Today, many effective treatment options are available for tinnitus. Because tinnitus is so individual, you should work with your audiologist or physician to determine the best management option for you.
Before you begin a tinnitus consultation at Associated Audiologists, we ask that you undergo a diagnostic hearing evaluation, or ask that you bring the results of a hearing evaluation performed within the last six months to your appointment. Once you have completed a hearing evaluation, we will schedule an initial tinnitus consultation. You will receive a tinnitus history form and questionnaire prior to your appointment, which we will review to learn more about your lifestyle and your concerns. We also may demonstrate various sound therapy options at your consultation and perform a tinnitus assessment to determine the characteristics of your tinnitus.
In addition to completing your new patient forms (see Registration Forms), when you come in for your tinnitus evaluation, be sure to bring a comprehensive list of your medications and dosages with you. Important: Do not discontinue or change your medication without first consulting your prescribing physician.
The next step in the evaluation process is the tinnitus assessment. This assessment may be performed at the same visit as your consultation. This is when we perform tinnitus pitch and loudness matching, as well as evaluate your minimum masking level.
The primary form of tinnitus management offered by Associated Audiologists is sound therapy in a structured and supervised program. Sound therapy promotes habituation (desensitization) to tinnitus and sound sensitivity problems.
For many patients, the initiation of sound therapy quickly brings relief from symptoms. With continued use, sound therapy can reduce tinnitus awareness and disturbance. There are many sound therapy tools available for management of tinnitus and sound sensitivity. During your initial consultation, we will discuss these with you and recommend the type most appropriate for you.
When hearing loss is present, the majority of patients experience relief from tinnitus when using hearing aids. 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. Hearing aids also result in increased nerve activity/stimulation, which may help suppress or mask the tinnitus.
When hearing aids alone do not bring sufficient relief, the use of combination devices may be recommended. These devices provide amplification and incorporate sound generators. The sound generator plays soothing sounds to reduce the perception of tinnitus and provide relief. Many combination devices are available to suit mild to severe degrees of hearing loss.
Desyncra is a targeted, neuroscience-based therapy designed to desynchronize pathological neuronal activity in tinnitus neuronal networks. This noninvasive therapy is tailored to the patient’s unique tinnitus profile. The therapeutic stimulus is delivered over a 36-week treatment period, using proprietary earphones and software on an Apple platform. The stimulus is non-disruptive, so it is convenient to use while engaging in normal activities of daily living. Typically, patients notice a reduction in tinnitus loudness and annoyance within a few weeks of starting therapy with benefits lasting beyond the therapy period.
The Levo system is a personalized, neuroscience-based sound therapy that is designed for use during sleep, when the brain is especially responsive to habituation. The patient’s unique tinnitus sound print is identified and delivered over the treatment period, using custom-fit ear buds and proprietary software on an Apple platform. Used nightly for 90 days and as needed thereafter, patients gradually habituate to their tinnitus.
This treatment program involves wearing the Neuromonics processor, and participating in counseling visits over a six-to-12-month period. The processor delivers an acoustically modified musical stimulus that promotes relaxation and tinnitus habituation. There are three levels of Neuromonics treatment, designed for mild to moderate to severe tinnitus disturbance. The most appropriate device and treatment plan will be recommended during your initial consultation.
Other options for sound therapy may be self-directed and can include devices such as music players, table-top sound generators, and other masking devices. Lifestyle changes will also be discussed and recommended during your consult and follow-up appointments. These may include limiting noise exposure, use of hearing protection, incorporation of stress management and relaxation strategies, and a review of the role of diet and medications in tinnitus.