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  • Tinnitus and craniosacral therapy

    Look after yourself properly and your tinnitus will take care of itself

    Craniosacral therapy for tinnitus – a positive tinnitus story

    Julian Cowan Hill on craniosacral therapy for tinnitus

    In November we invited Julian Cowan Hill to our Tinnitus Support Group to give a talk on his tinnitus experience. He is a Craniosacral Therapist, Psychotherapist, Tinnitus Counsellor and author of A Positive Tinnitus Story, Tinnitus, From Tyrant to Friend and The Long Tide to Silence. Julian was affected by the condition for many years and eventually found his personal solution in craniosacral therapy. His talk was very inspiring and a number of support group members are now seeking his advice further. Essentially his message is: “Look after yourself properly and your tinnitus will take care of itself.” He has kindly written a very interesting article on craniosacral therapy for tinnitus and also general tinnitus advice for us which we have published below. 

    Look after yourself properly and your tinnitus will take care of itself

    By Julian Cowan Hill MA UKCP RCST

    When you work with hundreds of people with tinnitus, certain patterns become clear. The core issue seems to be learning how to let go at a deep level, and once a person becomes able to do this, symptoms get better. In this article I want to show that if you receive the right kind of support, then the process of letting go takes place all by itself. I have had a lot of experience easing people with tinnitus out of a locked up state, and have witnessed great improvement not only with the noises in their head, but in their ability to be comfortable, positive, relaxed and healthy.

    A person with tinnitus typically holds tension at the base of the head and along the length of the spine. Often the body feels like it is standing to attention or bracing itself. One man lay on the couch and claimed he was relaxed, and yet his head wasn’t even touching the pillow! He wasn’t aware of this, and when I told him, he needed to put his hand behind his head to check what I said was true. I have met literally hundreds of people with tinnitus who have not much body awareness because they are too locked up and numb to be able to feel what is going on inside.

    Tinnitus people live in their heads spending most of their time living in hectic thought processes, planning, analysing, worrying, imagining, sorting out problems. There is always something to be achieved and there is rarely a prolonged period of just being happy with the way things are. Give a person with tinnitus a day off, and they will fill it with frantic activity, rather than sitting somewhere quietly and noticing the surroundings, without a care in the world.

    How people with tinnitus relax

    How people with tinnitus relax

    It is always very revealing talking to people with tinnitus about how they relax. They might say they enjoy gardening for example. But when you look into it, rather than being aware of the positions of the body, what they can smell, or how the plants looks, that is, simply being aware of the present moment, it seems that they spend most of their time in their thoughts, only vaguely in touch with their body and sometimes miles away from what they are doing. People with tinnitus on a walk, for example, will be much less aware of the simple sensation of their feet on the ground than what is going on in their head.

    As a Craniosacral therapist you can literally feel how people hold themselves and how open or closed their system is. Treating tinnitus I often find a moment when intense energy at the base of the head releases, and suddenly the spine relaxes and people reconnect with the body. When they get up at the end of the session they are much more aware of how their body feels inside, and they feel really connected to the ground. When this happens their head feels lighter, calmer and clearer.

    Hiding in frantic activity

    If tinnitus could talk, as a symptom, it would cry out, “Listen to your body and learn to let go.” Although this condition actually forces you to listen to your body, most run away and hide in frantic activity, desperately trying to divert their focus away from themselves and their inner world. Sometimes tinnitus makes people run away from themselves even more. They cannot accept the way they are inside. The only place for them to go is into their thoughts and activities.

    In my experience it only becomes possible for the central nervous system to let go and switch off when genuine support is offered. When this sense of support is felt through direct contact, and the nervous system experiences a calm, clear and manageable contact, this brings in a very real possibility of transformation.

    We can only let go when we feel safe, and someone is there to hold us. As a practitioner you become very used to meeting people who are carrying too much and do not let themselves be supported. Consequently they spend most of their life in a permanent state of overwhelm.

    Help network

    When this support strengthens into a help network reaching out over several weeks or months at a time, this can have a profound effect on a person’s sense of well being, and what they are able to manage. This can provide the platform for them to let go much more deeply than they are used to, on a mental and emotional and physical level.

