Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tinnitus, caffeine and me by Michelle Styles

My ears ring. In other words I have tinnitus.  The ringing started about four years ago or so and I was certain I was suffering from hearing loss.
 My younger sister has a hearing aid because of her cookie bite hearing loss. She has trouble with the sound in the middle register. It is apparently genetic.  My family, in particular my husband, complained that I wasn’t always hearing them. This could be because I was in another room and working...
I had my hearing checked. Yes there was some loss but nothing to require action. Fast forward two years (more complaints and the ringing increasing), and I had it checked again. Again not enough hearing loss to warrant a hearing aid. In fact, a hearing aid would make things worse.
However this time when I explained about the ringing in my ears, the audiologist suggested I try giving up caffeine. I was desperate enough to try.
Now I will freely admit that I drink too much tea and coffee. And then there is chocolate. Okay I was addicted. The headache the first few days was incredible and nothing would touch it, but the ringing in my ears was significantly diminished. Within a few days, it vanished completely from my left ear. I also noticed that I was able to concentrate much more and was much more productive. My hearing also improved.  While some ringing in my right ear remains, it is much less and on occasion, it does go.
It is somewhat of a sigh as I do like the taste of coffee and tea. But the taste of coffee is nothing to the silence. It is fantastic not to have a high pitched whine all the time. So I shall remain caffeine free for the time being.
Tinnitus can have many causes. So if you do experience prolonged ringing in the ears, it is best to see a health professional. Caffeine, alcohol, excessive salt and strong cheese can cause it as well as excessive noise, too many painkillers and a host of other things. It is a nuisance but it doesn’t mean you are necessarily suffering from terrible hearing loss. And things can be done. Sometimes it is as simple as going caffeine free.
In general people as they get older should get their hearing test once a year, just like you would do with your eyes. Hearing aids are constantly improving and many people who have attended loud concerts in their youth will suffer from some sort of noise related hearing loss. Equally there are things you can do if you suspect your hearing isn't  as good as it once was. Insisting that you are in the same room as someone when they speak to you is a start!
In other news:

Michelle Styles with pixie cut
The cover for my latest Viking --Taming His Viking Woman arrived in my inbox last month. I am terribly excited about the book as it is my Shield Maiden book. The cover gods decided to give me a female model with short hair again and I realised that I must be channelling heroines with pixie cuts. Unfortunately, my hair looks best in a pixie cut. I have known this since I was about three. I would love to be someone who looked best in shoulder length hair but I’m not. So I have given into fate and am now back in a pixie cut.
Sometimes, you just have to go with what the universe is whispering…

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty, and intimate historical romance in a wide range of time periods. Her next novel, Taming His Viking Woman will be published on 20 January 2014. You can learn more about Michelle and her books on


Christina Hollis said...

That's fascinating, Michelle—I don't have tinnitus, but my father suffered terribly so I know how you must have felt. If ditching tea and coffee can improve productivity, then I'm going to give it a try. Love your new cover, and the pixie cut, by the way!

Michelle Styles said...

The improved productivity is a huge bonus. I have been shocked really but that I was almost having caffeine as an IV drip...
Thus far everyone loves the pixie cut. It is annoying when my mother is about such things.

dstoutholcomb said...

my tinnitus was the result of a motor vehicle accident in which I sustained a concussion. caffeine reduction hasn't helped mine, so I don't bother. I've had it for more than 12 years.