What is tinnitus?
Do you hear noise in your ears that isn?t actually present in the environment? You might hear a high-pitched buzzing, whistling, hissing, or ringing sound that is constantly present or comes and goes. Or you may hear a chirping or clicking sound. A small percentage of people hear the sound of blood flow, muscular contractions, or other noises taking place in the body near the ears.
Collectively, these experiences make up a condition called tinnitus. And if any of them feel familiar, you?re not alone! An estimated 50 million Americans experience tinnitus from all age groups and walks of life. Some people may only experience it temporarily, while others may suffer from a chronic condition. The severity of tinnitus can range from mild and annoying to extreme and possibly debilitating.
This condition may be widespread, but researchers haven?t settled on a cause for it. Tinnitus is not a disease or an illness, but it may be linked to either a physical or mental change. People who experience tinnitus don?t necessarily experience hearing loss, meaning it isn?t always connected to changes in the ears. However, 98 percent of people who do experience hearing loss also report some form of tinnitus.
How can I find relief?
There is no medically-proven cure for tinnitus at this time. As this condition isn?t an illness, medication is not an option. And though you may find products or treatment plans available online that claim to stop or ?cure? tinnitus, these are at best misleading and at worst a scam.
You may be disappointed to learn that there is no way to cure or totally eliminate your tinnitus, but that doesn?t mean you?re out of options. At The Hill Hear Better Clinic, we pride ourselves on using treatments that are both medically proven and cutting edge to help our patients hear better and live more comfortable lives. And that dedication extends to tinnitus therapy, an area in which our own Dr. Samantha Bayless specializes.
Using only treatment methods that are supported by clinical research, Dr. Bayless has launched a tinnitus CBT program aimed at helping patients learn how to manage their condition effectively. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, has proven effective in treating conditions like sleeping disorders, headaches, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. With some adjustments, experts like Dr. Bayless have successfully used this treatment method to help patients like you who experience tinnitus.
How does Tinnitus CBT work?
The concept behind CBT is that what we do and think affects how we feel. Through therapy, we can learn to adjust how we react to the symptoms we experience. While we can?t eliminate your tinnitus, we can help you change how you react to it – which can in turn improve your quality of life. We?ll help you replace unhelpful behaviors and reactions to tinnitus with beneficial ones to lessen its impact on your daily life.
In this program, you?ll also learn practical tips for achieving things your tinnitus may currently make difficult, like sleeping and focusing. You?ll improve your day-to-day functionality and reduce the distress you feel when you hear your tinnitus. With the tools you learn in this program, you?ll be empowered to lessen the effects of your individual experience of tinnitus by yourself in any situation. You may even find that these tools apply to other areas of your life as well!
What should I expect from the Tinnitus CBT Program?
At The Hill Hear Better Clinic, our Tinnitus CBT Program is primarily designed to help you work through your tinnitus using therapy. This 10 week course will give you the tools you need to cope with and manage the negative impact tinnitus has on your life. Sessions may be in person or recorded for you to watch and revisit on your own time. If your sessions are recorded, Dr. Bayless will schedule follow-up sessions to answer any questions you may have.
Some patients with tinnitus may also benefit from the use of hearing aids. If hearing loss is a factor in your experience of tinnitus, we?ll incorporate hearing aids into your treatment program.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy has also proven effective for some patients. This treatment approaches tinnitus from the angle of neuroscience using a process called habituation. When you?re exposed to a certain sound for a long period of time, your brain begins to prioritize certain sounds over others.
When working properly, this ability allows you to focus on the sounds you want to hear. For example, you can focus on the sound of your TV over your air conditioning system on a hot day or carry on a conversation in a crowded restaurant. As a part of our Tinnitus CBT program, we can use habituation to help you ?tune out? your tinnitus and cope with it more effectively.
If you?re experiencing tinnitus, don?t lose hope! With the latest treatment methods, you can manage and overcome the condition and get back to your life.
Contact us today and find out how you can get started in The Hill Hear Better Tinnitus CBT Program!