3 steps for confidence & route through sound therapy.

Rupert Brown

02/09/2020

In my personal experience, I see there being three key steps to supporting the tinnitus patient.

A word that seldom gets used when strategically moving from one key area to the next is ‘CONFIDENCE’. Deep confidence in one’s hearing mechanism is vital to beginning the process of tinnitus healing and this can only exist if the following two stages are taken into consideration first. 

The path to ‘ear’ wellness begins quite simply..

Stage 1.

Medical Attention

Go and see the doctor or general practitioner to receive their advice and to arrange a consultation with an ENT specialist.

Once at the ENT, the tinnitus patient may be offered a scan, a hearing test and finally a ‘result’ as to what might be happening with their hearing issues. Here the patient can begin to understand any potential physical causes for their tinnitus, get treatments and gain greater understanding of their own condition.

Further to this meeting a consultation with an audiologist to assess the results of hearing loss or damage can be discussed. Information pertaining to the patient’s condition can already achieve a positive outcome eg: hearing aids, tinnitus maskers, connections to tinnitus groups. All of these simple strategies have a positive effect on the patient and ensure that the person does not feel isolated and that there are several routes back to normality.

Discussions and quality information from good health practitioners relating to tinnitus, will contribute to slowly building inner confidence, through understanding the condition.

Confidence from understanding (on a deep level) that the person is not losing their mind and that the sadness and sense of loss and in some cases post-traumatic stress is completely understandable. 1 a. Confidence that there is or is not a treatable physical cause such as a tumour, Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) etc.

Stage 2

Hearing Therapy

Is to visit and connect with a hearing therapist. Some audiologists may have this expertise or they will be able to put the patient directly in touch with such a person.

A tinnitus hearing therapist will offer further tinnitus related information and advice and be able to discuss a personal plan of action and optional / additional coping strategies. The need to fully understand and decipher the professional advice is paramount to learning about oneself. Lastly, having the ‘Confidence’ and knowing that sound will not harm you and learning to once again adapt and enjoy a wonderful world of sound and noise.

Without confronting and going back into the awareness of owning and confronting the tinnitus then the patient will not be ready for the next stage “SOUND THERAPY”. There are numerous psychological factors at play in these sound therapy meetings and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and other strategies are utilised to work with you at re-framing the tinnitus sounds.

I know from my own situation, by not truly accepting and always being afraid that one day my tinnitus might get really bad, that patients rarely want to discuss personal tinnitus, when they feel their tinnitus is roughly under control. We all have feared the notion of ‘rattling the tinnitus monster’s cave’. But through professional intervention we don’t just merely stroke the monster, we learn to let it out of the cage to wander freely and bathe in the sunshine. Finally we turn the monster into a docile pet and then eventually say goodbye.

Stage 3

Sound Therapy

Now I come to the third and final stage of discovery. Correct, unique and ‘weaponised’ sound therapy. The correct tinnitus sound therapy relies on the quality of the content and provision. The T-Minus sound therapy follows a distinct path for the patient to finally realise that exiting the “tinnitus maze” is a real option. A profoundly deep confidence that the therapy is going somewhere is essential. I would look at the T-Minus app as being similar to circuit training. It will require discipline and determination but the incredible outcome will be immensely worth the effort. The user will eventually end up being curious enough and confident enough to go out and explore the sounds that envelop their hearing world again, to let the associated noises and frequencies back in and to have happiness in the knowledge that their control of the tinnitus becomes finite. There will be no hiding from the problem and exasperating the condition and self-imposed isolation and negative fixations will be a thing of the past.

 These simple steps allow the patient to continue moving further into a brave new world of ‘self-empowerment, self-management’ and therefore taking back control of their auditory environment and of their whole life again.

WHY IS T-MINUS DIFFERENT? 

 

• Other sound therapies are designed to mask or keep a user in homeostasis – to give short term solutions and a short term relief – no long term plan to move people on.

