A Different Approach
There are many devices, herbs and treatments out there that are being touted as tinnitus cures. The evidence for herbal cures is nil. The evidence for devices to cure tinnitus is slim to nil. Treatments such as Tinnitus Retraining Therapy have been found to be no more useful than information (this was the subject of my research project).
Audiologists are not taught about tinnitus enough, and have to go out and discover the information. I had half of one lecture devoted to it in a 3 year degree. Luckily I am married to a psychologist who researches it, and have a well-developed understanding and a thirst for knowledge and education. I have also had tinnitus myself for over 20 years - and although it is there daily, I have habituated to it successfully and am not bothered by it. This is an important point: it is possible to have 'severe' (i.e. chronic, loud) tinnitus and not be bothered by it.
Audiologists and GPs tend to dislike tinnitus because there is no 'cure' that can make it disappear completely. However millions of people have habituated to it successfully and are seldom bothered by it. My approach is to take what those people learnt to do naturally, and teach it to everyone who is still suffering.
With this in mind, I have developed a single 'consultation' appointment which you can purchase even if you are not a hearing care customer. During a two hour period in a comfortable environment, you will find out everything there is to know about tinnitus. You will have the opportunity to ask questions, we will relate the information given back to your own experiences. We will check your understanding to ensure you completely understand what has been covered. The key points of the lessons are below.
Lesson One: Tinnitus is Not Sound
Tinnitus is your sensory reception gone astray. It is not a sound. It doesn't have sound attributes such as volume, and it does not have an external source that cannot be controlled (like a car alarm).
We do not know precisely where tinnitus arises and we don't need to, but it is thought to be caused by misfirings from a damaged cochlea (inner ear). These false signals are received like a sound, and interpreted as sound, but they are not physically sound.
Lesson Two: Sensory Information is Subjective
The amount of attention paid to the sensory signals dictates how intense or prominent they are.
If you are wearing socks/shoes, take a moment to think about them. As you do so, you should become aware of the feeling of them, even if you didn't notice them since early morning. If you concentrate on a sound in your home it will 'come forward' and become more prominent. Senses have to work in this way, because if we were aware of everything, all the time, we would not be able to function in our noisy, bright world.
Lesson Three: Sufferers Suffer More - But Their Tinnitus Isn't Necessarily "Worse"
There are a lot of people with tinnitus. Some are crippled by it, and some are not. I have constant tinnitus, but I am not bothered by it, and forget it most of each day. That seems a contradiction, but it is true. It hasn't always been that way. The main difference between sufferers and those who have 'habituated', is not the severity of their tinnitus (personality differences explain much of the differences), and there is nothing to stop a sufferer from habituating.
Lesson Four: Two Types of Attention
So attention feeds tinnitus, but there is more than one type of attention. Conscious attention is easy to resolve with a few simple-to-learn exercises in how to divert your brain from inflating the tinnitus signal. You can indeed control this and you can learn to make the tinnitus go away or vastly reduce in 'volume', a lot of the time. The other type is subconscious, and this is more tricky.
Lesson Five: The Stress Response Influences Your Subconscious Attention
When a human is stressed out, they go through biological changes known widely as the 'stress response' and 'fight or flight' (biologically - the HPA Axis and the SAM Axis). One of the consequences of this is that sensory input is magnified. Subconsciously, the brain gives priority to sounds and sights, and makes you more aware of your tinnitus. Although not a genuine sound, the tinnitus noise becomes larger than life, and can drown out environmental sounds if focussed on. This is trickier to control, but it can be influenced greatly, and reducing stress is the best thing you can ever do for tinnitus.
Lesson Six: You Can Change Your Tinnitus
Success in tinnitus interventions/treatments comes about because the person gets a thorough understanding of tinnitus, realises they can change it, realises it is not harmful, and learns to manage it. There is absolutely *nothing* different about you. You can do that too, it might just require a shift in your perception and learning which technique is best for you. You will need to frame your goals and be willing to listen and learn.
This is a brief look into the topics covered. We will cover techniques to start managing your tinnitus today, and discuss the basis of other therapies you may be interested in exploring. At the end of the session you should be bursting with ideas and positivity about how you are going to tackle your tinnitus! Current consultation pricing is in the Prices tab. Your consultation fee also includes a follow-up session by email or phone.