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How to Treat Tinnitus

Editor: There’s no cure for tinnitus, but there are some treatments that can help people live with it. Here’s a story that discusses some of the things that work. Thanks to WHDH 7 NEWS in Boston for their permission to share it with you!

Tinnitus is a ringing in the ears that affects about 50,000,000 people in the U.S.

While it’s usually described as ringing in the ears, it can be whooshing, whistling, buzzing, even chirping crickets.

There’s no real cure, but there is a treatment for the severely affected.

They look like hearing aids but Jerry Shikora is not hard of hearing at all. He suffers from tinnitius.

“I was at my wit’s end because it really depressed me. You’re hearing this constant hushing sound in your ears 24 hours a day,” Shikora said.

Millions of Americans are like Jerry; Their tinnitus becomes debilitating. It’s what finally brought him to the League for the Hard of Hearing in New York. It’s an intensive, 18-24 month program called “tinnitus retraining therapy” that starts out with a comprehensive hearing evaluation to rule out any problems there, although tinntitus does not lead to hearing loss.

“Nobody knows the definite cause of tinnitus. It’s not anything out here okay, it’s all inside either your ear, or different parts of your brain that are actually generating the sound,” Ellen LaFargue of the League for the Hard of Hearing said.

The heart of the therapy is called “directive counseling.” It’s about teaching you to put psychological distance between you and the noise in your ears.

“We want you to concentrate on something else, yes it’s there, not a problem. And the idea is at the end of the therapeutic process that you will have habituated to the tinnitus meaning, you’re not going to hear it,” LaFargue said.

And for some patients there are the devices Jerry used for a while. They’re low-level noise generators, to give your brain something other than tinnitus to listen to.

“It saved my life. The TRT program did save my life,” Shikora said.

The “tinnitus retraining program” costs $2,000 for the first six months of appointments.

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