Tinnitus

Hearelief offers extensive assessment, counselling, and individually tailored tinnitus and sound intolerance management programs, for both adults and children.

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Do you have ringing in your ears?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound when there is no externalsound present. It is usually perceived in our ears or head as a buzzing, ringing, cicada or humming sound.

Tinnitus refers to the perception of sound when there is not external sound present. It is usually perceived in our ears or head as a buzzing, ringing, cicada or humming sound. Sometimes it may be heard as music or whooshing sound. Tinnitus may be constant, intermittent and may at times pulse in time with your heart. You may hear one or multiple sounds and at times these sounds may alter in pitch.

Tinnitus is very common, affecting around 20% of the Australian adult population. It occurs in both adults and children. Most people will perceive tinnitus if they listen for it in very quiet situations. The perception of sound is real and each person’s experience is different. Some people perceive and experience their tinnitus with little intrusion or consequence, however, for those who suffer from tinnitus the sound can be highly intrusive and distressing.

Factors that are commonly attributed to triggering or exacerbating tinnitus include hearing loss, noise exposure, ear wax impaction, middle ear dysfunction, poor health, fatigue. temporomandibular joint difficulties, injuries to the head or neck, increased or chronic stress and some medications. There are also times where the trigger can not be identified.

Often tinnitus appears to lessen and become quieter, people often become used to it and only hear it if they specifically listen for it. This process is known as habituation and is the goal of tinnitus management. Not only does the tinnitus become less noticeable but the degree of distress and annoyance associated with the sound is also decreased. Many people habituate to their tinnitus spontaneously whereas for others their tinnitus becomes intrusive and causes increasing irritation and distress. In these cases tinnitus can impact significantly on your general well-being.

Along with tinnitus management, Hearelief also assissts people with a range of sound intolerances including; hyperacusis, misophonia and acoustic shock injury.

Hyperacusis and sound intolerance can be mistaken for numerous other treatable disorders, so it is important to get a proper Sound Intolerance Assessment before diagnosing treatment. As well as addressing any underlying causes.

Contact Hearelief to see how we can help assess and manage your tinnitus and sound intolerance.

“Susan went above and beyond to assist me to teach me strategies to deal with my tinnitus. I was never left to question at any stage. The appointment was professional and structured, and I felt I was in safe and secure hands.”
Lisa

Tinnitus management

Hearelief is a tinnitus specialist with extensive experience. We are actively engaged in research to assist in supporting and helping, both adults and children, to habituate to their tinnitus.

Hearelief’s tinnitus assessment and management programs are holistic and evidence-based. We understand that each person’s experience of tinnitus is unique, and that how tinnitus impacts upon your life and sense of well-being is individual to you. Each tinnitus management program is tailored specifically for you and your needs.

Tinnitus assessments and evaluation are valuable for anyone experiencing tinnitus, however they are strongly recommended if:

  • The tinnitus is heard in only one ear.
  • If the tinnitus is pulsatile (beats in time with your heart).
  • Affects your sense of well being.
  • Develops or changes suddenlyIs accompanied by hearing difficulties.
  • Affects your ability to sleepInterferes with your concentration.

Research has shown that understanding tinnitus, and the mechanisms underlying it, significantly improves habituation. Hearelief ensures that you understand your tinnitus, the factors likely to be associated with its development, and strategies to promote habituation.

For some people their tinnitus distress is such that a multidisciplinary approach is advised. In these cases we may call on a combination of general practitioners, ear nose and throat specialists, psychologists, specialist physiotherapists, temporomandibular joint specialists, dentists and sleep specialists to fully treat the tinnitus.

How you experience your tinnitus and how you habituate to it can be influenced by the interaction between

  • Your understanding of tinnitus, the underlying mechanisms and how they relate to your experience.
  • Your strategies for coping with the tinnitus.
  • Your stress levels.
  • The availability of emotional support.

Speak to our qualified audiologist to find out how we can help assess and manage your tinnitus.

Tinnitus assessments

Hearelief provides individualised, evidence-based tinnitus management programs designed to assist you to habituate to your tinnitus. Tinnitus assessments lasts for 1½ hours and cost $180. You may be entitled to a rebate through Medicare or your health insurance.

Hearelief’s tinnitus management programs are designed to assist you to develop a deeper understanding of your tinnitus. We give you strategies to take control of the tinnitus and lessen the symptoms you  experience.

Tinnitus programs include self-management strategies, to match your lifestyle and preferred coping style, that have been shown to improve tinnitus habituation. The strategies are based on cognitive behaviour therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, environmental sound enrichment, relaxation and stress reduction techniques. They may aslo involve sound based therapies such as Neuromonics™.

All of our programs are individually tailored and monitored. The length of the program is determined by your needs. For people who have difficulty attending the clinic, a variety of on-line and tele-audiology service options are available.

During a tinnitus assessment, we thoroughly explore the nature of the sounds you hear, their duration and impact during your daily life. We run a full diagnostic hearing assessment and explore the factors contributing to your tinnitus distress. We discuss the nature of your tinnitus, how it develops and how distress is perpetuated. We then tailor a management program to your specific situation to reduce your tinnitus awareness and distress, and support your progress through it.

