Tinnitus can affect a person’s mental health and be very distressing
Tinnitus is a condition where a person experiences ringing, buzzing, or other noises in their ears or head, without any external source of the sound. It can be a chronic and distressing condition that can have significant effects on a person’s mental health and quality of life.
Tinnitus can cause a range of emotional and psychological symptoms, including anxiety, depression, irritability, anger, frustration, and sleep disturbances. It can also lead to social isolation, difficulty concentrating, and decreased quality of life. Some people may experience suicidal thoughts or tendencies as a result of the constant noise and distress caused by tinnitus.
The exact cause of tinnitus is still unknown, but it is believed to be related to damage to the inner ear, exposure to loud noises, or other medical conditions. While there is no known cure for tinnitus, there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms, including cognitive-behavioural therapy, sound therapy, and medication.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and sound therapy are two treatment approaches that can be helpful in managing the symptoms of tinnitus. Here’s a more detailed explanation of each:
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviours. In the context of tinnitus, CBT can help individuals develop coping strategies and change the way they think about their symptoms. A therapist who specializes in CBT for tinnitus may work with a patient to identify negative thoughts and beliefs related to their tinnitus and help them develop more positive, helpful ways of thinking. They may also teach relaxation techniques to help manage stress and anxiety related to tinnitus.
- Sound therapy: Sound therapy is a treatment approach that uses sound to manage tinnitus symptoms. There are several different types of sound therapy, including:
- Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): TRT uses a combination of sound therapy and counselling to help patients habituate to their tinnitus. This involves using a device that generates low-level background noise (such as a white noise machine) to help mask tinnitus’s sound while working with a therapist to develop coping strategies and reduce the emotional distress associated with tinnitus.
- Masking: Masking involves using external sounds (such as music or white noise) to help reduce the perception of tinnitus. This can be done using a device like a white noise machine or through the use of hearing aids or other wearable devices.
- Neuromodulation: Neuromodulation is a type of sound therapy that uses electrical stimulation to alter the activity of neurons in the brain. This can be done through the use of devices like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
An audiologist can be involved in the provision of sound therapy for tinnitus, as they are experts in the assessment and management of hearing-related conditions. They may conduct hearing tests to assess the extent of hearing loss (if any) that is contributing to tinnitus and recommend appropriate sound therapy options based on the individual’s needs and preferences.
Tinnitus can also be a very distressing condition when it interferes with sleep. Here are some tinnitus sleep solutions that we can recommend:
- Sound therapy: Adding a low-level, soothing background sound can help mask tinnitus and make it less noticeable. White noise machines or sound therapy apps can provide a variety of sounds that may help. Some people find that playing music or a favourite audiobook also helps distract them from tinnitus. For a tinnitus sleep solution, we can suggest some products from Sleep Solutions.
- Medications: Some medications, such as benzodiazepines or antidepressants, may help alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus and improve sleep. However, these medications can have side effects and should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
- Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes such as reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, exercising regularly, and practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing can also help manage tinnitus and improve sleep.
Overall, tinnitus can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health, and it is important for individuals experiencing tinnitus to seek medical support to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
If you are experiencing any tinnitus symptoms please get in touch with us or your GP for further investigation and to help with your discomfort.