TinuCare Day 1

Welcome to the TinuCare tinnitus relief online program.

For the next 5 days we will give you tips, tricks and proven methodes on how to manage your tinnitus related stress and anxiety.

We'll start with giving you an undstanding of what tinnitus is, the 3 main pillars that will support this course + the 4 main types of tinnitus.

At the end of each day you will also have a tinnitus dairy to keep track of your progress.

Take your time to reflect on the lessons of today. Tomorrow you will receive a new link for day 2 of the course.

Good luck!

 

Tinnitus: an overview

Introduction

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is noise that originates within the ear rather than from the outside environment. This may affect one or both ears.

The sounds have been described variously as a "ringing" sound, a "buzzing" sound, a "humming noise, "like running water", a "whistling" sound or like the "sound from a seashell held close to the ear."

There are several types of tinnitus:

  • Tonal tinnitus is often called "ringing in the ears." This type of tinnitus produces a continuous sound, like a single note playing over and over.

  • Pulsatile tinnitus, in which the tinnitus sounds are intermittent, continuous, or pulsating in time with the heartbeat.

  • Tinnitus in which the sound is a ringing, buzzing, roaring, whistling, or hissing noise.

  • Less common tinnitus, in which the sounds are described as beeping, Morse code type of signals, or even a musical notes.

  • Less common still is tinnitus experienced as several different types of noises at the same time.

In a rare, unusual type of tinnitus, known as "objective tinnitus," the noise is heard not only by the affected individual but also by others.

Other Symptoms Associated With Tinnitus

In addition to the noises associated with tinnitus, certain other symptoms may accompany this condition.

These include:

  • Dizziness

  • Pain in the ear

  • A sense of fullness in the ears

  • Headache

 

Who Gets Tinnitus?

Tinnitus may affect anyone. However, it is more common with increasing age. People who are prone to hardening of the arteries are at greater risk for tinnitus than the general population. In addition, individuals who work in noisy surroundings are also at greater risk for developing tinnitus. But in fact there are many causes for tinnitus.

Is Tinnitus Serious?

Tinnitus is typically not a serious condition; however, it is frequently accompanied by hearing loss. Many people with tinnitus are concerned that they may become completely deaf; however, tinnitus does not cause deafness.

Others fear that they have a brain tumor or that they have some form of mental illness. While possible, such underlying conditions are most unlikely and rarely found in people with tinnitus.

Is Depression Associated With Tinnitus?

Some people believe that depression produces tinnitus and if the depression is treated, their tinnitus will be relieved. Most experts believe that the opposite is more likely the case; namely, that tinnitus may cause a depression. Therefore, treatment is required for the depression.

There are effective treatments for depression, including antidepressant drugs and "talk" therapy. Some research studies suggest that certain antidepressant medications actually worsen the symptoms of tinnitus.

 

Nice To Know:

Objective Tinnitus

Objective tinnitus is a much rarer form of tinnitus and consists of head noises that are audible to other people in addition to the sufferer. The noises are usually caused by:

  • A circulatory problem, like an aneurysm or tumor in a blood vessel

  • Repeated contractions of the muscles in the middle ear

  • Inner ear structural defects

 

With objective tinnitus, an examiner can hear the sound heard by the patient by using a stethoscope. Benign problems, such as the noise from a problem with the jaw joint, openings of the eustachian tubes (the passage that connects the ear and the back of the nose), or repetitive muscle contractions may be the cause of the objective tinnitus. Other causes are the pulsing flow of blood through the carotid artery in the neck, or the continuous hum of normal blood outflow through the jugular vein.

There are two relatively tiny muscles in the middle ear attached to the tiny bones in the ear. These muscles contract briefly in response to loud or sudden noises in order to protect the inner ear from over-stimulation. On occasion, one or both of these muscles may begin to contract and relax rhythmically for no apparent reason. Because these muscles are attached to the tiny ear bones, contractions may result in repetitious clicking sounds.

In rare cases, rhythmic muscle contractions or spasms may affect one of the throat muscles attached to the eustachian tube. This is called palatal myoclonus and often produces an annoying clicking noise.

In some very severe cases, objective tinnitus may be an early sign of increased pressure in the fluid that surrounds that brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid). A pulsating sound may result from a blocked artery, an aneurysm, a tumor in a blood vessel, or other blood vessel disorders.

 

Facts About Tinnitus

  • Tinnitus is a common problem.

