What is Tinnitus and What Help is Available?

February 24, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, Tinnitus, Tinnitus Remedies

Tinnitus comes from the Latin word for ‘ringing’. It is an auditory condition whereby the sufferer hears noises such as ringing, buzzing, whistling or even music which does not come from an external source. The noise can be constant or intermittent, it can also change in pitch and volume. See Recognising the Signs and Symptoms of Tinnitus

Mild Tinnitus affects about 1 in 10 people in the UK at some point in their lives (NHS Choices) but for some people, approximately 1 in 200, the Tinnitus is so severe that it has a huge impact on every day functioning (British Tinnitus Association). It can affect work, social life and even relationships with other people. See Living with the Effects of Tinnitus.

Tinnitus is not a disease in itself, but rather it is a symptom caused as a consequence of ear damage such as through exposure to loud noise, or an ear infection for example. There are numerous reasons cited for the onset of Tinnitus. It is important to examine the possible causes, as although not curable itself, the symptoms can be alleviated by removing the underlying cause of Tinnitus. See Understanding the Causes of Tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a fairly common problem affecting children, adults and particularly older people. Most people experience a brief period of ringing or some other sound in their ears at some point in their lives, but generally this is a temporary occurrence. In fact in an experiment carried out in the early 1950s on tinnitus found some interesting results. The experiment involved 80 people with normal hearing. After being placed in a soundproofed room for five minutes, the majority of respondents reported hearing tinnitus type sounds, although none had previously complained of any symptoms (Deafness Research).

To determine if you or someone close to you suffers from Tinnitus, it is important to see you GP to get a proper diagnosis. See Diagnosing the Causes of Tinnitus.

There are a number of different techniques to help people with tinnitus cope with the symptoms. Deciding which treatment to adopt is an individual preference as different solutions work better on different people. It is recommended if you suffer from Tinnitus, that you explore a range of options to see which suits you the best to make your symptoms more manageable. See Different Treatments for Tinnitus.

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Distraction and Sound Techniques for Coping with Tinnitus

February 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, Tinnitus, Tinnitus Remedies

One of the key ways that people who suffer from Tinnitus are able to cope with the symptoms is through distraction and sound techniques. At night time the symptoms of Tinnitus can be worse as the sounds seem much louder, making it difficult to mentally switch off and relax enough to sleep. A range of products and techniques are available that use other sounds which are much more bearable to distract from the Tinnitus, and to prevent you from focusing on the symptoms which intensifies the symptoms further. Although the tinnitus sounds doesn’t disappear, over time the brain becomes trained to ignore the tinnitus so it no longer bothersome.

Some of these products and techniques are discussed below:

Hearing aids
Hearing aids are designed primarily to help people with hearing loss regain some or all of their hearing. They can also however be very beneficial reducing the symptoms of Tinnitus, particularly if the Tinnitus is caused by hearing loss. When a person strains to hear sounds and conversations, this can exacerbate the symptoms of Tinnitus.

Hearing aids help to minimise the effects of Tinnitus by amplifying external noises to distract from tinnitus and can provide more soothing tones. Audiologist use the latest technology to work out the severity of hearing loss, in order to try correct it. A study published by Deafness Research UK suggests that almost 40% of tinnitus sufferers surveyed could benefit from properly prescribed and fitted hearing aids in both ears.

Tinnitus maskers
Tinnitus maskers are designed specifically to help sufferers cope with the symptoms of Tinnitus. They work by producing sounds which mask or cover up the tinnitus sounds and create a soothing sound which is much more bearable. This technique is particularly useful when there is very little background noise so the symptoms of Tinnitus appear intensified, such as late or night or early in the morning. Tinnitus maskers use therapeutic sounds to effectively drown out the symptoms of Tinnitus, these therapeutic sounds are found to be much more relaxing than the range of noises caused by Tinnitus, and people find much easier to fall asleep to.

Tinnitus maskers have been around sine the 1970S in a many forms. They are now many different types available from a small device fitted to the ear which resembles a hearing aid, right up to large sounds system. These are some examples of the type of sound therapies available:

  • Small device for the ear – this creates a gentle, steady rushing noise throughout the day which masks the tinnitus sounds. The brain begins to recognise this new noise as a peaceful sound which is not distracting.
  • Sources of sources – noises such as fish tanks, small indoor waterfalls or fountains, fans or low volume music can provide a steady background of comforting noise that can be useful at night or in a quiet environment.
  • Sound generators – produce a steady background noise such as white noise or sounds of nature such as gentle waves on the shore or a gentle breeze in a forest which are just below the sounds of your tinnitus. These devices can be worn like a personal stereo or stand alone and can turn themselves off so you can use them to fall asleep to.