    Craniosacral therapy also brings sensitivity and energetic awareness into contact with your body. This gradually helps you develop your own awareness of how you really are inside at a deep level. In my mind it is one of the best therapies for bringing the nervous system back into a state of manageable calm. This is a very real, palpable experience that you gradually develop over the course of a few months, and years, depending on how far people want to go.Tinnitus treatment

    My tinnitus story

    People with tinnitus have a deep need to be heard and understood. Because I had tinnitus myself for 16 years, of which 4 years was so severe I couldn’t hear the phone ring, I am in the fortunate position of being able to understand what people are going through. People find great solace in knowing that I have healed my own tinnitus, and this gives them not only a positive sense of hope, but also motivation and inspiration to start looking after themselves appropriately.

    In a society where people are often told devastating news that there is nothing they can do about their tinnitus, and need to learn to live with it, I find providing hope, guidance and a means of being able to let go has proved to be a powerful antidote to this negative “spell.” When a person is in need of support and feels they are losing control, it has very serious consequences when a practitioner they go to for help leaves them feeling hopeless and with no way out. This shows very little understanding of this condition and how to meet people’s needs appropriately.

    In circles where there is a lot of awareness and experience with the relationship between practitioner and client, it becomes clear that practitioners needs to care about their clients and be open to be affected by their suffering. Deep down we all know that if the person we go to for help doesn’t really care, then there is only a limited amount of value in what they are offering and their ability to resolve deeply held issues.

    How tinnitus happens

    It is commonly accepted that tinnitus appears when someone’s nervous system becomes stuck between “fight or flight” mode (sympathetic hyper arousal) and the freezing response (parasympathetic overwhelm).

    When we move into a state of red-alert the way we hear changes radically. Normally we happily monitor background noises just below the level of consciousness and can focus sharply on important information when needed, e.g. hear one person’s voice in a noisy pub. In red-alert mode, which includes most people with tinnitus, you listen out for any sign of danger most of the time and as a result you notice background noise.

    In fact your hearing becomes so sensitive that you hear the noises inside as well as outside the body. Nervous impulses along the auditory nerve can sound like a buzz or hiss. Movements inside the head such as changes in pressure can sound like crackles and pops. For some, the sound of the heart beat becomes noticeable, and for many it can becomes hard work trying to distinguish what’s important from all the cacophony going on in the background.

    The cerebral cortex also becomes highly activated and so the part of the brain that remembers sound, recognises it and can conjure up any imagined sound becomes over-amped and too switched on. This means that our sound imagination can take over. I can remember, when my tinnitus was bad, listening out for the doorbell and often swearing that I heard it, when in fact it was just my auditory cortex being very active. It was very confusing.

    How tinnitus clients improve

    When I take on a client with tinnitus, my aim is to help bring them back into a switched off, not-a-care-in-the-world mode. As they move more and more into that state, people commonly improve in the following way:

    The first sign of relief comes as you stop being bugged by symptoms so much. This often happens fairly quickly, after 4 to 6 sessions or so. The tinnitus is there but it is not nearly such a big deal. I find that knowing others have got better really helps at this stage, as well as understanding that tinnitus is just a central nervous system reaction to having too much undigested life experience going on behind the scenes. This helps the whole condition feel less and less threatening.

    Then, as you genuinely start learning how to let go, you start paying less attention to it and forget about it. You can spend a few days without bothering to notice how it is. This can be a milestone of progress, as it gives you proof that you are going in the right direction. This in turn can help you let go even more, creating a positive circle of progress. To get to this stage may take anything from a few months to a year or two depending on how much people need to process and release.

    Tinnitus as a warning system

    Gradually symptoms become harder and harder to notice, and although people can readily find the noise again if they look for it, tinnitus has really started to play a minor role in that person’s awareness.

    It is at this stage, that something vital happens. Tinnitus will often come back if there is acute stress, tiredness, anger, illness etc, but people start to learn that how they are has a huge effect on symptoms. As a result they start to take more responsibility for their own health and really start to look after themselves. They notice that their usual habit of getting twitched up about things doesn’t help, and may well take this into therapy.

    For these people tinnitus now has become a healthometre acting as a happy warning system telling you to calm down, get help or have a few early nights. People know that if they have a bad week, that it will soon balance itself out again. They also start to becoming much more self-sufficient in their own management and are motivated to look after themselves. They know what they need, and have ready access to that help.

    Eventually, as the nervous system strengthens more and more, it takes more and more resistance, stress, illness, trauma etc to bring the symptoms back. For example, just a couple of years ago, I found coffee and wine made my tinnitus come back, but these days I can get away with coffee and wine every day (not something I encourage!) and still be free of it.

    Craniosacral therapy can help tinnitus symptoms

    I believe craniosacral therapy is particularly good for tinnitus as it works very specifically on the parts of the central nervous system that switches off the stress response. It helps people come out of the freezing response, pass through fight or flight, back towards the ideal and calm state of homeostasis. It is important to note that some people may never have experienced this ideal state of calm and well being and it can come as a real surprise and new experience, as it was for me!

    I have tried to capture some of the main qualities of these states in the chart below:

    The different states of tinnitus
    The various states of tinnitus

    The longer you stay in homeostasis the harder it is for tinnitus to carry on.

    Sometimes people move from one state to another in just a couple of treatments, but usually their life pattern is so strong that they soon move back into a similar situation, albeit with some improvement. This is why I insist in seeing people for a minimum of six sessions.

    More significant and long-lasting changes happen gradually over an extended period of time. This long-term approach takes root much more deeply and feels so manageable and right that people very often don’t notice how much they have improved until you ask them about their symptoms. I often have to refer back to my notes to remember what they came with at the beginning of the process.

    Tinnitus treatment schedule

    Most people work well with a treatment once a week or every two weeks. I would say that over 90% of those I treat at least six times notice that they are not bugged by their tinnitus as much, and feel more comfortable with it.

    As people slow down, let go of their baggage and relax, they usually make big changes to their life-style. People naturally find themselves working less, spending more time looking after themselves, eating better, taking more exercise, sleeping more, and most significantly being able to stop and watch the world go by without filling their free time with frantic activity.

    At the beginning of the process I usually teach people relaxation techniques, and provide plenty of counselling regarding specific issues of life with tinnitus. I help people develop a better relationship with their own symptoms, and eventually to treat it as a positive health indicator.

    Sometimes it is clear that people need more support above and beyond what I can offer. I often suggest people have psychotherapy to help deal with core issues in their lives, and will refer them to other practitioners if I feel that is more appropriate for their specific issues.

    Candida or thrush can lead to tinnitus

    Psychotherapy for tinnitus

    A common condition that is hugely unsupported and misunderstood is Candida or thrush. Frequent courses of antibiotics have meant many people have this chronic condition, which usually leads to tinnitus, a feeling of low energy and a clogged up head and hearing system. I often suggest they see a nutritionist or find out more about this condition for themselves on the Internet or in a bookshop.

    Finally a new area I am starting to work with is the ability to work with our imagined sound in our “mind’s ear.” Most people are able to imagine the sound of a waterfall, for example. If you play around with this imagination, you discover that you can increase, change, manipulate and control this sound, so that it can take the focus away from the tinnitus.

    This is a huge untapped resource in our hearing world. Learning how to increase the imagined sound of something you really love listening to, like the sound of the sea, your mother/wife singing a lullaby, the wind in the trees, your favourite piece of music, is very calming for the nervous system. With practice, I believe this could have the same effect as a sound-masker, with the added bonus of being much easier to use, and far more tailor-made. This area of work was inspired by training in Neuro Linguistic Programming.

    How to look after yourself to help tinnitus

    How to look after yourself to help tinnitus

    1 It is essential to develop body awareness and learn how to relax if you want to help your tinnitus. Go to a yoga, tai chi, or Pilates class on a weekly basis so you will have correct tuition and learn to get out of your head and get in touch with your body. This will prove invaluable in the long-term and will teach you techniques for those bad days when you feel overwhelmed.