  • Tinnitus affects about 17 percent of the general population around the world.

  • Approximately 44 million people in the United States have tinnitus.

  • Tinnitus may be associated with hearing loss.

  • The noises related to tinnitus seem loud to the affected person. They are also described as annoying and unpleasant with hissing, whistling, or roaring sound qualities.

  • Many people with tinnitus have difficulty with their normal day-to-day activities because of their symptoms. Tinnitus may affect overall quality of life.

  • The exact underlying cause of tinnitus is not fully understood. Many cases occur as the result of another underlying disorder such as ear infections, blockage of the ear canal, Meniere's disease, etc.

  • Diagnosis of tinnitus and identification of the underlying disorder is important as treatment of the underlying problem may improve tinnitus symptoms.

  • One treatment for tinnitus is aimed at masking the unpleasant sounds with other more pleasant tones.

 

Tinnitus and hearing

Tinnitus and hearing

Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss. Many people with tinnitus are not aware of their hearing loss. People with hearing loss can better hear tinnitus because they perceive less external noise due to their hearing loss. Often the pitch of the tinnitus is equal to the pitch of the hearing loss.

Hearing aids can bring tinnitus relief. They can help in many different ways. Hearing aids improve hearing. This reduces the stress associated with the need to carefully listen. The reduction in stress makes it easier to accommodate to the tinnitus. Hearing aids amplify background sounds, and for many people this partial masking reduces the loudness or prominence of the tinnitus.

In a recent study we determined the following with respect to the use of hearing aids in mitigating the effects of tinnitus: 

  • 27.8% of hearing aid users reported receiving moderate to substantial reduction in their tinnitus when using their hearing aids. 
  • Two out of three people experienced tinnitus relief most of the time to all of the time, while three out of ten (29%) reported the use of hearing aids alleviated their tinnitus all of the time 
  • Subjects who had their hearing aids fit by hearing health professionals, who used a more comprehensive hearing aid fitting protocol, are nearly twice as likely to experience tinnitus relief than people fit by hearing health professionals who used a minimalist hearing aid fitting protocol.

If you think you need hearing aids in addition to the concerns about your tinnitus, you should see a hearing health professional. By all means ask if they are skilled in the management of tinnitus. There are adjustments to a hearing aid that can be made to maximize the benefit provided someone with tinnitus. For example, some report that loud sounds make their tinnitus worse. Hearing aids can be adjusted to reduce the chances of this happening.

Thoughts and emotions

Thoughts and emotions

How do you think about your tinnitus? 

  • Do you think it will ruin your life? 
  • Do you think you will never be able to get to sleep?
  • Do you think no one else really understands tinnitus?
  • Do you think nothing can be done?

The way you think about your tinnitus will influence your emotional reaction to it. Thoughts like this might naturally lead to feelings of annoyance, depression, anxiety or anger. Tinnitus does not have to interfere with your enjoyment of life. 

Several counseling-based approaches, such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Mindfulness Therapy, have been helpful to many with tinnitus.

You can change the way you think about and react to your tinnitus!

Tinnitus and your environment

Tinnitus and your environment

Bystanders can't hear the sounds that someone with tinnitus has. It can therefore be difficult for the people in your area to take the complaints seriously. After all,  they can't see or hear a cause for the tinnitus.

Hence, a good communication with the people in your area is important so they can understand your symptoms. It is wise to explain to your surroundings what tinnitus means to you. You can tell what sounds you hear and if they get worse or better.

Perhaps you are having troubles falling asleep due to the tinnitus and you're irritable from lack of sleep. It is good if your area knows that you are more tired by the annoying noises and can take less than before.

It is very important to explain this kind of "side effects" of tinnitus because your environment can only consider you if they known what problems you are experiencing due to your tinnitus. If it happens that someone ignores you, try again to explain what the tinnitus is for you. Remember that your complaint is not only stressful for you , but also for your environment.

Also ask the people around you how stressful your tinnitus is for them. Show that you understand this and keep that in mind. 

 

The good news

The good news is that you can learn to have a good, happy free life even with your tinnitus.

In the next 5 days we will learn you how to deal with your tinnitus in a positive way. Read the next chapter to learn the 3 buildings blocks of overwinning your tinnitus. THis will be the start of your tinnitus free future.

Good luck!

The 3 main pillars for tinnitus relief

Introduction

The TinuCare tinnitus management course is based upon 3 main pillars. It is really important that you start to learn those pillars and use them in your daily life.

