Evaluation and Treatment of Tinnitus

Tinnitus Treatment

How Does Tinnitus Effect a Person’s Quality of Life?

The degree to which tinnitus invades someone’s life depends on the volume, frequency, and duration of the unwanted sounds, and on the person’s reaction to the irritation. It’s interesting to note that tinnitus isn’t considered to be an illness or disease but as a reaction to a stimulus, the same way pain is a reaction to stimulated nerves.

In contrast to an illness where the goal of a doctor is to eliminate the physical cause leading to the illness, an audiologist must treat tinnitus more like a noise-generating disorder, and focus on controlling the brain’s perception of the noise. Of course, whether or not tinnitus is seen as an illness is unimportant, because the consequences of persistent bothersome tinnitus can cause sleep deprivation, fear, and depression….all of which can destroy a persons well being.

The World Health Organization categorizes the health impairments caused by tinnitus into 4 broad groups: (1) thoughts and emotions, (2) hearing, (3) sleep, and (4) concentration.

Persistent and bothersome tinnitus can promote a wide range of negative lifestyle effects, including fatigue, stress, sleep difficulties, trouble concentrating, memory problems, anxiety and irritability, and trouble with both work and family life. It can also interfere with hearing, understanding speech, and in extreme cases tinnitus can induce depression and thoughts of suicide. Psychiatric conditions are common with tinnitus patients, and studies indicate that 48-60 percent of tinnitus afflicted individuals show signs of major depression.

For the untreated, tinnitus can mean the end of quiet moments! But that future isn’t carved in stone. There are increasingly effective treatments for reducing the negative impacts of tinnitus. The first step in your  journey to recovery is a comprehensive evaluation of your tinnitus.

How is Tinnitus Evaluated?

Dr. Li-Korotky will conduct a comprehensive personal assessment of your symptoms, and then advise you of the most effective management options for alleviating those symptoms. A full tinnitus assessment takes up to 2 hours and includes:

  • a detailed case history to determine how the tinnitus is affecting you as a person
  • a comprehensive hearing assessment to determine possible hearing problems and their relationship to your tinnitus
  • a determination of possible underlying medical causes, and a possible referral to an ENT specialist for further discovery of medical causation.
  • matching the pitch and loudness of your tinnitus to known sounds to help the doctor counsel you effectively during the treatment phase
  • a measurement of your sensitivity to noise masking, and
  • recommendations for managing your tinnitus

 What Are The Goals of Tinnitus Management

The goal of tinnitus management is to “train your brain” to conclude that tinnitus is unimportant and should be ignored. This process is called habituation, and allows tinnitus patients to overlook the otherwise disturbing effects of tinnitus, the same way that many of us have learned to overlook the disturbing effects of a train whistle at night. The ultimate goal is to eliminate the loss of control that many patients experience with tinnitus.

Tinnitus treatments are highly personalized. They generally focus on reducing (managing) the negative emotions and reactions to tinnitus thru counseling, sound therapy, relaxation, and stress-reduction techniques. Hearing aids may be helpful for people who have hearing loss along with tinnitus.

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Tinnitus 2The End of Quiet Moments

Tinnitus is the perception of sounds that have no external source. Depending on the severity, tinnitus can promote a wide range of negative lifestyle effects…including depression and thoughts of suicide. Learn more, here

 

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Dr. Li-Korotky has the advanced education and training to provide extensive diagnostic services for the full range of hearing disorders, using the most innovative  technology in the region. Learn more, here

 

Dr. Li-Korotky is a Gold-level Professional member of the American Tinnitus Association.

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