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Why Counseling Is Key in Tinnitus Treatment

When you suffer from tinnitus, it can be challenging to find a viable solution to help you manage your symptoms. As tinnitus is a highly individualised experience, what tinnitus solution works for one person may not work for you. One tinnitus management solution that can help everyone learn to deal with their tinnitus is counselling with a qualified audiologist, as tinnitus can have a profound impact on your mental and emotional health.

Counselling as part of tinnitus treatment

Tinnitus Affects Your Mental And Emotional Health

A group of researchers discovered that those who suffered from tinnitus often process emotions more slowly than those without tinnitus. As the amygdala was continuously triggered by the tinnitus, the study participants’ brains had rewired themselves to handle the emotional feedback brought on by the tinnitus.

Aside from the purely physiological side effects, this rerouting and constant triggered state lead to a significantly lower quality of life for those suffering from tinnitus. According to the American Tinnitus Association, tinnitus also induces:

  • Frequent mood swings
  • Distress
  • Irritability
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lower concentration
  • Sleep interruptions

Over time, those who suffer from tinnitus can have their quality of life heavily impacted by these associated negative emotions, struggling with ongoing depression, social isolation, and in some rare cases, suicidal thoughts leading to suicide attempts.

How Counseling Helps Those With Tinnitus

Obviously, those with tinnitus must work with a mental health professional to develop strategies to manage the emotional side-effects. However, an audiologist can also provide you with a great deal of practical counselling to assist you in controlling your tinnitus.

While an audiologist is not a therapist, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) has been shown to be a successful way to manage tinnitus. TRT is when an audiologist helps you learn how to cope with your tinnitus so that it no longer impacts your daily life to the same extent.

An example of this is how you can hear the air conditioning when it first turns on, then you ignore the sound. Working with an audiologist through a TRT program can help you to do the same with your tinnitus. Some of the basics of a TRT program are:

  • Lifestyle information gathering - Depending on your personal habits, medical history, and other lifestyle information, an audiologist will have different recommendations for you to follow. Be completely honest as you work with the audiologist so that they can offer you the best help.
  • Recommended devices - There is often a connection between hearing loss and tinnitus. In the cases where this connection is present, an audiologist will recommend hearing aids with tinnitus management support features, and will potentially suggest other sound generators.
  • Stress-reduction techniques - Stress is often a trigger for tinnitus and can cause the volume of your tinnitus to increase. Counselling with an audiologist will cover effective stress-reduction techniques.
  • Tinnitus education - When counselling with an audiologist, the expert will provide you with tinnitus education. With a greater understanding of tinnitus, it is easier to implement management techniques in your day-to-day life.

If you have been struggling to manage your tinnitus even though you have tried various solutions, tinnitus counselling may be the missing key to your tinnitus treatment.

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Posted by Karen Simpson

Karen Simpson

Karen Simpson

Karen is a freelance writer from Utah and often writes about all things related to health, well-being, & home life. She began her career in the audiology industry shortly after her father’s hearing loss began to progress. She hopes to offer insight and information to anyone struggling with hearing loss or those caring for a loved one with hearing loss. As a mother of two, she enjoys travelling and spending time with her family when she isn’t writing.

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