnitus Association lnc. does not claim Copyright of this material. However, we caution against copying of this journal without reference to the source.
The New Zealand Tinnitus Association Inc Patron: Mrs Joan Frances Saunders QSM, MA (Hons)
Founder NZTA and International Tinnitus Support Assn
THE JOURNAL OF NEW ZEALAND TINNITUS SUPPORT GROUPS
and Meniere's Support
New Zealand Tinnitus News
Vol. 15 No 4
Board of Governors
Editorial, Aims, Counselling
Coping with Meniere’s Disease
Complementary & Alternative Therapies
Do you live with someone who has Tinnitus
NZTA BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Chairman Greg Gable (07)577 0232
Treasurer Jeffrey Spector (09)524 2131
Hon. Secretary Netta Smith (09)449 1019
Members Neville Brandon
Supported by New Zealand Freemasonry
EDITORIAL Welcome to 2009 and hasn’t it been a wonderful summer so far. The cicadas are now singing here in my garden, and for a week or two there was only one, but now the garden is buzzing, just like my tinnitus!
However, we must keep positive and enjoy the blue seas and skies while they last, and hope that this year will bring, if not a cure, at least some ways of living with our tinnitus, which make life easier for everyone – ourselves, and our partners who live with the problems our tinnitus causes us without, I believe, really understanding what is going on in our heads.
1. Assist tinnitus sufferers in coping with tinnitus 2. Encourage health professionals to provide support and treatment services for sufferers 3. Promote community awareness of tinnitus and the preventable dangers of excessive noise causing some forms of tinnitus and deafness 4. Assist in any research and prevention programmes 5. Promote exchange of information with overseas tinnitus associations COUNSELLING The New Zealand Tinnitus Association offers counselling to NZTA members and non-members who experience tinnitus, Meniere disease and/or hyperacusis. Counselling is available for the cost of a donation: cheques to be made payable to the Association.
Mrs Joan Saunders, QSM, MA (Hons), a qualified psychologist and tinnitus counsellor is available as follows:
NORTH SHORE CITY & AUCKLAND Please phone Mrs Saunders on (09)473 7297 for telephone counselling or for an appointment.
OUT OF AUCKLAND Telephone Mrs Saunders at (09) 473 7297. If you receive an answer phone message, please leave your name, telephone number and the district you are calling from and Joan will return your call. If Joan answers your call directly she will ask for your details, tell you to replace your receiver and will then return your call, thus saving you the expense of a toll call. PLEASE SPEAK CLEARLY.
Just a thought! For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.
If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.
Coping with Meniere’s Disease
Raymond Hines, the owner of Meniere’s.org. recently had an article published in the Spring 2008 issue of the “Hearing Health” magazine by the Deafness Research Foundation. They asked him to write about how he coped with the vagaries of Meniere’s disease and it is being reprinted here in the hope it can also help you, or at least give your friends and family an idea of what it’s like to battle with Meniere’s disease. I'll never forget the day my world literally turned upside down, sideways, and then some. It was my first vertigo attack and even to this day - more than ten years ago - I can vividly remember being thrown into an emotional and physical tornado. I remember the violent spinning as if on a carnival ride gone awry in the worst way possible, the seemingly endless vomiting, and my bewildered mind crying for the spinning to please just stop.
Eight hours later the world finally came to a still and I was able to get back on my wobbly feet. At the time, I shrugged this off to a very bad case of food poisoning, not knowing back then that this was just the beginning of a lifelong struggle with Meniere's disease. Over the next few years I would be plagued with the Pandora's Box of ailments that came with it - violent vertigo attacks, further loss of hearing and balance, loud ringing in the ears, heavy brain fog, and the ensuing emotional trauma resulting from dealing with it.
alter your lifestyle where you can’t do the things you used to love and have taken for granted, such as riding roller coasters or evens flying on planes for some. Plus your mind starts to question a lot of things that come with any life changing event – agony, sorrow, anger, despair, “why me?”, and wondering how to deal with this the rest of your life.
