Sound therapy can be delivered through several different types of devices, including specialized hearing aids. A tinnitus hearing aid has sound therapy embedded in it, in addition to providing amplification. Other types of ear worn devices may provide only a masking sound (without amplification) or only amplification (without a masking sound.) The right device for you depends on your tinnitus, hearing level, and other factors. By working with a TTS audiologist you can learn about the best options for your unique situation.
Equally important as a device is the education and counseling that your clinician provides. Often patients experience anxiety, hopelessness, or are simply misinformed about tinnitus and how it can be treated. A device alone is unlikely to be sufficient for every patient; in our experience, the personal, customized treatment program we provide, including routine monitoring of your progress, is critical to your successful experience.
Research shows that 70-90% of clinically suitable candidates who have used sound therapy have achieved some level of long term relief (habituation). Many others successfully manage their tinnitus on an ongoing basis by having a tool they can use to get relief when they need it. Our treatment is comprised of the use of a handheld sound therapy device and/or tinnitus hearing aids combined with supportive patient education and counseling. This approach has both potential short term and long term benefit aspects to provide relief.
In order for you to find out the benefit sound therapy and/ or hearing aids may have for you, we offer a risk free trial. Even with the majority of patients getting better through habituation and achieving some short term benefit, the only real way to know if it will work for you is to try it. Every patient is different. We strongly encourage you to experience the benefit of customized sound therapy for yourself.
Sound therapy is the use of outside sounds to interfere with tinnitus, and/or to enable relaxation in conjunction with appropriate counseling in the treatment of tinnitus. People have always known that sounds can interfere with tinnitus, and sound therapy has been proven to be one of the most effective approaches to tinnitus management. Sound generating devices have been used formally as part of structured tinnitus treatment programs, and not simply as maskers, for about 30 years. Many kinds of sounds are used. Some are designed to be listened to actively (music, speech) and others are intended to be put into the background, or "tuned out", and listened to passively. Any sound tool should be used under the supervision of an audiologist who provides the necessary education and counseling to build the structured framework for a total approach to habituation.
Through habituation, patients find relief from their tinnitus in that:
1. They don't notice their tinnitus at all for long periods of time, or
2. They find it less bothersome if they do notice it.
This longer term relief that results from habituation may be experienced even when the patient is not listening to the sound therapy treatment tones. Note that this result is distinctly different from using music or other sounds to promote short term relaxation, or to temporarily distract from one's tinnitus by simply replacing the tinnitus with an alternative noise.
There is also a short-term benefit that patients report, in which they get relief while listening to sound therapy at low volumes that are softer than their tinnitus. A soft, low level, background treatment sound allows the patient to "tune out" the treatment tones from conscious awareness, and therefore to go on with normal daily activities such as reading, working, or having a conversation, without disruption.
For tinnitus treatment, the timing of results varies. A majority of patients experience a short term benefit. Approximately 70-90% of people have indicated that after several months or more of using a tinnitus device, they notice a reduction in both tinnitus volume and in how often they are bothered by their tinnitus. Other factors may also influence the speed of one's progress, such as responsiveness to patient counseling/education, one's ability to reduce stress, the effect of medications, or other factors.
Trying sound therapy and/or tinnitus hearing aids can help you to determine if you are able to incorporate use of the device(s) into your lifestyle comfortably and effectively. You may notice your tinnitus changing during this time, as you are introducing a new external stimulus that has been specifically designed to interrupt the tinnitus via a handheld sound therapy device or tinnitus hearing aids. Relief may be immediate, or may take some time to notice. Lack of an immediate or dramatic response does not mean the treatment is "not working" – it simply means that your auditory system may be taking longer to respond. In terms of treating hearing loss specifically, you will immediately notice an improvement in your hearing ability through the use of tinnitus hearing aids. Tinnitus hearing aids are designed to address both hearing loss and tinnitus.
I've been very impressed with the service I have received from TTS and from my provider at the clinic. I tried different hearing aids at three other offices, and I didn’t have any luck at all. I’ve been really pleased with my experience here. It’s really nice that my TTS audiologist has taken the time to follow up with me to make sure I’m happy and doing well. Everyone has been so nice and friendly, and I would recommend TTS to anyone with tinnitus.
I think the device has made a difference, certainly with regard to sleeping; prior to this I hadn't slept well for many weeks! I actually found today at work that I couldn't hear the sound, although as I write this I can hear it, but I think the device is giving me more confidence as well as a way to help get slightly more restful sleep.
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