How we care
It is essential to give you the time and space to express your concerns without feeling rushed. To ensure that we understand your situation and that you leave your appointment feeling fully informed, we allow 2 hours for the initial consultation.
It is equally important for us to help you understand the mechanisms underlying tinnitus. During this time we will guide you through how tinnitus is generated and heard within in the brain. It is also difficult for loved ones to appreciate your situation as tinnitus cannot be seen by others so involving your significant other/s in the session is strongly advised.
How we test
Tests are carried out for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. We complete a full diagnostic assessment and measurement of your tinnitus distress. The initial assessment is specifically designed to uncover the type, impact and level of the tinnitus. Once identified a bespoke tinnitus treatment plan is tailored.
How we treat
If you are ready and committed to being an active part of the tinnitus treatment plan, we help you implement this into your daily life over a period of time. Treatment plans can include a combination of the following; counseling, relaxation techniques, clinical mindfulness, exercise, sleep strategies, sound therapy, cognition friendly amplification, Psychology or Psychotherapy. Where appropriate, relaxation and exercise programmes are guided by leading experts in fitness, yoga and pilates. No matter what the solution, key to any treatment plan is to empower you to be in control of your tinnitus all day, everyday.
Tinnitus affects us all in different ways for different reasons. We all have different attitudes towards it and thoughts about it. In addition to helping you understand how and why you experience tinnitus, counseling aims to help you identify, challenge and change the way you perceive tinnitus in your daily life, how you behave towards it and help you overcome any related stress, fears and anxiety.
Counseling and support is usually provided by our Audiologists and where appropriate, we will include guidance from the Psychologist.
Mindfulness and meditation is a practice that enables our ability to change the way we respond to life’s challenges and contributes to healthy cognitive function. Simply put, we can use our thoughts and our breath to positively influence our mental & physical physiology. Learning how to manage the stress associated with tinnitus and reducing the cognitive load is the most powerful way of ensuring that life is fun, fulfilling and creative. Mindfulness and meditation are generally practiced as a means of improving mental, emotional, cognitive and physical health. You can learn more about clinical mindfulness and meditation at Cubex here.
Integration of some form of regular and gentle physical activity helps with tinnitus relief by alleviating stress, improving sleep and of course promoting general well-being. The practice of Yoga and Pilates has many physical, emotional, and psychological benefits. Where appropriate, guidance from our supporting clinical yoga therapist and is incorporated into the plan.
Sound Enrichment is a large area with many options. It primarily involves use of sound to help you decrease your awareness of the tinnitus, shift focus away from it, reduce any related stress and provide relief. This can include use of music, fractal tones, sound generators, masking devices or even environmental sounds. It could also involve use of more cutting edge, structured desensitization sound therapy tools, use of the soundscape delivered to the brain by hearing aid technology or use of music designed specifically for the management of tinnitus and hyperacusis. Various apps and devices designed to promote relaxation are currently available.
Finding relief through sound is a very personal and it can provide significant benefit when used as part of a treatment plan.
In the meantime, you can get a feel for sound therapy by trying this useful relief sounds app:
This app puts you in control of your tinnitus relief sounds. Finding the right relief sounds is a matter of personal choice. Choose from different sound types, and decide which give you the best results. You can also add sounds from your music library, so you can have everything in one place, ready to go.
Organise your sounds
With the app, you can organise sounds and create a practical sound plan that works for your life and your tinnitus. What kinds of sounds are helpful varies from person to person.
Help to relax
Relaxation exercises may help you relax and stay calm. The app provides two relaxation exercises; a breathing and a muscle relaxation exercise.
Download the tinnitus relief sound app:
If you currently use Oticon Alta 2Pro Ti, relief sounds can be streamed from the tinnitus sound app can directly to your hearing instruments via Streamer Pro.
For many of our patients, use of amplified sound has proven successful for providing tinnitus relief during the daytime. Sound enrichment provided by high fidelity daily wear hearing aids can be a huge help if you also experience hearing loss.
