What is tinnitus?

People with tinnitus hear a sound in one or both their ears that cannot be linked to any external source. This is sometimes described as a ‘ringing in the ears’, but it can also be a whizzing, roaring, buzzing, hissing or another type of continuous noise. It may be high or low-pitched, and the volume may vary over time.

What causes tinnitus?

The onset of tinnitus is often linked to hearing loss or damage to the affected ear(s) through ear infections or diseases, the use of certain drugs, noise exposure, stress, or as part of the natural aging process.

Whatever the cause, the damage creates an interruption of the signal from the ear to the auditory cortex (the part of the brain that controls hearing). The brain tries to compensate and in doing so, it sometimes creates and learns to repeat a new phantom sound – the tinnitus tone.

Living with tinnitus

It is estimated that around seven million people in the UK have experienced tinnitus at one time or another. In some cases, the tinnitus will fade within hours or days.  However, in others the tinnitus sound can continue for months or years, affecting sleep patterns, concentration and overall quality of life.

The Tinnitus Clinic at Spire Shawfair Hospital in Edinburgh is an audiological practice which specialises in the management and treatment of tinnitus. Depending on your medical history and the type of tinnitus you have, your audiologist will recommend an appropriate treatment option that best suits your tinnitus symptoms, budget and lifestyle.

Click here for more information about The Tinnitus Clinic

Acoustic CR® Neuromodulation

The Tinnitus Clinic is the sole UK provider of Acoustic CR® Neuromodulation which targets your specific tinnitus sound using a Neurostimulator device and a set of medical headphones.

Extensively tested in Europe, Acoustic CR® Neuromodulation has been shown in a clinical trial and patient studies to significantly reduce the symptoms of tinnitus in 7 out of 10 cases. During the treatment process, your device is programmed with a set of tones that have been calculated specifically to treat your tinnitus. It aims to provide sustainable, long-term relief from your tinnitus.

Environmental Sound Enrichment

Environmental sound enrichment increases the amount of background noise around you to reduce the impact of your tinnitus. To achieve this, our audiologists may recommend the use of an ambient sound generator. The purpose of the device is to make your tinnitus less noticeable in quiet environments and to provide stimulation to the auditory system in order to reduce the invasiveness of your tinnitus.

Tinnitus Desensitisation Therapy (TDT)

TDT is a mixture of tinnitus specific counselling together with sound therapy and relaxation techniques. Customised hearing devices are programmed with a specific acoustic prescription that closely matches the pitch of your tinnitus. TDT is aimed at redirecting your brain’s attention away from the tinnitus signal and thereby enabling the natural habituation process to occur.

Relaxation training

You may have noticed that your tinnitus is worse if you are anxious or tired. The Tinnitus Clinic audiologists will teach you relaxation techniques to help reduce the loudness of your tinnitus, and its effects on your stress levels and everyday life. For example our audiologists will train you in breathing and muscle relaxation techniques and give you the skills to introduce this into your daily routine.

Sleep counselling

As tinnitus becomes more noticeable in a quiet environment, it may affect your sleep patterns: either preventing you from falling asleep or waking you up. Sleep counselling reduces your anxiety about your tinnitus, reduces negative thoughts and lowers stress levels when you are trying to sleep. The counselling process aims to change your attitude to tinnitus, and so improve the quality of your sleep.

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