Research and studies by respected institutions have shown there is a strong relationship between tinnitus and a whole range of psychological conditions - commonly known by the acronym SPADE.
The presence of one or more of these factors - Stress... Panic disorder... Anxiety... Depression... or, Emotional disorder - have been shown to play a significant role in;
a) whether a person will be affected by tinnitus,
b) how severe their condition will be, and,
c) how effectively they will respond to treatment for it.
And now we have come to understand that most forms of tinnitus actually stem from the brain - rather than the ear - I think this is easier for most of us to accept why this would be.
If you are someone who is more susceptible to stress, anxiety or depression - your brain will process information in a different way - and draw different conclusions - to someone who is not.
Michael gets so anxious about taking his driving test that he is physically sick while waiting at the test centre for the examiner to arrive. Frank, who is taking the same test, with the same examiner... immediately after Michael - is totally relaxed about it.
Sue is so stressed because she has just been made redundant from her job - and she worries everyday about what the future will bring. Tracy has also been made redundant from the same factory as Sue, but is confident she will get another job after she has enjoyed an extra couple of months off work - funded by her payout.
These people are in exactly in the same position as each other, but their mind interprets the same information - a very different way. Some may see it as a massive difference in our internal "fight or flight" mechanism - which probably evolved as far back as caveman times.
So is stress, anxiety and depression a major cause of tinnitus?
Stress and depression doesn't directly cause tinnitus - but it has been shown to predispose a large percentage of sufferers to the condition - and also that they are much more likely to be affected more severely by the symptoms ie, higher levels of noise and distress.
It seems clear that the "emotional" part of our brain is critical in the experience, suffering and relief from tinnitus.
The fact that some anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants are some of the most effective medications to reduce volume of noise - backs up these findings even further.
It is actually "good news" that Stress, Panic Attacks, Anxiety, Depression and Emotional disorders are major contributing factors to many peoples tinnitus - because these are all very treatable conditions. If your tinnitus has been brought on or exaggerated by SPADE - then your recovery may be easier to achieve.
Just as people are able to overcome their addiction to smoking, their phobia of spiders, or their fear of public speaking - you can retrain your brain to reduce or even eliminate the controlling effect that tinnitus has on your life.