How Tinnitus Works
Tinnitus is very common and affects millions of people around the world. Tinnitus is a phantom auditory perception and this auditory sensation is not related to an external sound. Although there is no cure for tinnitus, patients can successfully learn to manage their tinnitus thus limiting emotional effects.
Because each person’s hearing thresholds and tinnitus characteristics are different, they require a tinnitus assessment and hearing test to help in the identification of the auditory, limbic and neural pathways which may contribute to the problems with their tinnitus.
After assessment the most appropriate tinnitus treatment strategy and management is recommended and if the patient agrees to proceed, the treatment techniques used are designed to interact, interrupt and desensitise their tinnitus and give long term relief.
The clinical goal is to have the patient feel more relaxed and reduce the impact of tinnitus on their lives.
Tinnitus Treatment and Management:
- Targets the neurological, audiological and psychological aspects of the patient’s tinnitus.
- Management is customised to the patients individual tinnitus and hearing profile.
- Treatment is comprehensive and non–invasive.
- Treatment is aimed at retraining or reversing the connections between
- the auditory, limbic and autonomic nervous system to achieve change.
- Management is monitored by Attune specialist audiologists.
Even when tinnitus is no longer an issue for a patient, they will generally report being aware of tinnitus a small percentage of the time. However, they will also report that tinnitus is no longer a major disturbance in their life.
Possible Causes for Tinnitus
There are many potential causes of tinnitus making each individual case unique. An undiagnosed medical problem exposure to loud noise, ear problems, viral infections, some drugs and hearing loss may contribute to the patient’s tinnitus.
While tinnitus typically begins with a hearing loss (59 to 86% of tinnitus sufferers also experience some form of hearing loss (Jastreboff 2004), it is not exclusively an auditory problem. As tinnitus is a cycle of audiological, neurological and psychological factors, a multifaceted approach is required to manage and treat tinnitus awareness and disturbance. The Attune program targets all aspects of the patient’s tinnitus and the impact on their quality of life.
If your patient has one or more of the following they may be suitable for Tinnitus Treatment:
- Tinnitus with or without associated hearing loss. Experiencing sleep disturbance due to tinnitus. Finding it hard to relax due to tinnitus.
- They feel their tinnitus is out of control.
- They feel their tinnitus is interfering with their ability to hear. Sensitive to moderate or loud sounds.
- Tinnitus is still disturbing after hearing aid fitting.
What are the treatment steps?
Step 1. Tinnitus and hearing assessment by Attune specialist audiologist.
Step 2. Explanation of the auditory and neurological pathways relevant in understanding tinnitus.
Step 3. Appropriate Tinnitus Management model recommended.
Recruitment? Hyperacusis? Phonophoba?
Should your patient at any time report the following a diagnostic hearing test (PTA) should be performed.
At times the following are associated with tinnitus. Pure Tone Audiometry (PTA) is recommended.
Recruitment is when a patient with a hearing loss perceives sounds as “getting too loud too fast” or being louder than they really are to the point of discomfort. Recruitment is always a consequence of a sensorineural hearing loss.
Hyperacusis is the super-sensitivity to normal sounds and may be associated with a hearing loss. Often found in children.
Phonophobia is the fear of normal sounds resulting in super-sensitivity to them.
If you or a loved one is suffering from tinnitus, contact Attune Hearing today and see to one of our audiologists who will be able to advise the best treatment plan for you.