Tinnitus-researchers have in the last year made a range of interesting discoveries about tinnitus.
There is a higher risk of tinnitus if you are under stress. According to the researchers, tinnitus is produced by the brain as it overcompensates for a hearing loss. Treatment based on acceptance and mindfulness can help those living with tinnitus. Internet-based therapy has proven to be just as effective as group therapy sessions and a therapy called Acoustic Coordinated Reset (ACR) can reduce the loudness and annoyance caused by tinnitus. Finally, a British survey has found that four out of ten don't know what tinnitus is.
More prevalent in those under stress
Researchers believe that there is a direct link between tinnitus and stress. Tinnitus is more than double as prevalent in persons who are under stress or are burnt out than in other people. This is shown by a study from The Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
“We found that tinnitus is 2.5 times more prevalent in people who are under long-term stress,” says Professor Barbera Canlon, who was one of the people leading the research.
More than a hearing problem
Researchers have found that the ringing sound of tinnitus is produced by the brain, as it overcompensates for a hearing loss.
According to a study conducted by Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) in the US, tinnitus is not only the effect of obstruction or damage in the ear, but the result of the brain unsuccessfully trying to repair itself.
The right approach
According to a Swedish doctoral thesis in psychology, a treatment based on acceptance and mindfulness can help those living with tinnitus. The treatment aims to find a new attitude towards tinnitus so that the symptoms no longer take up as much space in the patients' lives. The treatment method is called Acceptance and Commitment Treatment (ACT).
Researchers from the German Johannes Gutenberg University and the Swedish Linköping University treated people with moderate to severe tinnitus with various forms of therapy over a ten-week period. The results of the study established internet-based therapy to be just as effective as group therapy sessions.
Compared with the control group, who only participated in an online discussion forum, people who received internet-based therapy or participated in group therapy proved to be better at managing the irritating ringing in the ears which comes as a symptom of tinnitus.
Acoustic Coordinated Reset
A clinical trial has shown that a therapy called Acoustic Coordinated Reset (ACR) can reduce the loudness and annoyance caused by tinnitus in seven out of ten patients. The clinical trial compared Acoustic Coordinated Reset (ACR) against a control treatment in 63 people with long term tinnitus.
In the clinical trial, patients were required to wear special headphones for a few hours each day. The headphones emit a series of tones tuned according to the characteristic frequency of the patient's tinnitus. This is said to disrupt the rhythmic firing patterns of tinnitus-creating auditory nerve cells.
Four out of ten don't know what tinnitus is
Finally, a survey by the British organisation for the hard of hearing “Action on Hearing Loss” (formerly known as RNID) revealed that 39% of the participants in the survey did not know what tinnitus was and that 22% even thought it was an allergy to metal.
Tinnitus is 2.5 times more prevalent in those under stress
Tinnitus - More than a hearing problem
Coping with tinnitus is about the right approach
Internet based therapy can help tinnitus sufferers
Tinnitus may be reduced by Acoustic Coordinated Reset ACR
Study reveals: Four out of ten don't know what tinnitus is
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