Can Tinnitus Counselling Help?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Michael Leigh, Jun 19, 2017.

    1. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Can tinnitus counselling help?

      There are various kinds of treatments and coping methods for tinnitus that fit into four main categories: Sound therapy, medication, counselling and relaxation techniques. Most people are familiar with sound therapy. It has proven to be helpful relatively inexpensive and can easily be implemented. Medication such as clonazepam is known to help some people and will reduce the tinnitus to a low level or suppress it completely. Not always advisable to be taken long term due to dependency and unpleasant side effects that may result when taken in large dosages. Relaxation techniques including mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can be beneficial and is often group based.

      I believe tinnitus counselling with or without sound therapy to be the best treatment in helping a person habituate. Whether they are a newbie or someone that has been seasoned to tinnitus for a while and noticed a resurgence in the condition for one reason or another. Some people are apprehensive about counselling and question its efficacy due to the fact we are all different. I have had counselling twice as part of TRT and found it helpful on both occasions. People have contacted me over the years saying they found it beneficial and helped put them on the road to habituation and were thankful having tried it.

      It all depends what one expects from this kind of treatment and whether they will be able to find a suitable clinic that practices it. Perhaps more of a deciding factor and importance to some is the financial outlay. This treatment is not cheap and prices vary considerably especially when incorporated into TRT or CBT. Can it be justified when there is no guarantee of the level of success if any? That is something each person will have to decided for themselves, because it is too complex a question for me to answer.

      I will say having had this condition for many years, that tinnitus is an integral part of our mental health and cannot be separate from it, because it has a direct impact on our emotions. The more stressed we become the more intrusive it will be. Anything that helps us to relax will usually have a positive impact on the tinnitus and make it more tolerable and less intrusive. Counselling with a Hearing Therapist or Audiologist trained in the management of tinnitus can be of immense help and should be considered especially if a person is having difficulty coping and is already taking an antidepressant or similar medication.

      People have asked me how can counselling lower the tinnitus? Again, we are all different, but I advise anyone with this thinking to try and not be too negative. Of course be prudent and ask questions but approach it with an open mind as it can be all to easy to convince themselves that it won’t work, so you could be setting yourself up for failure before you have even begun. A therapist works with a patient is a specific way. First discussing how the tinnitus makes them feel and how it has impacted on their life. Often people say they have lost interest in the things they once liked doing, which is understandable. Those they are close to particularly loved one’s don’t understand what they are going through which can put a lot of to strain on a relationship.

      Through talk therapy a person learns to look at life differently and with a more positive outlook. Over time the negative thinking that is often associated with tinnitus is gradually dispelled and demystified. The therapist does this in a controlled and precise manner so that the patient feels relaxed and not pressured. In many instances the tinnitus is gradually pushed further into the background making it less prominent.

      I believe this is best done with a Hearing Therapist or Audiologist who has been trained in the management of tinnitus. Often these people have tinnitus or experienced it at some time in their life. Therefore, they will have a depth of understanding and be able to empathize with a patient rather than someone who is just a counsellor and having no experience with this condition.

      Michael
       
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    2. Tamara

      Tamara Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brasil
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Michael,
      I have tinnitus and hyperacusis. I am suffering greatly from these two conditions. I would like to know one thing: Which loud and pitch is white noise in TRT? it depends on the frequency and loud of the person's tinnitus? Or the person chooses the sound? Is the sound generator placed in both ears? There is no TRT in my city. I would need to travel to another city, and I can't stand the noise of the plane, even with hearing protection.
      I'm looking forward hearing from you.

      Sincerely,

      Tamara
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi @Tamara

      Please click on the links below and read my articles on TRT which will explain the treatment in full. The best way to have this treatment is FACE to FACE with a Hearing Therapist. Regular counselling sessions are needed and also to wear 2 white noise generators for up to 10hrs a day. At night use a sound machine by the bedside for sound enrichment. Treatment can last up to 2 years sometimes a little longer.

      Take your time and read the articles and try not to skim through them.

      Michael

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/trt-as-i-see-it.19555/

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/what-is-trt-and-when-should-it-be-started.19024/

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-a-personal-view.18668/

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-and-the-negative-mindset.23705/

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/acquiring-a-positive-mindset.23969/
       
    4. threefirefour
      Peeping tom

      threefirefour Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      California
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/15/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      140dB B R U H moment
      Are you still doing this?
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      It seems so. I have already explained that I am here to help people. If someone asks me for advice about something that I know, pertaining to tinnitus and the treatment of it then I will try to help that person.

      Michael
       
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    6. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Drugs barotrauma
      Micheal, how old are you? This is some serious 80s stuff, but I love the 80s, I grew up in that time frame, my fav is back to the future movies, I still think they are the best films around. TRT though? Does anyone still offer this therapy these days? My ENT told me that this was a huge 80s scam and that there was actually never any proof of concept after all these years? Is this true ? I was also told to stear clear of these and the other scams out there, and that there will be people online and elsewhere trying to sell TRT and other weird treatments without any evidence that it even works? I find that hard to believe because you seem like a honest nice guy, I mean you even use your real name! Im sure you can post some links to something that proves that this kind of treatment actually works and that it's actually real? Surely there are studies that prove this treatment is very effective after all these decades?? if not, I guess I will believe what my doctor says. Thanks :)
       
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    7. Paulmanlike

      Paulmanlike Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Telis how do you get that 'hall of fame' icon? And what drugs caused your tinnitus? Cheers.
       
