£250 “Active Habituation” consultation for Tinnitus
The Active Habituation Tinnitus Consultation is a crash course in how to adapt to tinnitus. It is best delivered in person but is also offered via 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, almost unwittingly, helped tinnitus sufferers by helping them understand their tinnitus, but the masking devices are little more than a distraction.
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 (CBT) can be excellent for some catastrophic 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 before you can succeed with CBT
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 feel the need for a cure. 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 am one of them, and 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 first develop tinnitus. Often the tinnitus signal stops and starts, and it’s not bothering the person, but then it ‘kicks up a gear’ and all of a sudden they are deeply distressed by it. The tinnitus distress 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 (RHADs) in the High Street can be even less knowledgeable, or they can have out of date information. It is a complex subject. Medics (including ENT consultants) often avoid discussing what they cannot cure. Audiologists know that hearing aids can help, but they do not have training to help you 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 percentage 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 root cause of the problem.
This gap in service is where I have focussed my attention. I am primarily an audiologist who rehabilitates hearing loss through hearing aids, but I specialise in tinnitus. Taking the methods people use to successfully habituate to tinnitus and sharing them with sufferers is my research focus, it is also deeply interesting to me and I find it very fulfilling work.
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 is active in tinnitus research, starting with his PhD over 2 decades ago. I consult with James while working on my Active Habituation content, which ensures you are benefitting from the very latest knowledge and research. I call it Active Habituation because I'm intervening and actively showing you how people successfully habituate to their tinnitus, how they think and feel about it. I will teach you everything you need to know, with the goal of shortcutting to the end of the natural process of habituation.
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 are on Google Maps and I encourage past patients to leave a review.
Please contact me directly to book or discuss your concerns.
* NHS hearing aids can help tinnitus in exactly the same way as private hearing aids help, by providing access to ambient noise, restoring missing frequencies and reducing the brain’s need to generate a tinnitus signal. You can book additional hearing services with Hearing and Tinnitus Care if desired. NHS aids are available via your own GP, and if you are over 55 you may be able to self-refer in some areas. I highly recommend hearing aids for hard of hearing tinnitus patients. If private aids are something you are considering I recommend seeing an audiologist who is sensitive to the specific needs of tinnitus sufferers.
Your Active Habituation appointment includes:
A hearing screen
An air conduction hearing test to establish if hearing loss is present and if it needs further investigation (not available via video call)
The cause of your tinnitus and its type
It's not always possible to be sure, but in most cases we can answer the question of why you have tinnitus and likely prognosis.
A taught educational module on tinnitus
The whats, hows and whys of tinnitus.
Techniques for managing tinnitus
Including a printed handout on how and when to use them.
Questions and answers session
Patients often say the most valuable part of the session was having all their questions answered, so they can move on from nagging doubts about their tinnitus.
Triggers and Effects
Personal discussion about how your tinnitus affects you and what causes it to “spike”.
Personal action plan
A personal plan for how you are going to tackle your specific issues
A referral letter for your doctor will be generated if required, for medical tests/interventions or suggested NHS therapies such as CBT.
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.