Diagnosing and Treating Your Tinnitus
Tinnitus is most often described as ringing or buzzing in one or both ears.
Tinnitus affects approximately 20% of the population and can be very debilitating, depending on the severity and the effects it can have to your life. Tinnitus is not a disease, but may be a sign of an underlying health condition. Individuals suffering from tinnitus should first have a full diagnostic hearing assessment followed by a tinnitus evaluation, if deemed necessary by their registered audiologist.
STEP 1: EVALUATING YOUR TINNITUS
A tinnitus evaluation determines the presence and severity of a person’s tinnitus and the appropriate tinnitus treatment options and management strategies. A comprehensive hearing assessment is needed before a tinnitus evaluation can take place. The following components are included in a tinnitus evaluation:
- Extensive Case History
- Tinnitus Questionnaire(s)
- Tinnitus Pitch Matching (when necessary)
- Tinnitus Loudness Matching (when necessary)
- Recommendations and counselling
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STEP 2: MANAGING YOUR TINNITUS
Although there is no cure for tinnitus, it can often be successfully managed by one of, or a combination of, the treatment options below:
AMPLIFICATION (HEARING AIDS)
Even if your hearing is normal, the use of hearing aids can dramatically improve your perception of your tinnitus. Amplifying environmental sounds allows your brain to redirect it's attention towards other important sounds and away from the sound of your bothersome tinnitus.
WIDEX ZEN THERAPY
This technology uses fractal tones via hearing aids to reduce tinnitus awareness, promote relaxation, and break the tinnitus-stress cycle. Several programming options are available ensuring individual needs are met. Learn more about Widex hearing aids.
COUNSELLING AND EDUCATION
Our registered audiologists will educate you on the auditory system, the results of your assessment and how it relates to your particular tinnitus. Following the appropriate medical clearance, counselling will focus on reassurance, de-emphasizing irrational and maladaptive thoughts and habituation through the various treatment and management options.
By use of a sound machine, tinnitus sufferers can avoid silence and mask the sound of their bothersome tinnitus. Sound machines typically offer a variety of nature sounds and can be used with a pillow speaker for tinnitus management during sleep.
TINNITUS COPING STRATEGIES
- Avoid silence!
- Take concentration away from your tinnitus by keeping busy.
- Stress can have an affect on your tinnitus so try to reduce stress in your life.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Avoid or cut down on caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, ASA (aspirin) and excessive amounts of salt and sugar.
- Stay physically active and exercise (including breathing exercises).
- If you are having trouble falling asleep, try using sound therapy at a low level (relaxation/music/nature sounds). Pillow speakers are also available so that your partner will not be disturbed.
- Join a self-help group.
- Wear hearing protection in excessive noise. Loud sounds can make tinnitus louder temporarily and can permanently damage your hearing.
- Ensure your family, friends, family doctor and ENT specialists understand your tinnitus.
- Understand that if you have a hearing loss your world is quieter than it should be which allows your tinnitus to be more bothersome. Wearing hearing aids not only allows you to hear better but also masks (covers up) your tinnitus.