    8. Cor

      Cor Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      The thing with TRT is that part of it is counseling and I think that counseling can be a really important part of the process of coping with tinnitus. Counseling and 2 years of time probably by itself already helps a lot of people cope, so attributing that to TRT is kind of sketchy.

      It's an interesting point though, are there any peer reviewed scientific papers about the efficacy of TRT?
       
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    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Thank you for your kind words Telis. Regarding my age, all I will say is that I’m over 21 and hope this will suffice. I don’t want to divulge too much about myself as keeping incognito is important to me and that’s why I do not use my real name. Michael Leigh is a pseudonym. I also grew up in the 80s and enjoy Back to the future movies and have the trilogy on DVD.

      I am sure your ENT doctor is an accomplished physician and is able to treat the ear medically or surgically but doubt he or she knows much about tinnitus, just has many people with tinnitus have found after having a consultation with their ENT doctor. It is the Hearing Therapists that work with tinnitus patients that know about the condition. Many of them were either born with it or acquired it at sometime in their life. They will have a depth of understanding and be able to empathize with a patient that most ENT doctors will be unable to do, as the majority them have never experienced tinnitus.

      There are various treatments for tinnitus but the most common are: Hearing aids. Sound therapy. Medication, white noise generators. Counselling, relaxation exercises which includes CBT Mindfulness therapy. Then there are TRT and CBT. Many people naturally habituate to tinnitus within the first 6 months to a year without treatment. However, when a person finds the condition problematic and they are unable to habituate. Treatments such as TRT and CBT are to be recommended and especially when hyperacusis is present. White noise generators can be effective treatment for this condition as they will desensitise the hypersensitivity of the auditory system.

      TRT and CBT are not cures but can be effective in helping a person to think differently about their tinnitus and this requires a retraining of the mind. These treatments require one to one counselling and can take up to two years. They are best administered by a Hearing Therapist. Ideally this health professional should have tinnitus for the reason’s I’ve mentioned above and many of them do. I have had TRT twice and found it helpful.

      Since TRT is outdated, perhaps you would like to suggest a more up to date treatment that is effective?
      I wish you well

      Michael
       
    10. Screamin Ears
      Crappy

      Screamin Ears Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      .
      What do you do when the WNG's cause your tinnitus to get louder, and the same thing with playing sound therapy while you sleep.
      A few months ago before my tinnitus got even louder i used to have 1 or 2 mornings a week when i would wake up with my tinnitus at a moderate level that would then become loud during the morning, when i was using sound therapy during the night my tinnitus would be very loud every morning.
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Using sound therapy is one of the best ways to help the habituation process. I have covered this in my articles: Tinnitus, A Personal View and Hyperacusis, As I see it. Go to my "started threads" to access them.

      If tinnitus becomes louder when using white noise generators or sound therapy at night, the usual reason is the "volume level" of the sounds are set too high. When using white noise generators, it is important to keep the volume slightly below the tinnitus. The white noise mustn't mask or cover up the tinnitus so it can't be heard. Also, the white noise generators, should be introduced slowly. Start by wearing then for 1 or two hours then take them off for the same amount of time. Slowly increase the wearing time over a few weeks until you are able to wear them for up to 8 or 10hrs a day.

      When using a "sound machine" at night for sound enrichment the same thing applies. Keep the volume level slightly lower than the tinnitus. If your tinnitus becomes worse or it spikes then keep the volume very low and slowly increase over time but be careful not to mask your tinnitus.

      Michael
       
    12. Screamin Ears
      Crappy

      Screamin Ears Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      .
      Any sound is below the level of my tinnitus, in a sound proof booth it takes about 70 db of broadband white noise to mask it, outside of a booth 85 db doesn't mask it.
      When i wear the WNG's i usualy have them set on the lowest setting and they still make my right ear ache and it starts to make a different ring, when using noise during the night i have it set below 40 db, i can have it set so that i can barely hear it and it still bothers my tinnitus.
       
    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      My suggestion is to keep trying. Set the volume at it's lowest level and see how it goes. Don't give up.
      Michael
       
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    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      @Screamin Ears

      Try wearing the white noise generators for just 1hr then take them off for 1hr. Then put them on for 1hr and then remove them for 1hr. Do this until you feel comfortable increasing the wearing time slowly. You should really be having tinnitus counselling with your Hearing Therapist when wearing white noise generators.

      Same with the sound machine at night. Keep the volume on it's lowest setting. If it's still too loud put a piece of cloth over the speaker to reduce sound more. It is important that you don't sleep in a quiet room. More about this is explained in my articles.

      Best of luck
      Michael
       
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