It truly does seem life it’s the end of the world for many of us that have to deal with Meniere’s and it is perfectly understandable given all the horrors that come with it.
Yet, the good news is there are thousands of us out there that have learned to deal with it and even live with it somehow. Although Meniere’s is considered incurable, there’s lots of ways you can try to manage it the best you can.
The key is to keep trying to find that right combination of factors that can help you, be it certain medications, or specific lifestyle changes
Do not let Meniere’s control your Life!
Above all, a positive attitude can go a long way!
Dealing with the physical part of Meniere’s is bad enough, but dealing with it emotionally can be even harder, imagine the impending fear and anxiety that pours in when you feel an imminent vertigo attach coming – for many, panic attacks kick in at the same time, further worsening the situation. Imagine lying in bed riding out a battle “royale” going on in your ears and balance system. You’re totally helpless and just trying to hand on for dear life, hoping against all odds that it’d be a mercifully short ride.
Then there’s the damaging long term effects of having to deal with Meniere’s disease that inexorably changes your life. There’s the fear of going out into public places, even grocery stores whose floor patterns and row after row of aisles can make one feel woozy due to being overloaded with visual stimulus. There’s the need to Such as reducing the amount of sodium intake, or even just getting in better shape health wise by exercising more. Due to the idiopathic nature of the disease, many different things work for many different folks, so it’s important to explore every option available by doing your research and discussing with your doctor.
It’s also very important to come to terms with your disease emotionally and mentally. Do not let it control your life! At times you can feel all alone in the world with it, so it’s essential that you find a support group that can include your friends and family to help you cope with Meniere’s. There are also plenty of places on the internet to find a group that suits you and provides you with the support you need. There’s not greater feeling than finding a like group of fellow sufferers who understand exactly what you are going through that embrace you, give you a virtual hug, and then share their ways of coping with a chronic illness.
Above all, a positive attitude can go a long way, especially once you’re past the “why me?” stage. Knowing that you’re not going to let this thing beat you and that you’re still going to try to live your life to the fullest can be an enormous mental boost in coping with Meniere’s.
I’m a good example of a success story when it comes to living and coping with Meniere’s. Early on, it was a big struggle trying to learn how to deal with it mentally and physically. I was mired in a period of mourning and self-pity and I was letting the disease dictate my life. I even almost lost my own business due to an inability to run it. Fortunately I decided to plough forward with my life and take it back. My doctor and I researched and found the best ways to control my symptoms. I changed my attitude to one of “I cannot” to “Do the best I can”, and as with my profound hearing loss since birth, treated Meniere’s as just another obstacle to work around. As a result my life is as normal as it can be, my business has flourished, and more importantly, I live a happy and fulfilling life.
Reprinted from the USA web site: meniere’s.org
Remember your’e not alone
Acknowledgements to MSGV Whirligig December 2008
PHONAK Hearing Technology
“TINNITUS IN THE 21ST CENTURY”
is now available a the special price of
$12.50 including post and packing
To order write to:
Mrs J Saunders
PO Box 334-007
North Shore City
enclosing a cheque made out to
Please make sure your name and address is included with your order.
> - Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often.
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.
Complementary and Alternative Therapies This information is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always see your GP/medical professional.
What are Complementary and Alternative Therapies? Alternative and complementary treatments are known as 'holistic' as they treat the whole body, not just one part. The aim is to eradicate the cause of the problem, not just alleviate the symptoms.
It is only possible to give a very short description of some of the most common therapies/treatments here.
Acupuncture is part of ancient traditional Chinese medicine, using fine, one-time needles inserted at precise
points on the body to stimulate channels of energy running beneath the skin. The aim is to restore the body's natural balance and improve the overall well-being of the whole person. it may be used alongside conventional medicine. As individual response may vary, so may the number of treatments required.
The therapeutic quality of essential oils from flowers, herbs, trees and fruit, has been recognised for centuries
in many countries. Aromatherapy uses these concentrated oils to promote relaxation and well-being. Massage is the most beneficial method of application, although the oils can be used in other ways, adding them to a bath or sprinkling some on a handkerchief to promote relaxation. Many people with tinnitus find aromatherapy a great help.
