What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a ringing, hissing or roaring sound which can be heard in one or both ears and can also appear to come from the middle of the head. It is a symptom rather than an actual disease. The most common cause of tinnitus is damage to the nerves in the ear.
What are the Treatments for Tinnitus?
Most people who experience tinnitus can naturally habituate to it and learn to live with the condition. For others, tinnitus can have a serious impact on their quality of life. Constant anxiety and fearful attention to tinnitus can set up a vicious circle:
Perceived increase in tinnitus = More worry = Greater tinnitus.
This circle can be broken by appropriate counselling, therapy, support and management.
There is no simple cure for most causes of tinnitus but in many cases tinnitus can be helped by a variety treatment options:
Digital Hearing Aids
Digital hearing aids, in particular open-fit digital hearing aids can help with tinnitus management by compensating for a personís hearing loss as well as masking the uncomfortable noises affecting tinnitus patients. Up until now previous hearing aids blocked the ear and left the patient with a strange sense of a hollow resound. The new open fit hearing aids are so thin that the hollow sensation is eliminated while still allowing sounds from the outside to pass into the ear.
Also known as sound enrichment, involves listening to a range of therapeutic sounds. Many people find that they are more aware of their tinnitus in a quiet environment and sound therapy helps by filling this silence. Sound therapy distracts a person from listening to their tinnitus which in turn makes it less noticeable and less intrusive.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT has been identified as a new and effective therapy in treating tinnitus. CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts control our feelings and behaviours. Tinnitus patients thoughts often reflect despair, hopelessness, loss of enjoyment, a desire for peace and quiet and beliefs that others do not understand. Negative thinking brings about behavioural changes that reinforce a personís awareness of the tinnitus. CBT can help break this negative cycle and give people resources to make positive changes. In other words, while the tinnitus may still be heard, attention is rarely given to it and emotional acceptance is achieved.
Along with open fit digital hearing aids, we provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which can help people change their response and lower their awareness of tinnitus.
What should you do if you think you have tinnitus?
Tinnitus is rarely an indication of a serious disorder, but you should make an appointment with your GP if you think you may have it. Alternatively you can phone and make an appointment with one of our professional Audiologists.
We specialise in:
Ear Examination and Investigation
Adult and Children Hearing Assessments
Tinnitus Assessment and Therapy
Newborn Hearing Screening
State of the Art Digital Hearing Aids