There are simple things patients can do that may alleviate some of the problem. It doesn’t have a direct impact on the causes or biology of tinnitus, but it can provide strong peripheral benefits that make living with tinnitus feel much easier.
If you have hearing loss, there is a good chance that a hearing aid will both relieve your tinnitus and help you hear. This is not to suggest that the tinnitus is removed by the amplification or even suppressed (although it is in some cases). Augmenting the reception and perception of external noise can often provide relief from the internal sound of tinnitus.
Focus on the patient’s emotional reaction to tinnitus. These approaches have consistently been shown to reduce tinnitus-related distress, anxiety and depression, and to improve the overall quality of life for patients.
The goal of behavioural therapies is to help patients control their behavioural reactions to tinnitus, and thereby reduce the perceived impact of the condition.
Patients who place high attention on their tinnitus and who lack emotional coping techniques are generally more depressed, more distressed, and have higher perceived handicaps related to their condition. Behavioural techniques provide skills to reduce internal attention to tinnitus, improve copping, and devise alternative thinking and behaviour patterns that distract patients from their tinnitus. The plan for therapy is to increase pleasant activity, learn relaxation techniques, and add cognitive skills to replace negative (or unhelpful thinking).
Some people suffering from tinnitus use wearable devices that emit either a broad-band noise or a narrowband noise centred around the perceived pitch of the tinnitus.
Because it is well accepted that the distress related to tinnitus is highly correlated with hearing loss, negative emotions, fear, and stress, it is important to address these issues.
Most people who experience tinnitus go through a natural process of habituation. Habituation can be thought of as the process of “ignoring” (or becoming accustomed to) a stimulus without exerting any conscious effort. From a psychological perspective, it is defined as the adaptation, or decline of a conditioned response, to a stimulus following repeated exposure to that stimulus.
To achieve habituation, most therapies utilize a combination of acoustic stimulation and counselling.
Available treatments, and a brief description of their characteristics follow. The treatments are divides into: acoustic stimulation; counselling and stress management and combination approaches.
Other helpful websites: Australian Tinnitus Association.
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Menai NSW 2234
(02) 9520 4774
Kirrawee Family Medical Practice
455 President Avenue
Kirrawee NSW 2232
(02) 9544 4466
(By appointment only)
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