The oils are widely available, but care should be exercised as they are extremely concentrated. If you use them at home, always make sure you follow the instructions.
All our organs and cells need nerve information to function correctly. Much of this information is passed
through the spinal cord. Chiropractors aim broadly to correct the alignment of the spine and other joints of the body, to restore nerve function, to alleviate pain and promote natural health. Chiropractic treatment uses gentle manipulative techniques.
A deep relaxing therapy during which therapists use their hands as "listeners" to find and release resistance in
the tissues, bones and fluid of the body. The therapy works on what is known as the craniosacral rhythm which arises in the core of the body, in the brain and spinal cord and the fluids that bathe them. The purpose is to encourage the nervous system and its control mechanisms to achieve a greater balance and promote healing from within.
"Homeopathy" is Greek for "similar suffering". Its aim is to treat "like with like", in the way that a vaccination works.
The remedies are administered in such extremely diluted forms that they cannot cause any side effects, or become addictive. If you visit a homeopath, be sure to give details of any medication or supplement you are taking, or if you have had any recent dental treatment. Although homeopathic remedies are widely available, and are mostly harmless, it is wise not to take them without supervision, some, if taken in large quantities, can be damaging.
Herbal Medicine (Herbalism) Herbal medicine is one of the oldest forms of medicine known. Our ancestors found, by trial and error, the most effective plants to heal their illnesses and a large proportion of the world's population still relies on herbs for health. Many of the pharmaceutical drugs we use today originated from plant constituents which were subsequently synthesised in the laboratory. Medical Herbalists are trained in the same diagnostic skills as orthodox doctors, but they look fqr the underlying cause of the problem and treat that, rather than just the symptoms.
Essentially, there are two forms of hypnosis, both very different. The first is sometimes called "suggestion 'treat
ment" and consists of implanting behavioural suggestions in the patient's mind. The second is the use of hypnosis in psychotherapy (hypnotherapy) to aid recall in order to find and understand the cause of the patient's problem, and nowadays is probably the most widely practised form.
Massage enhances the sense of well-being; it increases self awareness and self esteem; it relieves stress and ten
sion; it improves circulation of blood and lymph. Generally it makes you feel better. There are a number of types of massage, from very gentle to quite vigorous, some of which are described in these pages.
This treatment is concerned in diagnosing and correcting faults in body mechanics (the musculo-skeletal system)
ensuring that it is functioning efficiently, with minimum wear and tear. Osteopathy is now an accepted method of treatment, either on its own or in conjunction with medical or other treatment. It is a system of manipulation intended to re-align any structural deviations or abnormalities, but it can also involve stretching and massage. People who consult an osteopath for back pain, joint or muscle problems often find improvement in other quite unrelated conditions after treatment.
Reflexology is a method of treatment using massage to reflex areas found in the feet and hands. In the feet, there
are reflex areas corresponding to all parts of the body and these areas are arranged in such a way as to form a map of the body in the feet. Reflexology does not claim to be a "cure all" but numerous different disorders have been successfully treated by this method including migraine, breathing disorders, digestive and circulatory problems, back problems, tension and stress. The treatment is relaxing and vitalising.
system. The therapist channels this "universal life energy" through his or her hands which are placed in different positions over the recipient's bodv. there is no pressure involved. The whole body is treated not just the parts where
Shiatsu, Japanese "finger pressure" therapy, is a natural healing discipline springing from the same ancient oriental
principles as acupuncture. Like acupuncture, Shiatsu works by stimulating the body's vital energy flow (known as "ki" in Japanese). Physically this has the effect of stimulating the circulation and the flow of lymphatic fluid, helping to release toxins and deep-seated tension from the muscles and stimulating the hormone system.
The following are just three exercise techniques that can be learnt and put into practice to help cope with the stresses and strains of modern life.
