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15.04.2014

Tinnitus management, what can cause tinnitus in both ears - Within Minutes

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Finding the most effective tinnitus treatment plan is important in improving a tinnitus sufferer’s quality of life. Portable maskers: Sound therapy through headphones or maskers is an extremely easy treatment for tinnitus because it is portable and can be listened to at any time. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy is based around counseling and sound therapy, and should be carried out by trained professionals.
A good approach toward tinnitus treatment is a holistic one, which incorporates changes in lifestyle habits combined with the use of medicines, devices and support from family and friends or from tinnitus support groups. I’ve set up this website to provide useful information and to help other tinnitus sufferers learn how to manage and live with this annoying condition.
We have described audiologic tinnitus management (ATM) previously (Henry, Zaugg, & Schechter, 2005a, 2005b). PATM uses therapeutic sound as the primary intervention modality, and it is distinguished from other sound-based methods (neuromonics tinnitus treatment, tinnitus masking, and tinnitus retraining therapy) in that the sound-management protocol is adaptive to address patients' unique needs.
The focus of patient education is to provide patients with the knowledge and skills to use sound in adaptive ways to manage their tinnitus in any life situation disrupted by tinnitus.
The Tinnitus Pyramid illustrated in Figure 1 is a way of visualizing how people who experience chronic tinnitus are affected differently. The overall goal of PATM's hierarchical approach is to minimize the impact of tinnitus on patients' lives as efficiently as possible. Because tinnitus can affect many aspects of health, a team approach to tinnitus management is the ideal. Both TBI and tinnitus often are associated with mental health disorders, including PTSD, depression, and anxiety.
Some tinnitus patients present with behaviors that indicate the need for an evaluation by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other licensed mental health professional. Tinnitus is a symptom of dysfunction within the auditory system and usually is associated with some degree of hearing loss. The Level 2 evaluation includes a standard audiologic evaluation and brief written questionnaires to assess the relative impact of hearing problems and tinnitus problems. For each of the three types of sound for managing tinnitus (soothing, background, and interesting), patients are taught that environmental sound, music, or speech can be applied. Intervention with PATM focuses on assisting patients in learning how to self-manage their tinnitus using therapeutic sound in adaptive ways. CBT has been shown to be effective in reducing the annoyance of tinnitus and is an adjunct to the sound-based PATM counseling to address emotional difficulties by teaching patients to learn ways to change their thoughts and feelings about tinnitus. Each participant uses a worksheet to develop an individualized "plan of action" to change their negative thoughts and feelings about tinnitus-see Figure 6, PATM Changing Thoughts and Feelings Worksheet [PDF]. Most patients can satisfactorily self-manage their tinnitus after participating in Level 3-Group Education.
Following completion of the Level 4-Tinnitus Evaluation, patients must meet certain criteria to be considered for Level 5-Individualized Management, namely (a) Levels 1-4 of PATM have not met their needs, and (b) they have been evaluated and referred to other health care providers as warranted. No program currently exists to provide clinical management for military personnel and veterans who have tinnitus associated with TBI. The PATM model is designed for implementation at any audiology clinic that desires to optimize resourcefulness, cost efficiency, and expedience in its practice of tinnitus management.
James Henry, PhD, has been working at the VA at the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR) in Portland, Oregon, for the past 22 years and has conducted tinnitus research for 16 years. Download "There is Something You Can Do about Tinnitus," a Consumer White Paper on this Common Problem.
The Tinnitus Association of Victoria has been conducting comprehensive two and a half hour Tinnitus Management Seminars for many years. Four internationally respected tinnitus experts have viewed the DVD and their testimonials follow.
If one were to put a face on the misery of intrusive tinnitus, undoubtedly it would be the face of the androgynous creature in the 1883 masterpiece, The Scream, by Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch. With this DVD we now have a face to put on the mastery of intrusive tinnitus, the calm, knowledgeable, and reassuring face of Ross McKeown.
I highly recommend this DVD as essential viewing for all people who have suffered from tinnitus. Ross McKeown clearly describes the process by which tinnitus can become a source of distress and outlines a practical guide to the means by which we can, by challenging our fears and misconceptions, redefine tinnitus as just another background noise that we can eventually ignore without effort. It is believed that B6 is good for hair cells, particularly the tiny hairs found inside the ear, and in some cases it has been shown to improve hearing loss and tinnitus. These changes include avoidance of noise irritants, stress management, cessation of cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol, caffeine, aspartame. The ATM method provided specific guidelines for audiologists to implement a well-defined program of tinnitus management.
The management program is goal-oriented with a focus on individualized management, patient and family education, counseling, and support.
This is accomplished by helping patients develop and implement custom sound-based management plans to address their unique needs. The base of the pyramid reveals that most persons who experience tinnitus are not bothered by it or only require some rudimentary information about tinnitus.
Because the impact of tinnitus varies widely for these patients, their management needs vary accordingly.


Unless there is a medical or psychiatric emergency, all patients who complain of tinnitus should be referred to an audiologist for a Level 2 Audiologic Evaluation. If left untreated, these mental health conditions can impede any rehabilitation efforts, including the clinical management of tinnitus. The model is designed to be maximally efficient to have the least impact on clinical resources, while still addressing the needs of all patients who complain about tinnitus. These providers may be unaware of tinnitus management resources that are available to help these patients.
When indicated, the Level 2 evaluation can also include a brief structured tinnitus interview and brief written questionnaires to assess appropriateness of referral to a mental health clinic. During the first session, the principles of using sound to manage tinnitus are explained, and each participant uses a worksheet that is located in the self-management workbook provided at the Level 2 Audiologic Evaluation to develop an individualized "sound plan" to manage their most bothersome tinnitus situation—see Figure 5, PATM Sound Plan Worksheet [PDF]. Some patients with problematic tinnitus, however, require psychological intervention to alter negative reactions to tinnitus and to aid in coping with tinnitus. Specifically, patients are taught that relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and imagery can reduce stress and tension caused by tinnitus, and changing how they think about their tinnitus can help them change how they feel about it.
Level 5-Individualized Management uses a standardized, individualized counseling flip chart to provide directed counseling as well as discussion of sound management and relaxation strategies. A pilot study funded by VA RR&D using a national, centralized tinnitus management counseling program via telephone that is thus accessible to individuals from any geographic location is currently being formally evaluated. Also, PATM has been adapted to quickly identify and meet the unique tinnitus management needs of veterans and military members with TBI. His research focuses on developing standardized protocols for clinical assessment and management of tinnitus, and conducting randomized clinical trials to assess outcomes of different methods of tinnitus intervention. During that time many thousands of sufferers have attended the seminars learning the techniques and strategies that allowed them to successfully manage their tinnitus so that it had little or no effect on their lives. This will validate and provide reassurance to many people with tinnitus and provide a clear pathway towards successful tinnitus management. The intensified use of explosive devices and mines in warfare and noise from weapons have resulted in auditory dysfunction, tinnitus, TBI, mental health conditions, and pain complaints among members of the military.
The invisibility of closed head injury, hearing loss, and tinnitus heighten the importance of screening for TBI, PTSD, depression, hearing impairment, and tinnitus in those service members exposed to blast injury. Our subsequent tinnitus clinical research pointed to the need to provide tinnitus clinical services in a hierarchical manner, that is, to provide services only to the degree necessary to meet patients' individual needs. Therapeutic sound can be used in a variety of ways with PATM, which is necessary because patients encounter different situations that differentially affect how they react to their tinnitus. Epidemiological studies generally reveal that about 80% of people who experience tinnitus are not particularly bothered by it. Whenever possible, mental health professionals should have expertise in the management of tinnitus, or at least be familiar with the nature of tinnitus within the context of coexistent psychological problems. Figure 4, the PATM flowchart [PDF], shows the five levels of progressive tinnitus management. The triaging guidelines that we developed (shown in Figure 4) are designed mainly for nonaudiologists who encounter patients complaining of tinnitus. Tinnitus patients who require amplification are fitted with hearing aids, which often can result in satisfactory tinnitus management with minimal education and support specific to tinnitus. This psychological component is particularly important for tinnitus patients who also experience PTSD, depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems.
Rather, psychologists can assist patients cope with tinnitus using CBT, which is a specific modality of psychotherapy shown to be effective in treating many health conditions. The Level 4-Tinnitus Evaluation includes an intake interview and a tinnitus psychoacoustic assessment.
If individualized management is not effective after about 6 months, then different forms of tinnitus intervention such as neuromonics tinnitus treatment, tinnitus masking, tinnitus retraining therapy, and tinnitus focused CBT should be considered.
Tinnitus can occur not only as a direct consequence of the injury causing TBI but also as a side effect of medications commonly used to treat cognitive, emotional, and pain problems associated with TBI. This modified centralized approach to tinnitus management allows for frequent and brief intervention to accommodate the needs of people with impaired memory, limited concentration, and other cognitive difficulties often associated with TBI. Through her involvement in tinnitus clinical trials over the last 8 years at the NCRAR, she has developed considerable expertise in tinnitus assessment and management, and in the training of audiologists to perform tinnitus management. Her research interest focuses on the psychological interventions for tinnitus and the comorbidities of mental health disorders with tinnitus. Once you have completed a hearing evaluation, we will schedule an initial tinnitus consultation.
Symptoms of mild TBI or concussion frequently include tinnitus, which can occur not only as a direct consequence of the injury causing TBI but also as a side effect of medications commonly used to treat cognitive, emotional, and pain problems associated with TBI.
The remaining 20% are bothered, but to different degrees-as depicted by people with "progressively more severe tinnitus problems" toward the top of the pyramid. Tinnitus patients with these problems should be referred for evaluation by a mental health professional. It is sometimes also appropriate to screen for the presence of mental health symptoms and to refer patients to a mental health clinic because these symptoms can interfere with successful self-management of tinnitus. Any patient found to have problematic tinnitus receives "How to Manage Your Tinnitus: A Step-by-Step Workbook" and is invited to attend Level 3-Group Education. Recent evidence supports the use of group education as a basic form of tinnitus intervention.


Psychological intervention can be an important component of an overall approach to tinnitus management for patients with mild TBI. Administration of the intake interview is the primary means of determining whether one-on-one individualized tinnitus management is needed. Her research focuses on the development of patient health education programs and materials, standardized protocols for clinical assessment and management of tinnitus, and blast injury and auditory dysfunction. During this consultation, we will discuss the auditory system and our current understanding of tinnitus. ATM therefore was completely revamped, resulting in a five-level hierarchical program of tinnitus management that we refer to as progressive audiologic tinnitus management (PATM). Although this method has been developed and evaluated for veterans with tinnitus, PATM protocols can be applied to any adult with problematic tinnitus.
The tip of the pyramid contains the relatively few patients who have the most severe tinnitus condition, that is, those who are debilitated by their tinnitus.
A handout that audiologists can share with their health care provider referral sources is found in Tinnitus Triage Guidelines—intended to be provided to nonaudiologist clinicians with patients who complain of bothersome tinnitus. Patients should also be referred immediately to a mental health professional if they report suicidal ideation, or if they have bizarre thoughts or perceptions such as "hearing voices." Patients with PTSD and severe tinnitus may require test protocol modifications and referrals to mental health that address the powerful limbic system responses. The workbook, written at the sixth-grade reading level, contains information on using sound to manage tinnitus, changing thoughts and feelings to manage tinnitus, relaxation techniques, hearing conservation, sleep hygiene tips, and general tinnitus information.