Lyric is the world’s first completely invisible hearing aid which can be worn for extended periods of time providing tinnitus relief 24/7, during the daytime as well as at night, when you need it most for a restful and healthy sleep.
Placed deep in your ear canal, close to the ear drum, it can’t be seen from any angle at anytime nor would you feel it in your ear. It is used successfully by our patients for all daily activities, including showering, exercising and sleeping. No daily insertion or removal, battery changes or maintenance.
Issues with sleep are often associated with tinnitus. However, tinnitus is not necessarily a direct cause of sleep disturbances.
Problems with sleep are often linked to other tinnitus exacerbating factors, such as stress, diet and stimulants. In such cases, practicing good sleep hygiene can assist with providing a more a quality, restful sleep.
Sleep hygiene is the practice of managing behaviour that precedes sleep and actively controlling factors in your diet and the environment that may interfere with sleep.
Relief for sleeplessness
Sounds around your home can be used to mask the tinnitus example: electric fans, music, radio – including the white noise static that is created between stations.
We also work with a variety of bedtime sound generators that produce soothing sounds such as water running, the sound of the ocean and other calming nature sounds that are used to mask the tinnitus. These generators are small and compact and most can be placed under your pillow at night, thereby preventing any chance of disturbing the person next to you.
Extended wear hearing aids
The use of amplified sound via hearing aids is extremely helpful for masking the tinnitus. However, traditional hearing aids need to be removed when sleeping. Once the sound is removed, the tinnitus becomes more noticeable at a time when you need relief the most.
Extended wear hearing aids like the Lyric are placed into your ear canal, close to the ear drum by one of our qualified practitioners. Due to the deep and precise placement – Lyric can’t be seen from any angle at anytime nor would you feel it in your ear. It can be worn 24/7 for all your daily activities, including showering, exercising and sleeping.
Although Lyric was originally not designed to alleviate tinnitus, many of our Lyric patients are experiencing significant relief from their tinnitus during the daytime and of course, whilst asleep so you can feel safe and sound and have a restful sleep.
There is a lot of information regarding tinnitus and its treatment in the media – good and bad.
If you are looking for information and trying to self-help, a good place to start might be through reputable tinnitus self-help books and guides. The following are highly recommended to our patients. You can easily purchase this on Amazon or if you have trouble finding the book, let us know and we will source it for you.
. Tinnitus information and relaxation guide; Tyler, R.S.; Baguley,D, McKenna L; Carroll,J (2014) Soundcure Inc.
.The Consumer Handbook on Tinnitus; Tyler, R.S. (Ed). (2008) Auricle Inc., Sedona
In the meantime, you can try this at home:
- Find ways to alleviate stress – Stress is a common factor known to aggravate tinnitus. Tinnitus affects the brain in many ways. Not only does it trigger the auditory centre, it also affects the emotional control centres of the brain. This can result in the release of stress hormones. The greater the stress levels, the more significant the perception of tinnitus and the more of a problem it becomes.
- Try cutting down on your salt intake – Be aware of foods with high salt levels. Sodium can exacerbate the effects of tinnitus.
- Medication – If you are taking any medication or using supplements, take some time to understand the side effects as certain medication can exacerbate tinnitus.
- Avoid excessive intake of alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, certain painkillers and stimulants in general.
- Start a diary – Be mindful of when your tinnitus improved or became more aggravated and what you were doing around that time. This would be a very useful tool to integrate into your treatment plan.
- Manage your soundscape – Turn on the radio when you’re home alone or listen to some music.
- Protect your auditory system – Avoid loud environments. If this can’t be avoided, use appropriate and effective ear protection.
- Use a sound generator or sound pillow at bedtime.
- Bedtime is downtime – Avoid watching television or using the iPhone for social networking or e-mails. These are stimulating activities and not restful. A good use of your smartphone/iPhone/tablet/iPad is to use it as a sound generator to provide a constant, relaxing and non-stimulating background sound.
- Engage in some sort of gentle exercise routine during the day – Regular physical activity helps with stress reduction, improving sleep and of course promotes general well-being.