Let’s start by defining tinnitus — ‘the perception of sound in the absence of external sound’. What this basically means is that sounds, like ringing in the ears, whistling or buzzing, can only be heard by the person affected.
An estimated 10-15% of a population has tinnitus but most cases go untreated. This is due to a lack of information and the fact that most people are unaware of who will understand and assist them. While some cases are minor, some require more specific treatment to overcome possible long term effects. These may vary from sleep disorders and trouble focusing to stress or becoming socially reclusive.
While millions of people experience the distress of tinnitus, only few are aware of the methods used to relieve themselves of this unwanted companion. Although there is no cure for tinnitus, you’ll be relieved to know that there are various effective forms of counseling and treatments available. Once you’re aware of it, the first step is to speak to a tinnitus specialist near you for more in-depth information.
Thanks to the Phonak Tinnitus Balance Portfolio, relief from and management of your tinnitus is within reach. The key elements of the Portfolio work together to help you manage your tinnitus effectively and include: a range of comfortable, discreet Phonak Tinnitus Balance hearing aids “including” a noise generator that distracts you from your tinnitus, a smartphone app that allows you to customize a library of in-ear sounds and music, and a product that streams sounds directly to your hearing aids.
Acute tinnitus: Sudden onset of ringing in the ears, with no explanation, and lasting less than three months. Any sudden change in your hearing or ears should lead you to an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT). This includes acute tinnitus, any noticeable change to your sense of hearing or the sound of the world around you. Many ailments are totally treatable - but they need to be treated early.
Chronic tinnitus: A consistent ringing in the ears, lasting longer than three months. We strongly recommend consulting a hearing care professional who is trained and experienced in treating tinnitus patients. These professionals have in-depth knowledge of different tinnitus treatment options and will thoroughly discuss your individual needs and possible solutions with you.
There is no standard procedure for the diagnosis or management of tinnitus, but you can expect to cover a few basic steps in your assessment. Don't be put off or concerned by the hearing test – most people with chronic tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss, often very mild and barely noticeable. This is why a hearing test always goes hand-in-hand with the tinnitus assessment.
Step 1: Tinnitus assessment via a questionnaire
Step 2: Tinnitus analysis and hearing test
Step 3: Explanation of your individual results of step 1 and 2
Step 4: Explanation which products within Phonak's Tinnitus Balance Portfolio are recommended for your unique tinnitus
Step 5: Counseling and goal setting
Optional referral to other professionals e.g. ENT, physiotherapist, dentist.