Tinnitus management programs may include hearing aids if you also have a hearing loss, as addressing underlying hearing difficulties can help to reduce tinnitus awareness. People often feel that their tinnitus is responsible for their difficulties hearing and communicating, however, these issues are often associated with an underlying hearing loss of which the tinnitus is a symptom. If you have a tinnitus and hearing loss, well fitted hearing aids will help to manage both conditions by improving awareness of external environmental sounds and reducing your awareness of the tinnitus.

Tinnitus Assessment
  • Thorough case history.
  • Full hearing assessment.
  • Exploration of contributing factors.
  • Sound intolerance education.
  • Development of a tailored management program.
  • Time: 1½ hours.
  • Cost: $180.
Book a Tinnitus Assessment
“My daughter has tinnitus. Susan gives as wonderful tips to help my daughter and they work extremely well. Since seeing Susan my daughter has improved in leaps and bounds!”
Tash

Sound intolerances, hyperacusis, misophonia and acoustic shock injury

Sound intolerances refer to when specific noises cause pain, physical discomfort or emotional distress. They are often accompanied by high levels of anxiety and can place significant restrictions on the lives of those affected and their loved ones.

Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis is an abnormal intolerance to everyday sounds. People with hyperacusis can find ordinary sounds intolerably loud, to the point of causing discomfort and pain. This can cause significant distress and affect a person’s day-to-day life and wellbeing.

Sounds that are commonly association with hyperacusis include sudden, loud, impact or sustained sounds, particularly if they are close or unexpected. It is believed that hyperacusis is associated with a perceived threat being aligned with those noises. The perceived threat may be conscious or subconscious.

Hyperacuis is often associated with tinnitus but can occur without it. It can also occur in association with many conditions that affect the auditory pathway – autism spectrum disorder, neurological disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, an adverse medication reaction, with fibromyalgia and some psychiatric disorders.

Misophonia

Misophonia is an intense adverse reaction to specific sounds or noises. The response is often an intense sense of anger, disgust or annoyance that occurs regardless of the volume of the sound.

Sounds that are frequently associated with misophonia include chewing, swallowing and breathing noises, often from specific people, as well as repetitive sounds. Misophonia develops when noises are regarded, consciously or subconsciously, as intruding into a person’s personal space.

Both misophonia and hyperacusis can range from mild to extreme and both conditions have the potential to accelerate if not managed. Both conditions are responsive to management. While complete desensitisation may not always be practical, partial desensitisation can significantly improve a person’s quality of life by reducing the degree of distress, anxiety and auditory hypervigalence associated with triggering sounds.

Acoustic Shock Injury

Acoustic Shock Disorder refers to a traumatic response following exposure to a sudden and unanticipated sound where the exposure has been frightening, threatening or coincided with a traumatic event. The exposure creates a specific cluster of both psychological and neurophysiological symptoms. These symptoms are real and traumatic.

Contact Hearelief to learn more about sound intolerances and how we can help you.

Sound intolerance assessments

Hearelief offers extensive assessment, counselling, information and individually tailored sound intolerance management programs, for both adults and children. Sound Intolerance Assessments last for 1½ hours and cost $180. You may be entitled to a rebate through Medicare or your health insurance.

During a Sound Intolerance Assessment we take a thorough case history exploring the nature of your sound intolerance, its duration, progress and impact on your daily life. We also do a full diagnostic hearing assessment and explore the factors contributing to your sound intolerance and distress. We then tailor a management program to promote desensitisation and support you through the process.

Our programs include sound intolerance education to assist you to understand why sounds became intolerable, neuroplasticity of the auditory system and how desensitisation can be promoted.

Sound intolerance programs also include self-management strategies to promote desensitisation and increase sound tolerance by reducing anxiety, distress, auditory hypervigilance and reducing lifestyle limitations. Strategies are recommended in consultation with you to match your lifestyle and preferred coping styles.

The strategies are based on cognitive behaviour therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, environmental sound enrichment, relaxation and stress reduction techniques.

Sound Intolerance Assessment
  • Thorough case history.
  • Full hearing assessment.
  • Exploration of contributing factors.
  • Sound intolerance education.
  • Development of a tailored management program.
  • Time: 1½ hours.
  • Cost: $180.
Book a Sound Intolerance Assessment
Sound intolerance counselling sessions assist you to:
  • Gently challenge and adjust the subconscious and conscious maladaptive thought processes that feed the sound intolerance.
  • Adopt strategies that reduce auditory hypervigilance and reduce lifestyle limitations.
  • Implement techniques to manage the intense emotional responses that you experience when exposed to intolerable sounds.

Cautious use of ear protection through the use of musician ear plugs may be employed to enhance the reduction of lifestyle limitations.

All of our programs are individually tailored and monitored. The length of the program is determined by your needs. For people who have difficulty attending the clinic, a variety of on-line and tele-audiology service options are available.

For many clients, our Sound Intolerance Assessment will provide enough information, support and guidance to help you on your journey towards sound intolerance desensitisation. However, for some people, the degree of sound intolerance, and the distress experienced, will need further support and assistance during additional appointments.

Contact us to make your hearing the best it can be.

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Camberwell

Cranbourne West

Cranbourne North