Here, Fiona Idriss, our senior audiologist with a special interest in tinnitus and sound sensitivity, gives a summary of tinnitus management options offered in her clinics.
In the UK, estimates suggest that 1 in 8 people suffer with tinnitus. Tinnitus is any sound we perceive that does not have an external source. Most of the millions of people experiencing this irritating symptom have what is called “subjective tinnitus.” This appears to originate from unwanted electrical activity along the hearing pathway.
Whooshing, ringing, hissing or constant tones
This is commonly, but not exclusively, associated with hearing loss. If you seem to hear whooshing, ringing, hissing or constant tones within your ears or head then you are experiencing tinnitus. Another rarer form is “objective” tinnitus. This can sometimes be heard by the examining clinician – often a clicking or pulsing sound. “Musical” tinnitus may also be experienced when music, songs or other “meaningful” sound may be heard repeatedly.
Searching for a cure
There are so many different causes for tinnitus that the search for a cure is really testing researchers worldwide.
The main reason that tinnitus causes distress is because it alerts our fight, flight and freeze response. We often liken it to the difficulties we have when we suffer with chronic pain. It can affect our emotions, physical sensations, concentration and sleep pattern. Some people appear to naturally get used to tinnitus, even though it can be very invasive and loud. Others feel they need to seek help and support and use tinnitus management strategies.
Your tailored tinnitus management plan
There are a range of tinnitus management options at the Hearbase tinnitus and sound sensitivity clinic, based at the BMI Chaucer Hospital in Canterbury. We thoroughly assess your hearing and how the tinnitus affects your life.
Together, we build a tailored management plan that encompasses the following:
- Understanding your tinnitus and how it affects your mind and body
- Using sound therapy we can advise on the correct use of sound enrichment technology and provide specialised devices that can be worn to help ease the impacts of tinnitus. Many people find this helps them to draw attention away from tinnitus when trying to concentrate or getting to sleep.
- Expert advice on the latest hearing technology where hearing loss is present. This can be combined with tinnitus sound therapy programmes
- Education on stress reduction, relaxation and mindfulness-based meditation techniques
- Advice for managing sleep which is vital for your health
- Using cognitive behavioural interventions to help change your response to the tinnitus
- Providing ongoing support and referral to doctors and other specialists when we feel the underlying cause of the tinnitus needs to be investigated
- Information on support services for those struggling with tinnitus and general well-being.
Contact me on 0800 028 6179 to arrange a free tinnitus telephone consultation
Tinnitus can seem so overwhelming when it begins and it often takes many weeks – and sometimes months – to gain access to NHS clinics, so we accept self-referrals to our service and will usually see you within a couple of days of your contacting us.
Many of our clients feel more able to accept and manage tinnitus after the initial consultation and information exchange. It is always advisable to contact your GP to discuss your tinnitus and is also worth looking at the amazing helpline and website run by the British Tinnitus Association at https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/
If you need help and advice with tinnitus ring Hearbase today on 0800 028 6179 to arrange a free telephone consultation with Fiona.