How Can I Manage My Tinnitus?
Medical treatment of tinnitus is rarely effective. No drug has yet been developed specifically for tinnitus. Generally speaking, tinnitus is often managed by educational counseling, stress reduction, sound therapy, or a combination of these techniques.
Here, we discuss some different types of tinnitus management strategies used by audiologists to help tinnitus sufferers.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) was introduced by Dr. Pawel Jestreboff in the 1990s. TRT combines counseling and sound therapy to help patients habituate their auditory system to tinnitus. Through educational counseling, TRT reassures patients that tinnitus is NOT indicative of a serious or life-threatening disease (after medical examination). If tinnitus is perceived to be unimportant, we can break the link between tinnitus and the fight & flight response, block tinnitus-related anxiety, and reduce emotional turmoil.
At our hearing clinic, Dr. Joyce Chen has been specially trained in the tinnitus retraining therapy technique.
A tinnitus masker uses an external noise source to relieve the person’s perception of the ringing sounds. A masker can be a hearing aid, an ear-level masker, or a combination device such as a hearing aid with a built-in tinnitus masker), or any noise generator (such as a radio, television, fan, etc.). The goal is to cover up or replace the perception of tinnitus with a more acceptable external sound, reducing its perceived loudness and reducing your annoyance towards the ringing. The most effective masking sounds are those that elicit positive emotional responses in the patient.
Hearing aids are also helpful to those who have hearing loss and tinnitus since most patients develop tinnitus as a symptom of hearing loss. When environmental sounds are better heard, tinnitus may be less noticeable because the ringing may move to the background. In addition, hearing aids make listening easier, reduce the strain to hear, and make life less stressful. Many newer hearing aids include an integrated tinnitus masker that generate white noise, pink noise, speech noise, ocean waves, or other artificial ambient sounds that can further reduce the perception of tinnitus.
At Okanagan Hearing Centre, we offer Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, tinnitus maskers, and hearing aids to manage your tinnitus.
Additional methods of managing tinnitus include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you become aware of distressing thoughts or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. CBT counseling sessions promote relaxation techniques that restructure the way you think about and respond to tinnitus so that the sounds are perceived to be less bothersome.
Sound therapy is the systematic use of external noise to reduce the perception of, or reaction to, tinnitus. It can take several forms to offer relief from the ringing. Sounds can be used as soothing background noise to distract our attention to tinnitus, to partially or completely mask the tinnitus, or to habituate to the tinnitus. It may significantly reduce the perceived burden and annoyance. There are many approaches to sound therapy.
There is presently no known cure for tinnitus. However, there are very good, well-established tools and treatments that can significantly reduce the perceived burden of the ringing in the ears. Talk to your audiologist and your physician, and get some relief from tinnitus!
To find out more about tinnitus, please check out our resources section that has links to other tinnitus websites and complete our tinnitus handicap inventory.
To find out more about tinnitus, please check out the following links: