Dealing with Tinnitus – Support Therapies & Treatments
In addition to treatment, a number of key steps can help you manage tinnitus effectively, for even better clinical results.
When used alongside treatments such as hearing aids and a wearable sound generator – which tackle the causes of tinnitus more directly – many sufferers benefit greatly from a further combination of therapies. While they may at a glance seem less evidence-based, they are backed by science and are shown to support better results. We recommend trialing some or all as you work towards successful tinnitus management.
Addressing underlying worries and concerns, and getting the support you need around your tinnitus, can be effective. This encompasses all varieties of psychological support, designed to help individuals deal with accompanying feelings of anxiety, stress and depression.
Many people find that their tinnitus is worse when they are stressed, and better when they are relaxed. By developing strategies to unwind and relieve tension, some symptoms can be alleviated.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT or habituation therapy)
TRT uses sound generators and counselling to retrain the brain in sound processing, so you no longer hear your tinnitus. The aim is to reduce and ultimately eliminate tinnitus perception. Treatment is based on the idea that just as we can filter out other sounds, such as a fridge or air-conditioning unit, we can also get used to the sound of tinnitus.
This cognitive process is called habituation the treatment combines auditory therapy with hearing aids and/or therapeutic noise generators. This provides the brain with maximum environmental sounds to reduce tinnitus perception. It is often combined with counselling to change negative beliefs, distract from tinnitus and reduce stress.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
This form of therapy addresses negative thoughts you may have around your tinnitus and is provided by clinical psychologists. CBT is threefold in process, changing the way a person perceives tinnitus, teaching ways to focus attention away from tinnitus and achieving control over stress. Through both counselling and developing coping strategies, it changes the unhelpful thoughts and behaviours for those that are more positive. The technique is demonstrated as effective in alleviating distress and producing adaptation to tinnitus.
Some people with troublesome tinnitus have sleep difficulties. In these cases, specific advice on what to do at home to help you sleep will be beneficial.
Sound Enrichment Therapy
The use of sound, either from desktop devices or wearable sound generators, can help to both reduce the starkness of the tinnitus and promote habituation. Wearable generators form half of the combination device treatment method.
It is possible that some people may benefit from medication, such as anti-anxiety medication, antidepressants or sleeping tablets, for conditions they have in addition to their tinnitus. There is no specific medication for tinnitus, but tackling problems that exacerbate its symptoms is a step in the right direction.
Diet & Lifestyle
Avoid possible irritants. Trying to reduce your intake of salt, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol are recommended as each of these is demonstrated to make tinnitus worse. For some people herbal remedies or Vitamin B12 may be helpful for some people. Please consult your specialist before taking supplements. Other things to consider;
- Some people may find that loud noises make their tinnitus worse.
- Cover up the tinnitus in quiet settings. Try a fan, soft music or low-volume radio static to help mask the noise.
- Manage stress as it is proven to make tinnitus worse. Try relaxation therapy, biofeedback or exercise.
For more information, or consultation on which therapies might best benefit you, get in touch with us today.