What is Tinnitus?
We all have tinnitus – a sound in the head which can change in pitch and loudness. Common sounds heard are ringing, hissing, a pulse, “motors” and “cicada’s”. Many people become irritated, angry or even desperate, when tinnitus becomes elevated.
What Causes Tinnitus?
There are a number of causes of raised tinnitus e.g. upper airway conditions, head or neck injury, noise exposure, stress, fatigue, alcohol, some medical conditions and medications. Sometimes, there are more than one tinnitus “trigger”. Our reaction can vary as well e.g. two people may have raised tinnitus after working very long hours together – Dylan doesn’t think about it further, while Peter begins to question it, and feel concerned. Days later Peter reflects “it’s still there … I can’t get rid of it … do I have a serious problem in there?”
How is Tinnitus Assessed?
The Art of Hearing Tinnitus treatment begins with 3 important steps: i) A thorough history; ii) audiological assessment of hearing and ear health; and iii) your account of the troublesome tinnitus – it’s onset, how it sounds, how it affects you, what may have caused it and what helps?
These 3 steps can reveal medical or other issues which may be causing or contributing to the tinnitus. If so, we will refer to your Doctor. Once these have been investigated, addressed or ruled out, we will plan a treatment program with you (if intrusive tinnitus remains).
How is Tinnitus Treated?
It is important to tailor each treatment to the individual. Why? Because the cause of tinnitus and the circumstances of the person bothered by it vary greatly. Ingredients may include reducing the stress response linked to tinnitus (which may in turn, reduce it’s loudness), consideration of risk factors in lifestyle and health, and “masking” of the sound with apps and other devices. We may also refer you to other professionals in the community to partner on your program. At the outset, a clear understanding of the cycle of tinnitus and it’s management can greatly help reduce anxiety. The Art of Hearing Tinnitus programs are based on the evidence-based approaches such as Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Managing Both Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
Hearing loss is one of the tinnitus risk factors. This is because straining to hear can raise the normal level of tinnitus we all experience. Hearing aids can help in 3 ways – i) reduce hearing strain in the brain; ii) amplified every day sounds can take the annoying “edge” off tinnitus; and iii) many hearing aids have a “tinnitus masker”, i.e. a sound profile which pushes the tinnitus sound to the “background”.
Outcomes of The Art of Hearing Tinnitus Service
Research and clinical experience shows most people gain tinnitus relief from Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Outcomes of the Art of Hearing service include: helpful referrals as appropriate, personal skills to manage intrusive tinnitus, practical steps and tools to reduce it’s noticeability, reduced stress and perceived tinnitus loudness.
How can you seek help if you are affected by Tinnitus or Hearing Loss?
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