The good news is that tinnitus relief is 100% possible if you follow these pillars. Of course there can always be a time when you hear your tinnitus, but in 90% of the time YOU will be in control of your tinnitus and how you react to it.

The 3 main pillars are:

  • Avoid silence
  • Change You State Of Mind
  • Relaxation

In the short and long term it is crucial that you learn to master them step by step.

Already try it today. When you hear your tinnitus follow these 3 steps.

  1. See if there is a way to avoid absolute silence
  2. Change the negative association you have with your tinnitus
  3. Relax: do some basic relaxation exercises

 

 

Avoid Silence

For a tinnitus patient absolute silence is the biggest enemy. 

The perception of background noises reduces the contrast with the tinnitus. Eventually the ringing in your ears will be less loud and therefore disappear quickly from your awareness.

How to avoid silence?

Next time you hear your tinnitus see if there is a way to avoid absolute silence.

Below you can find some tips:

  • Open a window: the noise from outside will kill the silence
  • Put the airconditioning on: the low zoom sound will kill the silence
  • Put some background music on: use your own music or put the TuniCare soundtrack on
  • Take headphones with you: Take headphones with you to listen to music
  • Try to find silent killers of your own

You can also try to focus on awareness of your surroundings, such as a fountain or bird whistle. That will turn away your attention of the tinnitus.

We know that it won't always be possible to avoid absolute silence. But if you can manage to mask it ask often as possible, you will already be a gaint step into having a better life quality.

Remember that the background noise doesn't have to be loud. Just a small background sound will already help you a lot in reducing your tinnitus sound and perception.

In the next days we will cover the topic on how to avoid silence more in depth. But already try to mask silence whenever you can.

 

 

 

Change Your State Of Mind

If you also manage to change the negative meaning you associate with tinnitus, then you are much better equiped to accept your tinnitus. 

As a result the subcantions mind recognize the tinnitus as a sound, such as, for example, a swallowing sound. We swallow countless times a day, without being aware of the sound. If you are taking a active listening to your enviromant now, you can hear sounds and noises you weren't aware of before . Tinnitus can also reach this stage where you only hear the sound if you really pay attention to it.

Although this process of accepting your tinnitus and stop the negative association can take some time, this will really change your life. Know that tinnitus is a normal, natural sound that your body produces. More then 200.000.000 people have tinnitus.

Know that our body produces a lot of sounds without you being aware of it. Try to see your tinnitus as a sound your body makes natrually (like the  swallowing sound, the sound when you breath,...).

We will go deeper into how you can accept your tinnitus and change the negative association you have with it. But for know try already to be aware that YOU can change how the tinnitus makes you feel. Your mind is the biggest challenge in this, not the tinnitus. The tinitus is a normal sound your body makes.

 

Relaxation

Relaxation is one of the key elements is overall health, and surely in controling your tinnitus.

Stress is one of the main drivers that has a negative impact on your tinnitus. Knowing how to relax, and taking the time to de-stress every day will increase your life quality with (or without) tinnitus a lot. Take 30 min of time each day to relax and be peaceful. Not only will you be better equiped to restrain your tinnitus, it will also diminish the sound and negative association you have with it.

Entertainment, hobbies, music or sports can enhance the above effects, to help you shift your attention. Try to find a passion that works for you and makes you relax and shift your attention.

  • Play a music instrument
  • Try a sport: walk, run, fitness,...
  • Learn a course about a subject you love: webdesign, knit,...

We will pay a lot of attention on how to relax in this 5 day course. This will be the main topic of day 2. We will learn you the different types of relaxation that will bring relief to you tinnitus. 

 

 

Summary

You now know the basics on how to control your life and tinnitus:

  • Avoid silence
  • Change Your State Of Mind
  • Relaxation

As of today start using these tinnitus management techniques when you can. If you hear your tinnitus stay calm. Have a deep breath, and say to yourself that it is a natural sound your body makes. It is really OK to have tinnitus. Then find a way to relax and how to mask silence.

If you follow these 3 step every time, we guarantee you you are taking majors steps in a tinnitus free future. Give yourself the time to master these techniques. It is normal that is takes some time. But step by step you will overwin your tinnitus, like thousands of other people did. You can do it to!

Avoid silence: Action plan

Exercise

Exercise 1: Avoid Absolute Silence

Write down 3 enviroments where you spend a lot of time, and have trouble with your Tinnitus.

