Tinnitus is an emotionally charged and sometimes scary disorder that is often misunderstood and downplayed in importance. People with tinnitus experience a perception of sound often heard as ringing, roaring, hissing or clicking, and this condition can often cause trouble hearing, working or even sleeping. Over 50 million Americans (1 in 5 people) are affected by tinnitus, and what many people may not know about the disorder is that it is not a disease in itself, but a common symptom of something occurring within the hearing system.
The direct cause of tinnitus can vary; however, it is important to conduct a thorough assessment with your audiologist and physician to rule out any immediate health concerns and begin a tinnitus management program. At Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic, we’ve established a compassionate and empathetic approach to tinnitus management, working alongside your physician and other health care providers to bring you an individualized and evidence-based rehabilitation plan.
When properly managed, many of the often life-altering components of tinnitus can be drastically alleviated. The program at ESHC offers five steps toward relief from bothersome tinnitus:
- Diagnostic assessment: Proper management of tinnitus requires a fundamental re-programming of the brain’s response to a sensory perception. Our comprehensive work-up is necessary to both rule out any serious underlying medical condition and to reassure the brain that a “fight or flight” type response to the tinnitus is not required.
- Counseling about Tinnitus: Knowledge is power! In many patients, simply ruling out any serious medical condition and understanding how the brain works in response to sensory input is sufficient to mediate the problem. Our staff of highly trained Doctors of Audiology will spend time with each patient, helping them to understand the nature of tinnitus, factors that will impact the sound perception, and strategies for reducing the annoyance and perception of the symptoms.
- Medical consultation to rule out diseases associated with tinnitus: Patient health and wellbeing is our highest priority. We work to maintain lines of communication between our patients and their physicians to ensure that appropriate referrals are made. Referring physicians receive detailed reports of all tests with appropriate recommendations, including follow-up summaries with outcome measures for any recommended rehabilitation.
- Extended and specific tinnitus management options: In many cases, counseling with specific self-directed strategies is sufficient to manage tinnitus symptoms. If hearing loss is present, the use of amplification may be indicated. For patients with more severe issues, direct sound therapies may be more appropriate and are available. Our staff has access to the latest, most sophisticated, and evidence-based hearing systems on the current market. Your Audiologist will take the time to review your individual needs and establish a customized solution for you.
- Outcome verification: A program is only as good as its outcomes. We follow our patients, charting changes in tinnitus perception and annoyance at regular intervals over a period of six months. If a patient is not receiving appropriate improvements in their symptoms, changes can be made to the rehabilitation approach. Outcomes are communicated with the referring physician and are shared with the patient each step of the way.
Call Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic at (425) 454-1883 for more information or to schedule an appointment.