Tinnitus Management

We have recently added Tinnitus Management as a service for our patients. We can now help most patients experiencing tinnitus. Tinnitus is the sound of buzzing or ringing in the ears or head which other people do not hear. If you have ever been told that you must “learn to live with it” please contact us.

Tinnitus is experienced by 15% of the population. Only about 15% of them seek medical attention but for this group tinnitus can be debilitating. As 80% of tinnitus patients also have hearing loss, audiologists are in a unique position to provide treatment.

Tinnitus is not a disease but rather a symptom. Rarely, it can be a symptom of something serious, so medical and audiological consults are always recommended. Some typical causes of tinnitus are noise damage, age related hearing loss, Meniere’s syndrome and certain medications.

One theory for the cause of tinnitus is that the brain is overcompensating for the lack of sound caused by hearing loss. This is similar to phantom limb syndrome where the brain “feels” pain in a limb no longer there. When tinnitus and hearing loss are both present, the use of hearing aids can be very helpful. Amplifying quiet environmental sounds counteracts the overcompensation of the brain and often reduces the volume and/or annoyance of tinnitus.

Experiencing loud or annoying tinnitus can cause other difficulties. Some people report sleep disturbances, irritation, despair, frustration, difficulty relaxing, problems focusing attention and difficulty hearing.

Some factors can aggravate tinnitus such as: caffeine, excessive use of salt, alcohol and nicotine. Some people also notice that stress, grinding teeth and neck problems aggravate tinnitus. For some people, tinnitus causes stress and then the stress makes the tinnitus worse!

If there is not an underlying medical condition, we can help! Amplification, masking, habituation, information counseling, relaxation techniques, altering diet, and targeted cognitive behaviour therapy are all tools we can use.