What is your approach to tinnitus treatment?
We have found Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) to be very effective when guided by an audiologist who is extensively trained and experienced working specifically with tinnitus patients. Our approach to tinnitus treatment centers around creating a personalized TRT plan specific to each individual.
What is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy?
A complex process using a whole system approach to treat both the source and symptoms of tinnitus.
Tinnitus is terrible. It can sound like a constant field of crickets, a snake hissing, or bees buzzing. Tinnitus disrupts your mood, thoughts, feelings, work, social life, and overall quality of life. Even more frustrating is trying to find a doctor – otolaryngologist (ENT), audiologist, psychologist – to treat tinnitus. Most practitioners will tell you to “just live with it” while many audiologists will only treat hearing loss. Thankfully, your frustration ends here.
Taking the first step
The first and most important step to tinnitus relief is finding the right audiologist. Your doctor needs extensive training in tinnitus treatment and vast experience working with tinnitus patients. Without specialized training and real-world experience, a practitioner has no chance of providing their patient with a successful outcome. Our audiologists regularly review patient cases together to maximize patient outcomes. They also have the experience of helping hundreds of patients achieve relief from their tinnitus symptoms each year.
The most effective approach to stop the vicious cycle of tinnitus is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy or TRT. The overall approach of TRT is often misunderstood – even by many medical professionals. When customized and implemented properly to an individual’s needs, it is a highly successful tinnitus treatment.
More specifically, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy uses sound therapy and directive counseling over 12 – 24 months to properly deal with the three systems involved: the auditory system (hearing), the limbic system (emotions), and the autonomic nervous system (flight or fight response). Over many years of helping tinnitus sufferers, we have developed and refined our treatment protocols, evaluated countless new tinnitus treatment options and technology offerings, and invested in our people and equipment to provide the best outcomes in the industry. We have been able to provide life-changing results for thousands of tinnitus patients, and we are confident we can help you too.
Tinnitus Treatment at Sound Relief
Sound Relief helps more tinnitus patients find relief with TRT than any other practice in the United States. How can we offer hope when so many claim there is no effective treatment for chronic tinnitus? It’s because we have the technology, experience, and compassion needed to reduce the impact of tinnitus on your life successfully. We believe in a multi-disciplinary approach for complex cases, such as involving experienced psychologists when needed to provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Other cases may require working with a patient’s primary care physician to rule out the involvement of other medical conditions and prescriptions, such as drugs for high blood pressure and antidepressants.
Unparalleled Expertise in Tinnitus Treatment
Dr. Julie Prutsman’s team of audiologists offers the highest standard of care. Dr. Julie has immersed herself in the study, understanding, and treatment of tinnitus for more than 15 years, long before effective FDA tinnitus treatments had been developed beyond hearing aids and masking devices. She studied under the industry’s most respected and leading tinnitus expert, Dr. Pawel Jastreboff.
Dr. Jastreboff, Ph.D., Sc.D. developed the renowned Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT). Julie had the privilege of studying under him in 2002 and today is a proud member of the TRT Association, whose 50 members in the United States have been personally trained by Dr. Jasterboff and his associates. With this neurophysiological background, Dr. Julie is continually seeking and analyzing the latest tinnitus technologies to help you find the long-term solution that’s right for you. Today, she spends the majority of her time overseeing and reviewing cases with her team of doctors, all of whom she personally recruited, hired, and trained. We strive to deliver exceptional care without exception.
Almost every otolaryngologist, audiology practice, and hearing aid dispenser that claims to offer relief from tinnitus typically offers only one solution: hearing aids. While amplification may help some, only 50% of tinnitus sufferers will benefit from hearing correction alone. Recently in one of our Google reviews, a patient who had visited several other audiologists commented, “It was so refreshing to hear her (Dr. Leah Mitchell) address the tinnitus issue as a primary concern, not my hearing loss.” At Sound Relief, we promise to focus on your tinnitus, your medical history as it relates to your tinnitus, the cause of your tinnitus, and offer evidence-based solutions like Tinnitus Retraining Therapy.