Group education has been shown to be effective as part of a hierarchical tinnitus management program at a major tinnitus clinic. Further information about managing tinnitus is then presented, and the participants revise their sound plan based on the discussion and new information. She has received funding from the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service to conduct research as a Co-Principal Investigator on studies related to tinnitus management and traumatic brain injury. You will receive a tinnitus history form and questionnaire prior to your appointment, which we will review to try to learn more about your lifestyle and your concerns. The Tinnitus Pyramid highlights that patients who complain of tinnitus have very different needs, ranging from the provision of simple information to long-term individualized therapy.
Videos of PATM Level 3 counseling and methods of relaxation and imagery based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), as well as a CD demonstrating the different ways that sound can be used to manage tinnitus, are currently under development and will be added to the workbook to provide the audiologist and patient with additional intervention tools in a multimodal format. The NCRAR completed a randomized clinical trial evaluating group education for tinnitus in almost 300 patients that showed significantly more reduction in tinnitus severity for those in the group education group as compared to control groups. By the end of the second session, the participants should have learned how to develop, implement, evaluate, and revise a sound plan to manage their most bothersome tinnitus situation.
Special procedures are used to select devices for tinnitus management, including ear-level noise generators and combination instruments, and personal listening devices. Because the population with TBI can vary greatly in terms of tinnitus severity, peripheral and central function, speech perception abilities in quiet and degraded conditions, cognition, and emotional, behavioral, and physical health, there is no universal standardized approach to audiologic management or tinnitus management of persons with TBI. We also may demonstrate various sound therapy options at your consultation and perform a tinnitus assessment to determine the pitch and loudness of your tinnitus.In addition to completing your new patient forms (see Patient Information, Registration Forms), when you come in for your tinnitus evaluation, be sure to bring a comprehensive list of your medications and dosages with you. They are encouraged to use the Sound Plan Worksheet on an ongoing basis to write additional sound plans for other bothersome tinnitus situations. Screening for referral to mental health is required at the Level 4-Tinnitus Evaluation; however, mental health screening should always be considered at any level of management if patients' comments and discourse point to significant mental health issues.
Principles and application of educational counseling used in progressive audiologic tinnitus management. This is when we perform tinnitus pitch and loudness matching, as well as evaluate your minimum masking level.Sound Therapy Management OptionsThe primary form of tinnitus management offered by Associated Audiologists is through the use of sound therapy in a structured and supervised program. Sound therapy promotes habituation (desensitization) to tinnitus and sound sensitivity problems. With continued use, sound therapy ultimately can reduce the perception of tinnitus and restore normal sound perception. There are many types of sound therapy available for management of tinnitus and sound sensitivity.
The relief experienced through hearing aid use is due to improved communication ability, which can decrease stress and enable patients to be more engaged in their environments, thereby lessening the effect of the tinnitus. The sound generator plays soothing sounds to reduce the perception of tinnitus and provide relief.
Many combination devices are available, including some that can sound like a soothing “ocean wave” and the Widex ZEN relaxation program that plays random, chime-like and relaxing tones.Neuromonics Tinnitus TreatmentThis treatment program involves wearing either the Oasis or Sanctuary device, and participating in follow-up appointments over a six-to-12-month period.
The Oasis is a customized sound therapy device, designed for more severe tinnitus sufferers and programmed for an individual’s hearing and tinnitus profile. The Sanctuary is intended for mild tinnitus disturbance and may require fewer in-clinic follow-up appointments. The most appropriate device and treatment plan will be recommended during your initial consultation.Serenade Tinnitus Treatment SystemThe Serenade is a simple, customizable sound therapy device, consisting of a handheld device to generate sound therapy and earphones. Serenade may provide long-term relief when used as a part of a tinnitus management program.Other Sound Therapy and Management OptionsOther options for sound therapy may be self-directed and can include devices such as music players, table-top sound generators, and other masking devices.
These may include limiting noise exposure, use of hearing protection, incorporation of stress management and relaxation strategies, and a review of how current diet and medications may be affecting your tinnitus.



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