Putting it simply, there are two components to tinnitus. There is the actual noise and there is your perception of the annoyance factor of that noise. As an example, children playing outside could be highly annoying to one person and highly comforting to another. The same noise gives rise to entirely different emotions.
If it is not possible to turn down the volume of the tinnitus noise, it is very possible to tackle the annoyance value of that noise. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy aims to do that. The method was invented by P J Jastreboff and has two components:
- Counselling to reframe the negative emotions associated with tinnitus.
- Specific sound treatments to weaken the tinnitus-related neuronal activity.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinnitus_retraining_therapy for further details.
What is Tinnitus ‘Masking’?
This is the playing of certain continuous noise, usually via headphones or a small loudspeaker, in an attempt to ‘mask’ the annoying tinnitus sounds. Many sufferers complain that their tinnitus is worse in quiet environments and sound masking addresses this problem.
Typical sounds include crickets chirping, waterfalls and running water, wind noises, ‘white’ and ‘pink’ noise (various electronically crated hissing sounds!) and suchlike.
Users have found masking to be very useful. It takes the mind off the annoyance factor of tinnitus and allows for concentration or better sleep.
There are a number of devices on the market. The best approach is to try a few and find one which works best for you. They are not very expensive.
We have created a gallery of popular retraining therapy videos to get you started, click the following link to be taken to the video resources pages:
Advanced Tinnitus Therapies
There are a number of more advanced therapies being offered. One of the most interesting is offered by The Tinnitus Clinic, Harley Street. One of our Associates has undergone a complete course of this therapy.
The therapy is called Acoustic Neuromodulation and is based on the idea that the brain will adjust its neural plasticity if random tones are played around the tinnitus frequency.
The patient is assessed and their tinnitus frequency measured. A small, wearable device is then programmed to play repetitive random tones either side of the tinnitus frequency. The patient must wear the device (and small in-ear headphones) for around 6 hours a day for many months (sometimes up to a year).
They claim that 70% of patients significantly reduce their tinnitus symptoms.
We can report that the treatment is highly professional but there are two downsides (apart from the length of treatment).
1. It is expensive at around £4,500.00
2. It requires frequent visits to one of their clinics and there are only 5 in the UK.
Please see http://www.thetinnitusclinic.co.uk/ for further information of advanced tinnitus treatments.