Tinnitus in Ancient TimesMankind has known Tinnitus for a very long time. An early European example of someone who may have been a Tinnitus, sufferer is Joan of Arc who lived in the Fifteenth Century, but Tinnitus has been recorded elsewhere much earlier than that, and so have the differing beliefs and views about it through the ages.

Beliefs or viewpoints about Tinnitus seem to have been based on what was culturally accepted as societal norms at various places and periods in history. These included curses, messages from God, and indwelling evil spirits. Diagnoses and treatments were often based on religious beliefs, fear and superstition.

Sometimes Tinnitus sufferers were lucky to have lived where they were born, as society accepted them, but sometimes there was hardship to endure in addition to the difficult life caused by Tinnitus.

We know that Oriental views about Tinnitus in Ancient times tended towards it being a mystical experience approaching the Divine. Maybe Tinnitus sufferers were accorded the respect shown to holy men and women? This is in sharp contrast to reports of cave drawings portraying various ancient peoples beating the very devil out of Tinnitus sufferers.

Tinnitus Treatment with Herbs and Acupuncture

In India and China, where medical practices of acupuncture have existed for a long time, Tinnitus was treated with various herbs in addition to acupuncture. This seems to indicate that people in those civilizations generally regarded Tinnitus as a disease or imbalance and it was not accorded the status of an evil aberrant phenomenon.

Long ago, Egyptian Tinnitus sufferers supposedly had “bewitched ears”. They were treated with various oils and herbs in the outer ear canal. This practice spread to Europe and persisted there well into the Middle Ages. That, however, was not the only way to treat a Tinnitus sufferer in France. In the 1431, Joan of Arc, who may have suffered from Tinnitus, was burnt at the stake.

Tinnitus in Babylonian Times

In the Middle East in Babylonian times, there was a belief that Tinnitus sufferers were afflicted with a curse and were ‘cleansed’ at fountains or at rushing waters where the symptoms if Tinnitus were somehow decreased by the sounds of the water.

Around 400BCE, Hypocrites and Aristotle made a very erudite observation about Tinnitus; the sounds of Tinnitus seemed to disappear in the presence of louder sounds. This was an intelligent observation to be expected from the Father of Medicine and his famous friend. The observation was to be proved right in the 20th century, where their theory was proved to be akin to the principle of sound masking.

Tinnitus in the 21st Century

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