Welcome to T-Minus. If you are new to tinnitus, it’s important you know from the outset that you are not alone. Tinnitus is very common, affecting up to 1 in 8 of the population and sounds can vary greatly from person to person.
You may have just begun experiencing new sounds or find that you have aspects of hearing loss. It’s important that you understand at these early stages that things will get better and there are a number of things you can do to help yourself.
We see there are 4 important steps from here
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 once these stages are taken into consideration.
Seek quality information and support from the best sources. Don’t let yourself fall into a state of despair when first experiencing tinnitus, it is so important for long term recovery that you begin to take action straight away.
Take yourself out of damaging situations, you may need to give your hearing mechanism a break, don’t continue to expose yourself to loud noises etc if your tinnitus is telling you not to.
Explore your local charity or authority on the condition and seek help if you need it. You can also reach out to us at T-Minus or join one of our ‘Tea with T-Minus’ peer to peer chats to talk things through with others in the same position or who successfully manage their tinnitus.
Take the time to manage both anxiety and stress as a priority and try to remember that things will get better over time.
The path to ‘ear’ wellness begins quite simply.
If symptoms are severe or persistent, go and see the doctor or general practitioner to share your symptoms and discuss next options. If you’re curious about the recommended care path for those with tinnitus, you can read the NICE guidelines here.
You may need to encourage your doctor to refer you to an Ear Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist. Once there, the tinnitus patient can be offered a scan or observation, a hearing test and finally a result as to what might be happening with your hearing issues. ENT consultants will largely check for physical or structural issues, including ear infections, ear wax build ups or damage.
Further to this meeting, a consultation with an audiologist to assess the results of hearing loss or damage can be discussed. The audiologist will likely perform a hearing test and highlight any possible lost frequencies. This Information already achieve a positive outcome, many find that hearing aids replace lost frequencies and in turn reduce tinnitus symptoms.
These early strategies have a positive effect and ensure that you do not feel isolated and that there are several routes back to normality. It also highlights any potential there is or is not a treatable physical cause such as Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and puts you on a road to treatment.
Discussions and good solid information relating to their tinnitus etc with good health practitioners slowly builds the journey of gaining inner confidence, through understanding the condition.
Stage 3 is to visit and connect with a hearing therapist. Some audiologists may have this expertise, or they should be able to put you 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, along with optional / additional coping strategies. The need to fully understand and decipher the professional advice is paramount to learning about oneself.
The hearing therapist will look to tackle the psychological association you have with your tinnitus, they should address your reactions, triggers, and coping tools. They should offer you the confidence that everyday sounds should not harm you, allowing you to learn and once again adapt to 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, your tinnitus management toolkit.
Tinnitus 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 monsters 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.
Now we come to the final stage of discovery. Effective management tools, such as those being designed at T-Minus are your ongoing resources to maintain a level of tinnitus you are content with and hopefully lead you on to habituation.
A deep confidence that the therapy is going somewhere is essential, look at the T-Minus app as being similar to circuit training. It will require discipline and determination. 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, no self-imposed isolation, and negative fixations will be a thing of the past.