Contact us for all hearing related services in Southern Colorado including hearing aids, implants and tinnitus related solutions at (719) 633-1494.
At Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs, our experienced audiologists are skilled at evaluating and treating tinnitus using Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), a well-researched method developed by tinnitus expert Dr. Pawel Jastreboff. This habituation therapy is based upon the Neurophysiological Model of Tinnitus, which was initially proposed by Dr. Jastreboff in 1990. Decades later, this model remains unchallenged as the most effective method for tinnitus treatment. If you or someone you know suffers from tinnitus, we urge you to contact our clinic today to schedule an evaluation.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a phantom auditory perception. Some of the more commonly reported sounds are ringing, humming, buzzing, hissing, and cricket/bug-like noises. It can be constant or intermittent and can be heard in one ear, both ears, or in the head.
The Most Common Causes
- Noise exposure (e.g. from shooting or machines at work)
- Hearing loss
- Aging process
- Head injury (e.g. from a car accident or fall)
Many causes are unknown.
Tinnitus is usually accompanied by hearing loss and is sometimes accompanied by hyperacusis (when physical discomfort is experience by the patient when a loud sound occurs that would not evoke the same response in an average normal hearing listener) and/or misophonia (decreased tolerance to very specific sounds such as chewing, clicking, or sniffing). 94% of the population will experience tinnitus at some point in their lives, while 20% of that population will seek medical treatment for their tinnitus.
Impact of Tinnitus
Tinnitus affects people differently. The most common areas in which tinnitus has a direct influence are:
- Hearing. In some, the sound of the tinnitus competes with or masks speech or environmental sound perception.
- Sleep. Many tinnitus sufferers report that their tinnitus interferes with them getting to sleep. It can also make it more difficult to get back to sleep when they wake up in the middle of the night.
- Concentration. Some tinnitus sufferers report that they have difficulty focusing on a task because of their tinnitus. This might include reading a book or the newspaper or focusing on tasks at work.
- Thoughts and emotions. Some are annoyed, bothered, depressed, anxious or angry about their tinnitus. They think about and focus on their tinnitus throughout the day.
Treatment of Tinnitus
At Hearing Consultants, we utilize a two-part management program that helps successfully treat people with tinnitus. This method, known as Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, is highly effective in helping you to habituate your reaction to tinnitus. Treatment plans are typically 9-18 months and outcomes are highly effective.
- Counseling. Will help you better understand your tinnitus, as we explain why it is happening and how your specialized treatment plan will help you with your Tinnitus.
- Sound Therapy. In addition to counseling, we will utilize a sound enriched environment as part of treatment. Proper sound enrichment is critical to the success of the program and can be implemented with both ear level devices as well as tabletop sound generators. We work with each patient to set the sound enrichment within their environments.
The key features of TRT are:
- It is suitable for all types of tinnitus irrespective of the cause.
- It requires a certain treatment period and is not a “quick-fix”.
- It does not require frequent visits and the treatment process easily accommodates out-of-town individuals.
- There are no harmful side-effects.
- There is no surgery or drugs involved in this treatment.
Many patients have been told there is nothing that can be done to help with their tinnitus. At Hearing Consultants, we feel very differently, and haven’t met a patient we can’t help.
Decreased Sound Tolerance
In addition to treating tinnitus, our audiology professionals apply principles of TRT to desensitize the auditory system of patients with decreased sound tolerance (DST). We also use TRT to treat both hyperacusis and misophonia, which are categorized as DST. Hyperacusis and misophonia can occur along with tinnitus or independently. Although both involve a decreased tolerance of sounds, misophonia is distinct from hyperacusis. While misophonia involves an adverse reaction to particular sounds, hyperacusis involves a negative reaction to sounds due to particular characteristics. Someone who experiences hyperacusis may be sensitive to sounds of a particular volume, type, or intensity. An assessment will be made at your initial interview so that we can properly treat any sound-related issues that you might have.
DST treatment involves administering controlled and customized sound enrichment throughout the day and night. As your reactions to certain sounds decrease, you will gradually feel more comfortable and eventually neutral toward sounds that were previously distressing.
We treat individuals of all ages with DST. There are no side effects to the treatment, and all of our patients are closely monitored.
If you suffer from tinnitus, hyperacusis, and/or misophonia, the experienced audiologists at Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs can help you identify the best options for your treatment. To schedule an appointment with us, call (719) 633-1494 or contact us online.
Are you experiencing tinnitus? Please fill out this questionnaire to find out what treatment options are right for you!