Try to make them specific.

Example: In meetings at work – While reading a book at home – Falling asleep

Your plan:

1)

2)

3)


Now for each of those 3 enviroments, try to think of 2 way's to have some background noise

Example:

In Meetings at work

  • Open a window (for the sound of traffic, the wind, birds...)

  • Turn the airco on (for the low zoom sound)

While reading a book at home

  • Put some music on (The TinniCare soundtrack or other music you love)

  • Putting on the dish washer (for the low zoom sound)

Falling asleep

  • But relaxation music on (The TinniCare soundtrack or other music you love)

  • Sleep with the window open

     

Your plan:

1)


 

2)


 

3)

Action plan

Now I want you to try and avoid absolute silence in the 3 area's you've just mentioned. Use your own plan to mask the silence and thereby your tinnitus.

I know it is not always possible to avoid complete silence, but try to mask it as often as you can. You will see that it will become a habite.

Warning: Do not check all the time if you can still hear your tinnitus. Just focus on the sound that masks the silence and go on with your task. It will be difficult in the beginning, but after time you will do this automatically.

In 3 days we will evalute how you expierenced this 1st exercise.

Good luck!!

4 causes of tinnitus: The basics

Intro

Tinnitus or ringing ears is experienced when you hear sounds with no external sound source.

Tinnitus can take different forms, for example: a noise, a whistling, aringing, the sound of wind,... . In addition, it may sound high or lower pitched, hard or soft ... It may be pulsatile tinnitus - like a heartbeat - or tinnitus can be continuous - a constant high peep

Important to know is that tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom!

The causes of tinnitus

Tinnitus can have various causes. The most common cause of tinnitus is due to hearing loss by being exposed to loud sounds. In other cases, it is accompanied by a disease, hearing loss by the age or a trauma to the head.

Usually a distinction is made between four types of tinnitus

 

Cause 1: Normal tinnitus

  1. Normal Tinnitus

Sometimes good hearing people can have tinnitus, often in the form of a pure tone. This is a spontaneous activity in the auditory system. For a few seconds neurons spontaneously and simultaneously produces a sound stimulus. When the hearing itself is intact, this 'normal tinnitus' disappears by surroundig noises (wind, radio, airco,...).

However, when there is hearing loss, there is less input from external noises. The tinnitus is thereby pointed out more quickly.

 

Cause 2: Noise Tinnitus

  1. Noise/Disco Tinnitus

When being exposed to extreme noise for a long time, a large number of neurons are strongly activated at the same time. In the transition from a noisy to a quiet environment, we can hear a ringing or a whistling noise in one or both ears. This is called acute tinnitus.

Usually the tone disappears after a night's sleep, but the temporary tinnitus can become chronic, however, when exposed regular to noise.

 

Cause 3: Injury in the auditory system

  • Injury in the auditory system

Tinnitus hearing impairment is the most common form of tinnitus. Comprehensive diagnosis, both medical and audiological, is important. When faced with hearing loss a hearing aid device can reduce tinnitus symptoms in most cases.

Cause 4: Somatic tinnitus

  • Somatic tinnitus

The origin of tinnitus is not always in the ear itself. In somatic tinnitus the ringing is caused by the sensory system in the body. For example, a neck injury, a disorder of the circulatory system, or increased muscle activity near the brain can cause an abnormal sound perception.

 

Question

Define what type of tinnitus you have:

  • Normal” Tinnitus: Your hearing is still very good

  • Noise Tinnitus: You have been exposed to loud noises

  • Injury in your auditory system: Do you have hearing loss due to age or other causes?

  • Somatic tinnitus: Do you have an neck or head injory? A blood circulation issue? Any other issues that can lead to tinnitus?

Tinnitus dairy

How would you rate your tinnitus today?

It is important that you keep track of the process you make in getting you tinnitus free. You should also try to find patterns on which days, and why you are having good days and why you are having bad days.

How much would you rate your tinnitus on a scale from 0 to 10 today?

  • 0 = I didn't had any trouble with my tinnitus today
  • 10 = My tinnitus gave me the maximum stress and anxiety today.

How much time today did your tinnitus caused you stress and anxiety?

Try to put a percentage of time your tinnitus caused you stress and anxiety today.

  • Was it less then 20% of the time?
  • Was it less then 60% of time?

Of course this number is very individual and will vary from day day.