The New York Times on Tinnitus & Tinnitus “Cures”
The New York Times features another blogger and her experience with tinnitus. I think in many ways, she accurately described the experience of many tinnitus sufferers in the following paragraph:
Dr. Cima said in an interview that, like me, most people with tinnitus function fairly well. But for about 3 percent of people with the condition, it is extremely disabling, causing intense distress, fear and anxiety, and leaving them unable to function.
The author also cautions individuals to be skeptical of individuals marketing total “tinnitus cures” (which you’ll find plenty of on the internet):
Until recently, no treatment had been shown to have lasting effectiveness in controlled clinical trials, despite a host of remedies variously endorsed by hearing specialists and commercial interests…
…A cure may emerge from findings of changes in the brains of tinnitus patients that are being revealed through sophisticated imaging techniques.
A new study which apparently involves an improved version of CBT to treat the mental anguish caused by tinnitus is discussed in the blog post – in effect, a discussion of “harm reduction” in the context of tinnitus (as opposed to treatment):
Recently Dr. Cima’s team demonstrated the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary, psychology-based approach to this problem. The technique, published last spring in The Lancet, does not make the ringing go away, but it does show that now there is real hope for relief for people whose tinnitus impairs their ability to work, sleep and enjoy life.
The three-month treatment developed and carefully tested by the Dutch team is based on cognitive behavioral therapy and relies on principles of exposure therapy long proven effective to treat phobias. While the use of cognitive behavioral therapy for tinnitus is not new, the team’s demonstration of a scientifically validated, comprehensive approach to the problem offers a therapeutic blueprint that others can use.
Unlike the use of a tinnitus masker, the treatment is simple, relatively brief and does not require patients to purchase or use devices to gain relief. If necessary, patients who “relapse” can return for a brief therapeutic brush-up.