Night time
As discussed, night time is when the symptoms of Tinnitus are worse. Additionally lack of sleep, and stress caused by lack of sleep, also exacerbate the symptoms of Tinnitus. Some tinnitus maskers have therefore specifically been designed for sleep as follows:

  • Tinnitus masking pillows – these essentially have speakers embedded into the pillow which emit relaxing, soothing sounds. These have the advantage of not disturbing partners.
  • Bedside sounds systems – this emits a variety of natural sounds such as the sounds of the ocean or rainfall.
  • Audio books and music – the right type of audio books and music can help some Tinnitus sufferers by focusing the brain

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Therapies to Help with Tinnitus

February 13, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, Tinnitus, Tinnitus Explained

A number of different types of therapies are available to help manage the symptoms of Tinnitus. Choosing the right one for you is important. Here are some key examples of the types of therapies available:

  • Tinnitus re-training therapy – Tinnitus-retraining therapy is a therapeutic approach which effectively retrains the way your brain responds to tinnitus. This works by redirecting the brains attention from the tinnitus signal, the sufferer becoming habituated to the sounds of Tinnitus and gradually begins able to tune them out. Tinnitus re-training combines periods of listening to low levels of specially created sounds with counselling sessions. The counselling aims to increase your awareness and understanding of tinnitus and to help you to deal with the negative feelings that are associated with it. Over time, through habituation and counselling, your awareness of different sounds is reduced and you will only notice your tinnitus when you specifically focus on it. Tinnitus retraining may take several months or even years.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – CBT is a combination of both cognitive therapy (which essentially examines unwanted thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs) and behavioural therapy which focuses on your behaviour in response to those thoughts. CBT is based on the idea that your thoughts affect the way you behave and it therefore works by teaching you coping techniques to deal with any negative feelings. Through relaxation and cognitive restructuring of thoughts, CBT can change the way you think and feel about your tinnitus which can in turn help to alleviate the symptoms.
  • Complementary therapy – Complementary therapies that promote relaxation and a sense of wellbeing may be useful in relieving the discomfort and stress that tinnitus may cause. Therapies include yoga, meditation, reflexology, acupuncture and massage. Ask your GP for advice on these therapies. He or she may be able to recommend a qualified practitioner.
  • Hypnosis – Hypnosis and hypnotherapy is considered by many to be a very effective treatment for alleviating the symptoms of tinnitus – particularly if stress is exacerbating the symptoms. This works be seeking to remove the emotional reaction to the Tinnitus sounds and make the person feel relaxed instead which reduces the stress effect which has the knock-on-effect of reducing the symptoms of tinnitus. This can be practised at home using pre-recorded material.
  • Relaxation techniques – breathing and muscle relaxation techniques such as those taught the Tinnitus Clinic are found to be very beneficial to tinnitus sufferers.
  • Counselling – Living with tinnitus can be frustrating and distressing for some people. Part of the issue is the perceived lack of control the person feels they have over the symptoms. Having a greater understanding of Tinnitus and being able to talk about it helps people manage to their symptoms. Places such as the Tinnitus Clinic provide information and advice on the causes and treatments for Tinnitus. They also include counselling on behavioural management strategies and dealing with your emotions as well as practical advice on diet and exercise.
  • Sleep counselling/ Sleep Therapy – As tinnitus becomes more noticeable in a quiet environment, it may affect your sleep patterns. This can be through either preventing you from falling asleep in the first place, or repeatedly waking you up. If you are anxious about your tinnitus, this can make the symptoms worse as the pattern of negative thoughts and elevated stress levels can make the tinnitus seem more noticeable and intrusive. Sleep therapy involves reflecting on your beliefs about sleep and evaluating those negative automatic thoughts about sleep and tinnitus. The counselling process aims to change attitudes to tinnitus, and ultimately improve your sleep quality.
  • Thank you for reading this article, this website supports a product called Tinnitus Miracle which has further great information about help for Tinnitus and to find out more click here: Tinnitus Miracle