Experience Matters with Tinnitus Treatment
Technology alone does not ensure a successful outcome. Everyone in the world of audiology has access to the same products and advancements. However, in the wrong hands, the best technology is worthless and sometimes reckless. Just put a 16-year-old in a Lamborghini and see what happens.
We have worked with so many patients with tinnitus for so long that there is not much we have not already encountered and overcome. By integrating the best technology with our processes and decades of combined experience, patients get the relief they deserve. See the difference experience makes at Sound Relief.
Tinnitus Sound Generators (TSGs) are necessary to provide the brain and auditory cortex with a soothing distraction away from tinnitus. To be effective, TSGs must be ear-level, stable, dynamic, and prescriptive. For patients with normal hearing and tinnitus, TSGs do not need an active microphone to change the perception of tinnitus.
For tinnitus patients with mild hearing loss, hybrid hearing aids or combination instruments are necessary for tinnitus treatment. The combination instruments have a digital amplification system and a prescriptive sound generator that is programmed together to optimize tinnitus relief. Microphones in these systems bring in soft environmental sounds while also producing a soothing sound therapy signal to help in the process of habituation.
There are several levels of Tinnitus Sound Generators and Combination Instruments available based on the patient’s medical history, lifestyle, hearing, and tinnitus requirements.
Lyric Extended Wear Hearing Aids
Can 24/7 amplification provide relief from tinnitus symptoms? Yes. Depending on your perception of tinnitus, Lyric may help improve sleep quality and reduce tinnitus annoyance faster than daily wear devices that are removed at night. These semi-implantable medical devices are FDA-approved and fit deep in the ear canal to direct sound into the ear canal naturally.
Daily Wear Hearing Aids
Many people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss. Hearing aids provide a dual benefit. By enhancing hearing and then mixing your tinnitus with everyday sounds, you can discern soft sounds in the environment you might currently be missing. Often people receive partial or complete relief with the use of hearing aids, especially with milder cases of hearing loss.
Technology We Do Not Use
We have evaluated every tinnitus treatment option that has earned FDA approval. The following are manufacturers that we have chosen not to use or discontinue use for new patients for various reasons. (We continue to support patients who use these products.)
- Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment
- Levo System by Otoharmonics
- General Hearing Instruments
Additional Tinnitus Treatment Options
Tinnitus Treatment Counseling
People living with tinnitus may experience anxiety, depression, and other psychiatric problems. As a result, along with our Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, we refer patients to psychiatrists or counselors as needed to change thoughts around tinnitus.
Tinnitus Treatment Medication
Some people develop anxiety, depression, or other strong emotional responses to their tinnitus. Certain medications can provide relief from these symptoms. Nutritional supplements can also offer some relief from associated symptoms such as lack of sleep. Our audiologists work with patients’ physicians to make sure the medications they need are working towards your goal of finding relief and not against it.
Tinnitus Relaxation Techniques
Stress can worsen the effects of tinnitus. If you experience frustration or anxiety from the noise in your ears, learning how to relax can be very helpful. By relaxing, you are given the chance to rest and reset your nervous system. Your audiologist can review relaxation techniques that have helped other patients with similar experiences. Some may benefit from yoga, acupuncture, biofeedback, and/or tinnitus support groups.
Oticon Tinnitus SoundSupport™
Oticon Tinnitus SoundSupport works by adding sound to the buzzing, hissing, or roaring you already hear. This may seem peculiar, but in fact, the relief sounds (which are dynamic and soothing) can mix with and distract you from those bothersome noises, giving you control over your condition. The flexible program includes a variety of relief sounds that can ease the effects of tinnitus. Your audiologist can personalize the sounds to your needs and preferences, and they can be used alongside Tinnitus Retraining Therapy for instruction and support.
