At Broadmead and Oak Bay Hearing Clinics, we have helped hundreds of people successfully manage their tinnitus.
It is through years of experience and training that we are able to properly counsel people based on techniques common with the Tinnitus Retraining Therapy model, as well as mindfulness based tinnitus reduction. A combination of these protocols allows our Audiologists to be successful in managing tinnitus.
For years, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy has been the gold standard in treating tinnitus. This is a non-invasive, non-medical treatment that does not involve any surgery or medication and has no side effects. It is based on retraining the subconscious parts of the brain to ignore the sounds of the tinnitus.
Jon Kabat Zinn's mindfulness based stress reduction program is a very popular technique in terms of managing tinnitus. Research has shown that people with tinnitus who employ these techniques have more improvement in the perception of their tinnitus than those who do not.
In our clinics, we use techniques from both of these methods to customize a program that suits the needs of each individual tinnitus patient. We are all unique, which is why we construct a unique program designed to improve your specific challenges.
What to expect at Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
At the first visit, you will meet with an Audiologist who will:
- Review your case history.
- Ask how your tinnitus is affecting your daily life.
- Conduct a diagnostic hearing assessment in the sound booth
- Share results of the hearing assessment with you.
- Discuss a treatment plan.
The hearing assessment rules out physical reasons for the tinnitus, such as a broken bone in the middle ear. The assessment uncovers the nature of the tinnitus and whether it is related to underlying hearing loss or other conditions such as high thyroid, stress, anxiety or muscle tension. If there is a medical red flag condition, an immediate medical referral will be made.
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus is one of those conditions that can have a multitude of causes. Some of them can be:
- disorders of the cervical vertebrae (neck)
- an under active thyroid
- cardiovascular disease
- exposure to excessively loud sounds
- high blood pressure
- overproduction of ear wax
- ear infections
- acoustic tumors
- a tumor on the auditory nerve
- degeneration of the bones in the middle ear
- age-related changes in the inner ear
- use of a prescription drug or other medications (such as high doses of Aspirin)
- systemic disease
- head trauma
Can tinnitus be treated?
YES. That is important to remember. Many people feel hopeless after being told they have to live with it or "get used to it". We use techniques common with tinnitus retraining therapy as well as Mindfulness based tinnitus reduction to assist in managing tinnitus. One of the cornerstones of treatment is to use sound therapy in the form of an ear level sound generator.
Remember, the mantra for tinnitus is "avoiding silence". For it is when it is quiet that people become more aware of their tinnitus. The sound therapy helps to bring up the level of the background noise that is very easy on the ear. That is to say that we use a sound that the ear can quite easily habituate.
Think of the example of the person who buys a house beside the train track. The first night they awake in the night second guessing themselves because the sound of the train was so loud they thought it was going to come through the house. The brain has an incredible capacity to habituate auditory signals like in the example above. I bet you could imagine those home owners saying "we don't even hear it anymore". They do hear it. At the same level. The difference is that the BRAIN doesn't attach the same importance anymore. It is based on habituation that sound therapy works.
We successfully use sound therapy and a wide variety of counseling strategies to help people gain control over their tinnitus again. If you are ready to meet with an Audiologist about your tinnitus, call or email today to request an appointment.