This technique aims to improve mind and body functions and help to prevent and alleviate, amongst other things: pain and stress, breathing problems, depression, anxiety and tension related problems, through changing the way we think about our every day life movements and posture. It is taught on a one-to-one basis and usually requires approximately 20 lessons.
Tai Chi is an exercise art for people of all ages and is perfect for combating stress, increasing flexibility, improving circulation and maintaining all round good health. These days the healthcare aspects are foremost and principally revolve around the long, slow and graceful form of movement. Energy building, breathing and postural exercises are also taught. The calming effect of Tai Chi has led it to being described as "moving meditation".
Yoga is reputed to be some 6,000 years old and to have originated in India. Yoga is the ancient Indian Sanskrit word for "union" - its aim is to unite mind and body to work in perfect harmony. It is based on postures, breathing and meditation. The postures work on the body and are adaptable to each person's ability. Breathing exercises and meditation result in a calm mind and a relaxed body, giving a peaceful and contented feeling and an ability to face and overcome problems without worry and stress. Once you have had initial instruction, it is easy to continue at home.
Will any of these therapies help tinnitus?
The answer is that there is anecdotal evidence that some people have found some relief from one or other of the therapies described, however, there is no guarantee, it's a case of trial and error and depends on how much you are willing to spend. If you decide to try any of them, keep an open mind and be positive. None of the treatments or regimes should carry any risk, in fact they should help your tinnitus simply because your overall health improves. A good therapist will spend time talking to you about yourself and your problems, time which your overworked GP can't spare, and this in itself can be very beneficial.
Remember to tell the complementary/alternative practitioner if you are undergoing any orthodox treatment, or taking any medication. With acknowledgements and thanks to Quiet Ireland (ITA Newsletter No. 50)
TINNITUS AND MENIERE'S DISEASE BOOKLET Tauranga Hearing Association has produced a new booklet
"Tinnitus and Meniere's Disease" This concise, comprehensive and informative booklet is available for
$5.00 per copy, plus $1.00 packaging and postage.
If you would like a copy of this booklet, please send a cheque to:
Tauranga HearingAssociation Chadwick House 250 Chadwick Road Greerton Tauranga
Make sure you stipulate how many copies you would like, and don't forget to add another dollar for postage/packaging.
The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read the piece straight through, and you'll get the point.
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.
Do You Live With Someone Who Has Tinnitus? Much is written to help people with tinnitus, but not so much about those who live with, or are close to them. In this article Eileen Hewitson, from the Birmingham & District Tinnitus Group, has some useful suggestions,
It isn't very easy to be an onlooker - it can sometimes be very hard for non-sufferers to understand what is going on. If you feel frustrated by your inability to help, just put a little distance between yourself and the person with tinnitus for the time being.
Try not to show your frustrations to the one you are trying to help, as this may make them feel guilty about spoiling your enjoyment. Try to keep some sense of humour. Try to laugh with, not at the sufferer. Laughter is a great healer.
Here are a few suggestions that may help you:
Try to be supportive and don't expect progress to be rapid. Learning to cope with something unwanted, that is there all the time, does take time, but it will be achieved eventually. Remind yourself and the sufferer of this.
Try not to reproach the sufferer with spoiling your life. This will only create extra anxiety and make them feel guilty.
Discuss your feelings about the problem, talk positively and try to find ways to resolve your differences.
Try not to allow your own life to become seriously disrupted - it's one thing to miss a night out at the pub - it's another to stop seeing family and friends because the person with tinnitus finds it difficult. If you do, this may cause you to become resentful of the sufferer for spoiling your life and this resentment could become a problem in itself. Try instead to support and encourage the person with tinnitus. People with tinnitus need reassurance that they are still loved, this is very important because it's easy to lose confidence. A squeeze of the hand or a little hug can work wonders!
Try to give praise when the sufferer makes progress, don't criticise when progress is slow. People with tinnitus know when they aren't coping very well.
