Neurological Issues Caused My Tinnitus
This is my personal story. Even though I didn’t intend to use psilocybin for tinnitus, it ended up completely silencing it. It was a happy accident that using psilocybin to address a headache condition also silencing the ringing in my ears. My condition, hemicrania continua, is a type of headache that is continuous and causes swelling and tearing in the eye on one side of the head. In my case, it also caused a clogged feeling and loud ringing in one ear. It made balance a bit difficult and caused some trouble with spatial awareness.
Tinnitus is usually caused by malfunctioning or damaged auditory nerves, often the result of inflammation from noise damage or other trauma. In my case, it was probably related to inflammation from the hemicrania continua.
The ringing was irritating, but it did not even top of my list of problems back then. The head pain trumped everything else, so I wasn’t even intentionally targeting the tinnitus when I started dosing with psilocybin.
Psilocybin Made The Ringing Louder- Then Silence
During my first couple of doses, the ringing became very loud. I imagine that this would probably distress someone looking to rid themselves of sound and would probably provoke a lot of anxiety. But for me, I was simply happy to have a few hours without the head pain. That sound became quite loud, melodic, and changed in tone and pitch. It started to harmonize with whatever music I chose for the session. It would get extremely overwhelming, like a roaring waterfall, and then turn soothing like those meditation music bowls. I focused on that sound almost like it was a meditation aid.
And then, just like that, it was gone after several sessions. I can only hear it now when I put on a pair of exceptionally good noise canceling headphones and try to concentrate to recall it. I use it as one of my favorite meditation cues now. But I cannot keep the sound going without absolute concentration, it falls below my perception as soon as I lose concentration.
I cannot tell you exactly what happened here. How psilocybin helps with headaches and nerve pain is still not well understood by the medical community. I still have a strange sensation on the affected side of my head, it feels different, just not painful. It is not a permanent “cure” since I still have to take maintenance doses every few weeks to keep the pain away. My head pain creeps back if I go too long in between doses, but the tinnitus has not been so quick to return. I imagine it would if I let the situation get bad.
Researchers Don’t Bother With Microdosing Trials
Researchers have chosen not to use microdosing in any of clinical trials involving psilocybin for headache or other medical issues. It is probably because the amounts used in microdosing do not affect the receptors enough to achieve significant changes. I can say with confidence that microdosing does not work for my headache, and it does not work for most people I know with headache conditions. Is this an indicator for how effective it would be for tinnitus? That is anyone’s guess. I just do not think that microdosing is the best idea here since it just does not have enough of an impact.
Psilocybin For Tinnitus- The Whole Process Was Counterintuitive
This whole process was counterintuitive. I would have never figured this out on my own, and without the positive impact on my head pain I probably would not have stuck with the program long enough to see an impact on the tinnitus. Using psilocybin for tinnitus is effective, but it is not an easy regimen to follow. I would have never guessed that the sound would have to get louder, turn into something beautiful, and I would have to learn to control it and even love it before it would fade away. The experience of synesthesia produced by the sounds during a psychedelic experience is truly unique.
Auditory hallucination is quite common with psychedelics. It can be a ringing in the ears, clicks, echoes, a roaring sound, whispering, rustling, beeps, even indescribable sounds. Tripping is funky. Sometimes it complements the music you are listening to and sometimes it is like a music all on its own. I practice a type of meditation during my psychedelic sessions where I focus on the sensations and direct them. I found that I can use certain techniques to hear more of the sounds that I like, and to amplify what generates the most pleasant sensations. The louder the auditory hallucinations in my tripping experience got, the more silent my “real life” experience became.
What Really Happened?
What actually happened? Did I develop magical psychedelic powers to control the quantum power of sound? Highly unlikely. My best guess is that the repetitive dosing stimulated some plasticity, and I became desensitized to the sound. Psilocybin does stimulate neuroplasticity, and it is also a strong anti-inflammatory agent. I am happy with my newfound silence and I’m grateful that one solution unwittingly brought me to another.
My Job At The Retreat
After my experience with resolving my head pain with psilocybin, I began to work on this retreat project to help other pain patients learn to use psilocybin. You can read about how we approach tinnitus at the retreat here.