Widex “The Zen Program”
Widex employs fractal tone technology so that the sounds you hear are predictable but not repeating. Your audiologist can choose between an assortment of “musical tones” known as “Zen styles,” which are random and chime-like. Your audiologist can adjust the tones’ pitch, tempo, and volume. If employed correctly, Widex Zen Therapy can help re-wire your brain and make your tinnitus less noticeable.
ReSound iPhone Tinnitus Relief App
Can an iPhone app truly assist in relieving tinnitus? Believe it or not, the answer is yes. The ReSound LiNX2 app utilizes a combination of sound therapy and relaxation exercises to reduce the severity of tinnitus. The convenient app can be used in combination with hearing instruments, which are small but strong. This groundbreaking program transforms your iPhone into a remote control for your hearing aid.
As their name suggests, maskers conceal tinnitus through other sounds. They look similar to hearing aids, but they won’t enhance your hearing. In this way, they’re like band-aids, covering up the problem instead of actually solving it. In addition, some people find maskers frustrating because they can soften important sounds, like speech. We do not recommend maskers for long-term use as they do not work in rewiring the brain.
What Can I Do to Help Myself?
We encourage you to avoid anything that can make your tinnitus worse. Understanding tinnitus prevention is as crucial as understanding its treatment. Preventative measures can reduce the risk of developing tinnitus or exacerbating existing symptoms. Here are some strategies and considerations to keep in mind:
1. Limit Exposure to Loud Noises:
- Workplace Noise: If your occupation involves noisy environments like construction sites, music venues, or factories, always wear protective ear equipment. Industries with high noise exposure often mandate the use of earmuffs or earplugs.
- Recreational Activities: When attending concerts, using power tools, or engaging in loud recreational activities, consider using ear protection. Even short-lived loud noises, like fireworks, can impact hearing.
2. Turn Down the Volume:
- Listening to music or watching television at high volumes, especially with earphones or headphones, can lead to hearing damage over time. Opt for noise-canceling headphones that allow you to listen at lower volumes and take regular breaks to give your ears a rest.
3. Healthy Lifestyle Choices:
- Avoid Smoking: Nicotine and tobacco can reduce blood flow to the delicate structures of the ear, exacerbating tinnitus symptoms.
- Limit Alcohol and Caffeine: Excessive consumption might aggravate tinnitus for some individuals. Moderation is key.
4. Manage Stress Levels:
- Chronic stress or anxiety can contribute to the severity of tinnitus. Techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, and physical activity can help manage stress and potentially reduce the intensity or perception of tinnitus.
5. Regular Check-ups:
- Annual hearing exams can help detect potential problems early. Inform your doctor or audiologist immediately if you start to notice any changes in your hearing.
6. Be Cautious with Medications:
- Some medicines, including high doses of aspirin or certain antibiotics, are ototoxic and can cause or worsen tinnitus. Always discuss potential side effects with your healthcare provider and inform them if tinnitus develops or worsens with medication.
7. Protect Against Head Injuries:
- Trauma to the head or neck can cause tinnitus. Wear helmets during sports or activities that pose a risk of head injury.
8. Educate and Advocate:
- Raise awareness about the risks of noise exposure among friends, family, and community. Encourage venues to use safe sound levels, and support initiatives to reduce noise pollution in urban areas.
By integrating these preventive measures into your daily life, you can take proactive steps to safeguard your hearing health and reduce the risk of tinnitus. Remember, prevention is often easier and more effective than treatment.
If you struggle to hear over your tinnitus and are ready to start treatment, schedule an evaluation with Sound Relief today. Beyond tinnitus treatment, we can help with any hearing loss you may be experiencing. This can reduce the stress and strain of trying to understand speech, which will further reduce your tinnitus.
Ready to Change Your Life?
The next step is scheduling a tinnitus evaluation with Sound Relief. In your first appointment, we will answer your tinnitus questions, help you understand your condition, and develop a treatment plan to get you the relief you deserve.