TINNITUS AND TINNITUS MASKING
The word tinnitus comes from the Latin "tinnire" and literally means a sensation of ringing in the ears.
There are many auditory disorders that can lead to tinnitus (middle ear, inner ear and higher order pathways) however the specific mechanisms are not fully understood and there is no single treatment that has proven effective in treating the problem although the new research on Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) is very encouraging. Persistent tinnitus is one of the most psychologically disabling conditions that can be experienced. Often there are other associated problems eg. hyperacusis that are also very distressing or disabling for the individual.
Explanation of Masking Techniques
Masking or low level white noise from external sources is introduced to assist in covering the tinnitus, providing distraction or offering psychological space for the individual to assist in breaking the focus or preoccupation with the tinnitus. The various techniques that can be used successfully to treat tinnitus include.
* Background music
* White noise generated by FM radio (being set off station)
* Audiologic clock and/or other environmental sound masking
* Tinnitus maskers or Low level white noise generators
Fitting and Evaluation of Hearing Instrument
Following medical clearance and audiological assessment the Audiologist may recommend a hearing instrument. This device may be either a hearing aid ,white noise generator, tinnitus masker or a combination device. The following are all taken into consideration in the treatment of tinnitus.
* Hearing Aid
* Masking device
* Low level white noise generator
* Appropriate earmould or ear protection