What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be described as hearing sounds such as a ringing, buzzing, humming, white noise in the ear in the absence of an external sound. These sounds can be continuous or irregular/erratic. It may be difficult to distinguish where the sounds are coming from exactly.
Tinnitus is related to hearing loss caused by normal ageing or exposure to loud sounds and can also be a symptom of other ear conditions such as a build-up of wax or perforated eardrum.
It can affect any age but is more common in adults.
Around six million people suffer with tinnitus in the UK.
In some instances, tinnitus can have a big impact on your lifestyle/quality of life and can cause hearing difficulties, sleep disturbance, distress and anxiety. Most sufferers experience acute/profound tinnitus for a short period of time/duration but over time it may improve and become controllable/manageable as the brain learns to filter out the sounds or ignore it. However, for some sufferers the symptoms are constant and require professional support.
How can you manage Tinnitus?
At Simply Hearing, we will conduct a full tinnitus assessment which will allow us to listen and work together with you to understand how tinnitus affects you and how we can help improve your quality of life. There is no specific cure for tinnitus however, with the correct treatment to control symptoms, it can be managed effectively/efficiently.
Once we have carried out a full evaluation, we will be able to tailor a treatment plan for your specific needs which may include a combination of therapies.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
This is a form of talking therapy which aims to change your view on tinnitus. The more aware you are of your tinnitus, the more negatively you respond to it. This therapy will focus on recognising your negative beliefs and behaviour surrounding tinnitus and improve your thoughts on tinnitus which can significantly reduce distress.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)
This type of therapy involves more intense sound therapy and long-term counselling. Firstly, an in-depth consultation will take place which will include a detailed patient history, lifestyle questions and current symptoms. Secondly, useful sound devices will be recommended which can be wearable or non-wearable dependent on what suits you best to distract the tinnitus. Finally, a strategy similar to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be used to divert the tinnitus. Combining each element of this therapy will retrain how the brain processes sound to achieve habituation of the noise.
Specific sounds are used to disguise the tinnitus awareness and reduce the distress associated with it. This is provided by sound devices such as bedside or wearable sound generators which can provide white noise or gentle sounds. CDs and downloads containing nature sounds or soothing music can also be used to minimise tinnitus. Sound therapy is commonly used alongside talking therapy.
Tinnitus can often be a cause of hearing loss and using hearing aids can effectively restore background noise. This will enable the tinnitus to become less intense as ambient sounds will cover the ringing or hissing. For patients with a minor hearing loss, hearing aids may still be beneficial as more advanced hearing aid solutions are available containing a rushing noise or white noise generators to mask the tinnitus.