About Tinnitus

Approximately over 45 million people in the United States have tinnitus. Based the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutritional Examinations Survey (most recent data), nearly 20 million people are dealing with burdensome tinnitus, while roughly 2 million individuals find their tinnitus severely debilitating that it impairs their normal daily function.

There Are Two Kinds of Tinnitus

Subjective Tinnitus

Sounds or noises within the head or ear(s) which are only perceived by the individual. No one else can hear this sound. More than 99% of all reported cases of tinnitus are of the subjective variety.

Objective Tinnitus

Sounds or noises within the head or ear(s) which are audible to another individual. These sounds are usually produced internally within the body as a result of circulatory problems (blood flow) or somatic (musculo-skeletal movement) systems. This kind of tinnitus encompasses less than 1% of all tinnitus cases and is quite rare.

Causes of Tinnitus

There can be many potential causes of tinnitus. Dr. Novick will review your medical history extensively to try and help determine a possible cause, which could be due to the following:

  • Noise exposure
  • Hearing loss
  • Impacted earwax
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Otosclerosis
  • Metabolic and autoimmune disorders
  • Metabolic and autoimmune disorders
  • Head/neck injuries (e.g. concussion, traumatic brain injury)

Tinnitus Evaluation Process

Everyone experiences tinnitus differently. Our role is to educate you in understanding the neural mechanism behind tinnitus and to learn how to manage your tinnitus symptoms, which will ultimately reduce the stress, annoyance and anxiety associated with it.

Your initial tinnitus consultation appointment will be approximately 2 hours and we encourage you to bring a family member or friend.

When evaluating your tinnitus, we will check for any hearing loss. Why you ask? This is because approximately 90% of tinnitus cases also reveal an underlying hearing loss. We will explain your results and develop a treatment plan that best fits you, including various treatment options and coping strategies.

Treatment requires frequent directive educational counseling and regular follow-up visits. It is recommended that patients to fully commit to the treatment plan to maximize their success.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – Vivian Greene

Even though there is no known cure for tinnitus, you can be rest assured that there are various tinnitus relief options

Tinnitus Relief Options

Even though there is no known cure for tinnitus, you can be assured that there are various tinnitus treatment options. Despite the various treatment options available, different individuals report varying degrees of success and relief from their tinnitus.

Auditory Habituation or Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)

TRT is a systematic protocol method for treatment of tinnitus, hyperacusis and misophonia. TRT is a habituation technique that involves two components:

1) Directive counseling, which provides the patient with intensive, individualized education regarding the causes and effects of tinnitus on the ear, the brain and the coping mechanism.

2) Sound based Therapy, which uses low-level sound generators that produce low-level broadband noise (mimics the sound of a shower) at a soft enough level so the brain can perceive both the noise and the tinnitus. The goal is not to completely mask or cover up the tinnitus signal. Eventually, it is hoped that the brain will learn to de-emphasize the importance of the tinnitus. These sound generators are small and discreet and no one will even notice the patient is wearing them.

This protocol is also  helpful for those patients are sensitive to sound (hyperacusis and misophonia).

  • Stress Reduction: Alleviating stress can do wonders for those who are annoyed by their tinnitus. Many people find relief through progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, massage therapy, meditation and daily exercise. Stress management is key in facilitating habituation to tinnitus.
  • Medical: We feel that all patients suffering from tinnitus should have a thorough medical evaluation by an otolaryngologist, a physician who specializes in the diseases of the ear, nose & throat.
  • Psychological Therapy: Even though we do our very best in helping individuals cope/manage their tinnitus, sometimes we need a little help. In cases where we feel you have significant depression or anxiety; we will assist in a referral to a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Mindfulness Based Tinnitus Stress Reduction.

Contact us to learn more about tinnitus and different treatment options or to schedule an appointment.

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