I have updated the tinnitus page of my website to more accurately describe what happens in your Active Habituation consultation.
Below is a copy of the information. If you're struggling with your tinnitus and are ready to tackle it, please get in touch and we'll get to work. Share it with someone who would benefit or bookmark it for later if you're not in the right place.
“ACTIVE HABITUATION” CONSULTATION FOR TINNITUS
Tinnitus Consultation / Tinnitus Habituation Crash Course. The session can be delivered in person or via a video call.
Tinnitus sufferers are often unhelpfully told by their GP or ENT consultant that ‘there’s no cure’ or ‘you just have to live with it’. People turn to the internet, where there is no shortage of people waiting to take their money over and again in return for untested potions or pills. Back in the national health service there is a postcode lottery, with quality and content of services dependent entirely on how advanced your local NHS Trust is.
There are no “cures” for tinnitus, but there are so many ways in which the distress caused by it can be helped. Evidence tells us that Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT - the traditional backbone of NHS treatment) is not actually helpful in reducing tinnitus distress, however the counselling part of it is. TRT unwittingly helped tinnitus sufferers by helping them understand their tinnitus, but the masking devices are little more than a distraction that proves disappointing.
General counselling doesn't work well for tinnitus as the counsellor doesn't understand hearing or tinnitus. They cannot answer your questions or take away your medical/audiological concerns.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be excellent for a section of catastrophoic thinkers, however if you don't understand your tinnitus, how can you replace your negative thoughts with 'true' thoughts? You need to learn about tinnitus then you can be realistic about it, and habituate.
When you habituate, the tinnitus signal (I don’t call it sound because it isn’t – that’s the first thing we’ll talk about!) is minimised until it sits in the background or fades away to the point where it doesn’t bother you. It's not cured, but it's not bothering you any more so you don't need a cure so badly. It's difficult to imagine when you are in the grip of tinnitus distress, but millions of people have constant tinnitus that doesn't bother them in the slightest. I will actively help you to habituate to your tinnitus.
This process of habituation is something that 98% of people successfully do themselves. It can take months or years after they develop tinnitus. Often it stops and starts, with a person having tinnitus that doesn’t bother them, but then it ‘kicks up a gear’ and all of a sudden they are deeply distressed by it. It is a serious condition that can make that 2% of people feel depressed, anxious, even suicidal.
Audiologists in the NHS are not generally trained how to help tinnitus during the traditional 3-year degree. Hearing Aid Dispensers in the High Street can be even less knowledgeable. It is a tricky subject! Medics (including the ENT consultants) avoid discussing what they cannot cure. Audiologists know that hearing aids can help, but they do not have training to help beyond that – and they certainly don’t know what to do with the 20% of tinnitus patients who don’t have a hearing loss and the even larger quantity who have hearing loss insufficient to require aids.
Tinnitus distress should not be seen as an opportunity to sell hearing aids*, and I am against those who market themselves as having 'tinnitus services' simply to do so. Ethically it is terrible, as sufferers will waste time, energy and money seeking help, only to come away with expensive hearing aids that do not tackle the problem.
This gap in service is where I have focussed my attention. I am primarily an audiologist who rehabilitates hearing loss, but I specialise in tinnitus – it is my interest and passion.
I have had tinnitus myself for over 20 years, along with my increasing hearing loss. I am married to Dr James Jackson, who is an academic psychologist who has researched tinnitus, starting with his PhD over 20 years ago. I consult James when working on my Active Habituation process to ensure that you are benefitting from the very latest knowledge and research. I call it Active Habituation because I'm intervening and actively teaching you how people successfully habituate to their tinnitus. I will teach you everything you need to know and we will shortcut to the end of the natural process of habituating.
Two hours is really all it takes to get tinnitus sufferers on the road to recovery. I do a follow up for (my) peace of mind and to make sure that the messages were taken on board, this is included in the price.
Your Active Habituation appointment includes all the elements in the section below.
I have been running this consultation in its different forms for 3 years now, and it is a pleasure to receive feedback – not least because it lets me know I’m on the right track. My latest reviews on Google Maps.
Please contact me to book, or if you have any concerns before booking just get in touch.
YOUR ACTIVE HABITUATION APPOINTMENT INCLUDES:
A HEARING SCREENING
(not available via video call)
OPINION ON YOUR TINNITUS CAUSE AND TYPE
It's not always possible to be sure, but in most cases we can answer the question of why you have tinnitus.
A TAUGHT EDUCATIONAL MODULE ON TINNITUS
The whats, hows and whys
TECHNIQUES FOR MANAGING TINNITUS
Including a printed handout
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SESSION
PERSONAL DISCUSSION ABOUT HOW YOUR TINNITUS AFFECTS YOU
PERSONAL PLAN FOR HOW TO TACKLE YOUR SPECIFIC ISSUES
MEDICAL REFERRALS IF CLINICALLY APPROPRIATE
FOLLOW UP BY PHONE OR EMAIL, UP TO 30 MINUTES.
You'll be contacted after 2 weeks to see if you need refresher info and find out how you're getting on.
* NHS hearing aids can help tinnitus in exactly the same way as private hearing aids help, by providing access to ambient noise and restoring missing frequencies. You can ask for general advice on NHS hearing aids during your tinnitus consultation, or you can book additional hearing services with Hearing and Tinnitus Care.