By Erin Seamer – Audiologist Hearing Help Newport
Tinnitus is a condition where individuals experience a sound in the ears or head, when there is no external sound present. Because tinnitus is subjective, the sound varies between individuals and can be described as a ringing, buzzing, crickets, ocean-like whooshing, thumping, or pulsing sound. Tinnitus is a symptom not the disease, and it is a very common complaint for those with hearing loss, noise exposure and other disorders of the ear.
Tinnitus affects around 14% of people worldwide. The prevalence increases with age, affecting about 10% of young adults, 14% of middle-aged adults and 24% of older adults. (Jarach et al). Unfortunately about 2% of the population suffer from severe tinnitus.
IF I HAVE TINNITUS WHAT SHOULD I DO?
For those individuals who are suffering from tinnitus, a hearing test is highly recommended. This is especially true if your tinnitus is only in one ear, pulsative (like a thumping), or started suddenly. In some cases further medical review may be required and a hearing test provides vital information to other professionals (such as General Practitioners or Ear, Nose and Throat specialists) to better understand your tinnitus and hearing.
Some sufferers especially those with more severe tinnitus benefit from a comprehensive assessment of their tinnitus. Hearing Help offers a 90-minute tinnitus assessment starting with a full tinnitus history taken by an experienced Audiologist. Following a standard hearing test, aspects of your tinnitus will be measured such as the pitch and loudness match, masking levels, and loudness discomfort levels. Finally, you can expect a comprehensive discussion regarding your tinnitus, an explanation of the neurophysiological model of tinnitus, exacerbating factors and possible treatment options.
Clinically proven tinnitus treatments are available, treatments are not a “cure” but for many sufferers an Audiologist can reduce the impact and disturbance of tinnitus. The first step is a comprehensive assessment and discussion regarding tinnitus (point #2). Many sufferers feel more in control of their tinnitus, that they can manage it better with improved awareness and understanding.
Some tinnitus sufferers benefit from hearing aids, masking devices or the Neuromonics tinnitus treatment with directive counselling. These treatment options feed a prescription of sound back into the auditory system. Initially the sufferer experiences relief from a masking sound that comfortably covers their tinnitus. Long term the treatment habituates the sufferer to their tinnitus, they notice it less frequently and it is reduced in severity.
As an example the Neuromonics tinnitus treatment with directive counselling is clinically proven to improve 86% of cases (success considered to be 40% reduction in disturbance of tinnitus). Davis et al 2008
I have worked with tinnitus sufferers and Neuromonics since 2005, while it is not the right solution for everyone, I find it is a valuable resource when treating tinnitus, especially more severe cases.
If you are looking for answers about Tinnitus, what it is, what is making it worse and how an Audiologist can help, call us at Hearing Help for a comprehensive tinnitus assessment.
Visit us at Hearing Help at Newport Marketplace Shopping Centre (Tenancy M01, 10 Lakeview Promenade, Newport QLD 4020, located inside Newport Physio rooms). Call the clinic on Ph:07 3214 3641 or email email@example.com to book.