Try not to make them feel like an outsider because they have tinnitus, keep seeing your friends and family and going out, make it a challenge, something to aim for. Try to encourage new pursuits, hobbies and interests, especially if old ones are no longer enjoyable. You may find something new that interests you too.
Notice when the person with tinnitus seems better, more their old self, and see if there's a pattern (don't forget the onlooker sees most of the game). Is the tinnitus less of a problem after exercise - a walk, a game of bowls, after watching a comedy programme, a film, a nature programme, after a period of relaxation, a day out, listening to music etc. Then suggest such an activity when the tinnitus becomes distressing.
If the person with tinnitus belongs to a self-help group, go to the meetings with them, read the newsletter, talk to members of the group.
Finally, find someone you can talk to about your side of the problem, remember 'a trouble shared is a trouble halved'.
With acknowledgements to the British Tinnitus Association. Winter 2008
The following recipes have been copied from the Meniere’s Group of Victoria’s journal “Whirligig”. Although I have not found that reducing salt has helped my tinnitus (I don’t use much salt anyway) some of our members find that it does help to reduce salt and caffeine – and certainly the recipes are tasty, I have tried them. Happy eating!!!
Recipes from Iris Lentils in Baked Potato
Pumpkin with Gingered Coconut Cream Sauce
1 kg unpeeled pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/2 teaspoon unsalted curry powder.
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives OR
1 small onion grated
2 teaspoons corn flour
2 teaspoons water
Cut pumpkin into even slices and put in single layer in microwave dish
There is no need to add water when cooking pumpkin in microwave
Cook about 8 minutes or till tender. Do not overcook
with a handful of small very hot chillies - my personal
3 cups sugar
750ml bottle of white vinegar
375 g sultanas
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
Wearing rubber gloves (do not touch face when handling
chillies) chop off stems and remove seeds if desired
(I do not) and roughly chop and put into blender
with sufficient vinegar to facilitate grinding the chillies.
Put all ingredients into a large saucepan and bring
to boil. Simmer gently until sultanas and chillies are
very soft. Cool and puree in blender (I use a stab
blender in the saucepan as it is not as messy)
Pour into sterilised bottles and seal.
Night Entertainment Most nights when I get into my bed
Fabulous noises come into my head. Sometimes a train roaring into a tunnel
And often a boat that's honking its funnel.
A man on the stair. Rain on the roof,
A herd of buffalo all on the hoof.
The cat at the window, a mouse in the floor, A rat-a-tat postman at the door.
A waterfall falling. A hurricane blowing,
Men in the fields, doing the mowing.
An orchestra playing. The clang of a bell, The noise of Goblins fighting in...(hell).
The telephone ringing, who can that be?
The kettle is boiling, it's now time for tea. Then, in the morning, as I sit up in bed,
My noises all tell me, "at least you're not dead
'Cos if you were dead you wouldn't hear us So why on earth do you make such a fuss?"
By Jane Williams aged 80 (in 1966) written 42 years ago by an elderly lady whose attitude towards tinnitus is still encouraging today. With acknowledgements to the British Tinnitus Association Autumn 2008 .
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO MARRY? (written by kids) (1) You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming. - Alan, age 10
(2) No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with. - Kristen, age 10 (good one)
WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?
(1) Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then. - Camille, age 10
(2) No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married. - Freddie, age 6 (very wise for his age)
HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?
(1) You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids. - Derrick, age 8
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?
(1) Both don't want any more kids. - Lori, age 8
WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?
(1) Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough. - Lynnette, age 8 (isn't she a treasure)
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATES of NZTA Inc. This membership has been created to provide professional contacts for tinnitus sufferers. It is intended that individual professionals (Audiologists, Otologists, GP's etc) or professional groups with an interest in tinnitus, will join as professional associates at $50 for one-year’s subscription. In return, professional associates will be entitled to have their name and location published in the NZTA News. Those interested in professional association with the NZTA should send details (name, affiliation/profession, location) along with subscription fee to: The Secretary, NZTA, P O Box 334-007, Sunnynook Post Shop, Auckland 0743.