What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus – from the Latin verb “to jingle” – is an involuntary sound perception originating inside the head. In about 80 – 85% of cases, tinnitus is accompanied by hearing loss, but it can also be caused by exposure to loud sounds, accidents, ear infection, ageing or stress.
Much research is being done to find a cure for tinnitus. Currently sound therapy combined with informed counselling has been shown to be the most effective type of tinnitus management, helping people live better lives.
Sound therapy involves the introduction of sounds to help reduce the contrast of the tinnitus to the background environment. It is most effective when combined with a tinnitus management plan that includes counselling. You should seek guidance from your hearing care professional to discover the right sound therapy for you.
Defining your goal
As there is no know cure for tinnitus, any expectation of completely eliminating the tinnitus is most likely unrealistic. However, most tinnitus management plans agree that habituating to the tinnitus, and the reaction from the tinnitus are the ultimate goals.
Breaking the vicious cycle
For some, tinnitus can prompt a number a emotions, including fear, danger and unhappiness. This can lead to physical reactions like anxiety and stress. These reactions often make the tinnitus perception worse, thus establishing a vicious cycle. Ultimately the aim is to break this cycle with tinnitus management.
What can you do?
Good dietary and lifestyle habits
For some, reducing consumption of sodium and caffeine may help diminish the perceived strength of the tinnitus signal. In addition, the overall benefits of moderate exercise can aid in stress reduction, general health, sleep patterns ect.
By occupying your time with a variety of enjoyable activities and engage in tasks that require attention, less time may be spent focusing on the tinnitus.
Avoid complete silence
By adding some light background sound (e.g. music, TV), the strength of the tinnitus signal will be reduced against the introduced background sound. The background sound can also be useful during quiet times or when trying to fall asleep.
Wear hearing protection only when needed
Inappropriate use of hearing protection can increase the sensitivity of the hearing system, making you more aware of your tinnitus. Hearing protection should only be used when exposed to hazardous levels of noise that could damage hearing and potentially make the tinnitus worse. Hazardous levels of noise can severely damage the inner ear. Greater damage to the inner ear could intensify the tinnitus.
How can the app help?
The ReSound Relief app uses a combination of sound therapy and relaxing exercises that aim to distract your brain from focusing on tinnitus. Over time the brain learns to focus less on the tinnitus, and more on sounds that are important to you.
The app lets you manage your personal library of sound therapy files. It will also track your usage, so you can see which sounds work best for you, and it contains some secondary stimuli like colours and audio exercises to help keep your mind occupied.
Use the app when your tinnitus feels overwhelming or when you simply want to introduce background sounds. This will help distract you from your tinnitus.