• The T-Minus sound therapy was designed to lead users through a path and out the other side of the ‘tinnitus maze’

.

 The T-Minus Sound therapy and App have a potential exit strategy built into it, meaning that after completing the course (however long it takes) there is an end in sight, where the user should fully regain total control of their auditory surroundings and begin to exist in a world of sound with complete confidence and happiness.

 

Essentially there are five main categories 

  1. Environmental 
  2. Industrial 
  3. Super nature ( where environment meets industry ) 
  4. Tones , noises, frequencies 
  5. Sleep / anxiety 
  1. Users begin with the ENVIRONMENTAL SERIES. A gentle, pleasant introduction to sound therapy, easy to listen to. Sounds such as flowing water, crackling fires, crunching leaves, things that already have positive connotations in our minds. These tracks don’t have scary surprises, no loud sounds to shock or scare the user but they do follow the therapeutic area of fractal tones, non – looped sounds and music that changes and alters and doesn’t  follow an obvious melody. For me it  was paramount to avoid ‘new age’ and ‘classical’ based subject matters. The overall aim is to build auditory confidence and begin the process of transforming the individuals perception of sound. It’s so important for the patient to believe and know that outside sounds won’t hurt. We introduce the idea of finding safe havens in your everyday auditory world, whether it be by putting yourself near to the sea, near to a warm hot crackling open fire, a bubbling water fall and a plethora of naturally occurring sounds that can sooth and calm the individuals tinnitus.

 

  1. I then move the user onto the INDUSTRIAL SERIES. Because many of us live in urban environments, take trains, travel in cars , planes, motorbikes etc, it is important that we include the myriad of sounds and noises that are derived from these diverse types of transportation. The key is to not hide from these sounds, they can be scary or feel harmful to the tinnitus sufferer and so have to be reframed in a way to gently reintroduce them. Toned down and carefully EQ’d recordings of planes, trains, boats and automobiles and associated sounds most certainly have their own charm and can carry the most positive of connotations. If the connection is re-wired and re-worked it is then very possible to take those sounds and give them back to the user in a more palatable and less threatening manner. Invoking old memories of safety and wonderment via using the sounds of steam trains, a Citroen 2cv turning in a gravel drive etc the subject matter soundscapes become far less obtrusive and position them further back into the mind of the sufferer. The user can start to use this building block of frequencies to help work on playing with sounds and having fun with interesting stimulating noises once more. By desensitising oneself to these everyday sounds, we are able to distinguish reality from fiction. When we find ourselves confronted by them in the real world, we know it will not harm us.

 

  1. Supernature explores how these sounds blend into everyday environments – reintroducing tougher landscapes, but also showing how together they can heal us with their own alluring beauty. For example a drive down a long Californian road with the beach and sea at your side – a mixture of nature and industry that collide and form positive outcomes. These are real environments, at times less predictable but aimed at desensitising, reducing the associated shock from sounds and still providing a strong, comfortable musical narrative.

 

  1. The next stage takes the listener away from the supporting music and offers just unmusical sounds from many different environments – sounds which in some case have been blended , but in others exist in the world around as beautiful tinnitus masking frequencies. We encourage users to continue building confidence and to listen to the sound environments, filling in the gaps with their own story or narrative, adding their own thoughts and feelings.

Once the user / listener begins to adapt to this series it becomes more thrilling to take this new found awareness onto the street and learn to engage in the natural or unnatural masking sounds that we all happily coexist with. 

 

  1. The next stages are based more around making it fun to listen again, we explore sleep and a number of other themes, they are designed to remind the listener that there is a world of sound and music around to explore, they support the user with tinnitus specific sounds and frequencies for ongoing play and experimentation. Users are encouraged to remember that sound and hearing greatly benefits all of our lives. In order to preserve, strengthen, practice and grow this special sense, we must gently remind ourselves that sound experiences through enrichment are not to be feared but explored and enjoyed.

Return to blog...