Tinnitus can be extremely distressing. The annoyance and distraction of hearing a constant phantom noise in your ears is bad enough. Learning there’s no cure for tinnitus exacerbates the problem, creating a feeling of hopelessness.
Luckily, there are a number of treatments available to combat tinnitus. At Modern Hearing Solutions, our hearing instrument specialist makes it his business to stay up-to-date on the latest tinnitus management tools and techniques.
Counseling Can Help With Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a chronic ailment that can ebb and flow with regards to its severity. Whatever you’re hearing–buzzing or clicking, static or screeching–it can yield troubling side effects like:
- Anxiety and Irritability
- Concentration and memory problems
- Depression and fatigue
- Stress and sleep problems
It can be hard to “keep calm and carry on,” as the old British saying goes, when you’re bombarded by inner discord. With this in mind, our hearing instrument specialist educates and counsels patients about living with tinnitus.
Further Therapy Can Help
Many people decide to undergo further therapy to deal with the tinnitus. For instance, studies have shown cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help people think about tinnitus in a more optimistic light.
If your tinnitus reaches a crescendo, it’s easy to fall prey to thoughts like, “I’ll never feel better again.” Practicing CBT can help you reframe this thought more positively: “I’ve felt this bad before and the level of my tinnitus has always subsided. It’s sure to ease up again.”
Stress Management Can Help With Tinnitus
Tinnitus tends to make people stressed, which increases their tinnitus. Undertaking new relaxation practices can help stop this vicious cycle. Common ways people with tinnitus lessen their stress include:
- Mindfulness meditation
Hearing Aids Can Help With Tinnitus
Many people who have tinnitus also have hearing loss. When they’re fitted with hearing aids, some patients with tinnitus report that the amplification alone provides some improvement. We also carry hearing aids with built-in tinnitus treatment tools, including Widex’s ZEN and Oticon’s Opn.
Hearing aids equipped with ZEN–a tinnitus solution available with most Widex hearing aids–generate fractal tones. These gentle, random tones resemble windchimes and pleasantly stimulate the limbic system. You can listen to a brief sample of a few popular ZEN tones on YouTube, including:
The effectiveness of ZEN therapy isn’t just anecdotal. A University of California study was conducted where 14 people with severe tinnitus were fitted with hearing aids. Twelve people reported finding more relief from listening to ZEN tones as opposed to broadband sounds like white noise. After six months Widex ZEN therapy, a majority of subjects said it was easier to relax when listening to fractal tones. They also reported a significant increase in their ability to cope with tinnitus.
You can also download a free tinnitus management app, Widex Zen, onto your smartphone. It’s a sound player where you can select relaxing background sounds, like “Sandy Beach”, to listen to alone or in conjunction with ZEN tones. The app also lets you stream educational material into your hearing aids and relaxation tools like guided imagery, deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.
If you get Oticon Opn hearing aids, you can download the Oticon ON app onto your smartphone to stream soothing and dynamic sounds, from ocean waves to white noise, directly into your hearing aids. Each of these sounds is adjustable through four modulation settings. You can also use Oticon OPN to stream other media into your hearing aids, including audiobooks, music, podcasts and relaxation guides.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus and are ready to take a proactive approach to manage the symptoms, contact us for an appointment with Modern Hearing Solutions at our Powell office or our new location in Cody, Wyoming.