What is Tinnitus and Sound Sensitivity?

Did you know over 90% of normal hearing people experience tinnitus? Tinnitus can be described as a ringing, whooshing, humming, buzzing, katydids, crickets, ocean waves, or even music sounds perceived with no outside source involved. These sounds may last for seconds or be constant. Tinnitus starts to be debilitating when it begins to interfere with the ability to concentrate or sleep.

The current cause of tinnitus may not be identified in all cases, but for some, common causes of tinnitus exacerbation may include: hearing loss, increase in stress levels, exposure to loud sounds, changes in medication, or recent colds or viruses.

At Advanced Otolaryngology and Audiology, we are also versed in the diagnosis and treatment of other forms of sound sensitivty, including:

Hyperacusis—patients experience a reduced tolerance to moderate and normal, everyday sounds.

Misophonia—the dislike of sound with an abnormally strong physiological response of the autonomic and limbic system. In certain misophonia cases, some individuals may have an emotional reaction to soft sounds only (typically anger reactions in an effort to remove negative stimulation); hearing can be normal; primary trigger sounds can be eating or breathing sounds.

Phonophobia—misophonia when fear is involved.

Construction workers in noise
Tinnitus therapy

Tinnitus and Sound Sensitivity Management and Treatment

Diagnosis of tinnitus begins with a case history and an in-office consultation where we will discuss symptoms and some therapy options. If a comprehensive evaluation is recommended, you will receive a full diagnostic workup consisting of a hearing evaluation to determine if a hearing loss is present, as well as optoacoustic emissions to evaluate inner ear function and obtain tinnitus parameters (loudness, pitch matching) and loudness discomfort levels. With this information we can recommend the appropriate therapy.

Although there is no “cure” for tinnitus, the treatments provided at Advanced Otolaryngology and Audiology have some of the highest success rates in reducing tinnitus awareness and disturbance. Dr. Phillips has been working with tinnitus and hyperacusis patients for over 10 years.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) was first developed by Pawell Jastreboff, Ph.D., Sc.D. in 1988. Dr. Phillips was trained by Dr. Jastreboff in 2000 at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. TRT uses a combination of counseling and sound generators to help patients reduce the awareness and disturbance of tinnitus. We DO NOT mask tinnitus as the brain will not learn to ignore something it is unable to detect. Typical tinnitus therapy alone may take 12-18 months, while therapy for hyperacusis can reduce sound sensitivity issues in as little as 3 months. Advanced Otolaryngology and Audiology is one of the only clinics in Northern Colorado to offer tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) to treat tinnitus, hyperacusis, misophonia and phonophobia.

Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment is another tinnitus treatment we provide at Advanced Otolaryngology and Audiology. Its core technology was conceived in 1993 and it was FDA-cleared in 2005. Neuromonics tinnitus treatment involves the use of a small medical processor that delivers an acoustic signal (embedded in music) at a comfortable listening level. This sound stimulates a wide range of auditory pathways and positively engages the emotional system and autonomic nervous system of the brain which in turn decreases disturbance from tinnitus over the course of the treatment. The average therapy may take approximately 6-8 months and clinical trials and research indicate over a 90% success in the reduction of tinnitus awareness and disturbance. Other results reveal better relaxation, sleep, and overall improved quality of life.

Contact us today to schedule your appointment and experience relief from the ringing.

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2001 South Shields
Bldg. E, Suite 101
Fort Collins, CO 80526

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2001 South Shields
Bldg. E, Suite 101
Fort Collins, CO 80526