Tinnitus is a very common yet misunderstood problem. Unfortunately, many “just live with it”, but according to Dr. Prutsman, there is tinnitus relief.
HIGHLANDS RANCH, COLORADO, UNITED STATES, May 26, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — “Tinnitus is a common but often misunderstood symptom, which is why many people are still being told to ‘just live with it’,'” says Dr. Julie Prutsman, owner and founder of Sound Relief Hearing Center. She explains, “Fortunately, we can effectively manage and treat it today.”
“One of the reasons tinnitus is so difficult to treat is that it is a phantom sound generated somewhere along the auditory pathway from the ear to the brain. When a change occurs in the auditory system, regardless of the cause, neural circuits are often altered causing widespread activation of multiple centers in the brain.”
Dr. Prutsman expands on the difficulty of treating tinnitus, “Since each persons’ brain has its own unique map or footprint, no two people experience tinnitus the same. Determining how an individual’s brain is reacting to the tinnitus is essential in planning the best treatment approach.”
Depending on which center of the brain is activated the most will determine how a patient reacts to their tinnitus. For example, those who experience tinnitus as overactivation of the limbic system in their brain will react very emotionally; this can cause increased anxiety and depression. Additionally, individuals experiencing more activation of the autonomic nervous system will tend to avoid and flee loud places for fear that the tinnitus will worsen. Often times this avoidance is subconscious, and they do not realize this change in their behavior.¹
“Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge and understanding regarding tinnitus in the healthcare community leads to a confusing and/or disheartening prognosis. This contributes to feelings of hopelessness,” explains Dr. Prutsman, “which adds fuel to the vicious cycle of tinnitus.”
To make matters worse, Dr. Prutsman reports, “recent studies show 40% of people with tinnitus (pre-pandemic) are reporting a worsening of their symptoms because of the stress, isolation, and changes to routine.”
The good news is that although tinnitus can be a complex symptom affecting multiple areas in the brain, cortical reorganization is possible to reduce the tinnitus intensity and overall level of disturbance. When a whole system approach is used, like the one described by Dr. Prutsman, studies show that sound therapy is an effective option in treating tinnitus.²
Dr. Prutsman compares the treatment of tinnitus to diabetes. “There is no ‘cure’ for tinnitus, but diabetes cannot be ‘cured’ either. They can both be effectively managed. With diabetes, medication, diet, and exercise comprise the treatment. When dealing with tinnitus, a combination of prescriptive sound therapy, counseling, relaxation techniques, and mindfulness exercises make up the treatment. Ruling out underlying medical conditions that may contribute to tinnitus is the first step. Next, a comprehensive hearing test and tinnitus evaluation to determine where changes might be occurring along the auditory pathway from the ear to the brain.”
“There is no magic pill, surgical procedure, or quick fix to treat tinnitus, which is why people say there is nothing that can be done. However, tinnitus sufferers can manage tinnitus and find relief with prescriptive sound therapy and educational counseling often referred to as Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT). TRT creates a new auditory pathway and balances the overactivated systems in the brain,” explains Dr. Prutsman.
1 Jastreboff, P., & Hazell, J. (2004) Tinnitus Retraining Therapy: Implementing the Neurophysiological Model. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2 “Sound Therapies.” American Tinnitus Association, 5 Apr. 2018, www.ata.org/managing-your-tinnitus/treatment-options/sound-therapies.
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