    2 Find a body therapist you like and feel comfortable with, and who cares about your well being! Visit them once a week until things feel more manageable and then renegotiate how often is appropriate. You will need direct support in learning how to let go. It is much easier with someone else helping you.

    3 If you are suffering from severe tinnitus, find a tinnitus counsellor or someone who has worked through tinnitus themselves and understands what you are going through. Please avoid practitioners or other tinnitus people promoting negative views on tinnitus. It is important to maintain a clear and positive focus with this condition with caring support.

    4 Reduce stimulants like coffee, chocolate, tea & alcohol. These all raise you adrenaline levels and therefore make you more sensitive to tinnitus! Bring about any change very gradually so it is not stressful for your body. Too much salt and sugar can also make tinnitus worse.

    5 Put aside one part of the day which is for you, where you are not to be disturbed. This means switching off the phone and telling others that you are having some down time. Ideally spend some time relaxing, noticing how you are feeling, and do something which calms the mind. If this is difficult for you because you are too accelerated, unhappy or agitated, then consider visiting a psychotherapist or counsellor who can help you feel more comfortable with yourself. If you cannot fit this in because of your lifestyle, then seriously consider changing your lifestyle!

    6 Learn specific relaxation techniques for when you have a bad day. When things get bad learn to recognise that you have gone into orbit and take positive action. Contact your therapist and go and get support. Do something calming rather than allow your thoughts to run away with themselves. Practice a body calming technique that you have learnt from your classes.

    7 Take regular low-impact exercise that is calming and puts you in touch with your body. e.g. when you walk, feel yourself walking and notice what is going on around you rather than planning, analysing, and thinking furiously in your head.

    8 If you have had thrush/Candida seek the help of a nutritionist or read about this syndrome, which can lead to tinnitus. You may need to avoid sugar, yeast, cheese, bread, wine and beer etc to help your system settle and let go of tinnitus. There is plenty of information in bookshops and on the Internet. This condition can arise after antibiotics, and you might need to take pro-biotics to help balance your gut.

    9 Avoid silence, which can make you more aware of your tinnitus. Learn to choose sounds which are comforting and play/have them in the background. This might include your favourite music, or the sound of a river or the sea. Spend time specifically listening to something you love hearing on a regular basis.

    10 When you find yourself worrying or feeling negative, take positive action. Do something that focuses you, calms you down, and makes you feel better. Don’t stew in your mind.

    11 Start using your tinnitus as a “healthometre”. It will soon tell you if you are doing the right thing because it will calm down. If it has got worse, try and consider what made it worse.

    12 Take a long-term view. Expect things to improve gradually the more you look after yourself, give yourself time out and get support. Your tinnitus will get better the more you feel comfortable in yourself.

    13 Yawning, humming, laughing and sighing are very helpful, especially yawning. This opens up and releases tension in the structures in and around the ears and can release feelings of blockage and discomfort.

    14 Cold showers / baths or oscillating between warm and cold can be very helpful for grounding and bringing down the ringing.

    Julian has written 3 books on tinnitus available on Amazon:

    • Tinnitus, From Tyrant to Friend: How to Let Go of the Ringing in Your Ears
    • A Positive Tinnitus Story
    • The Long Tide to Silence

    Julian runs a psychotherapy and craniosacral therapy practice at Flat 15, 27 Sheldon Square, Paddington, London W2 6DW. Visit his website here.

    Or contact Julian on: 07910 315167

    Cransiosacral therapy for tinnitus – where to find out more

    Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss how we can help manage your tinnitus symptoms. 

    Find out more about tinnitus, it’s causes and  possible treatment therapies on our page: Tinnitus Explained

    Help in Hearing holds regular Tinnitus Support Group events for the Marlow and Farnham Common areas. Visit our page to find out about upcoming events.

     

  • Mindfulness therapy for tinnitus

    Mindfulness Therapy for Tinnitus

    Last night’s Mindfulness for Wellbeing workshop at the Marlow BTA Tinnitus Support Group was very well attended. Held at Help in Hearing’s Marlow practice in Glade Road, the event was presented by Costas Lambropoulos and Dr Charlotte Morris from Paron Mindfulness and also discussed the suitability of mindfulness therapy for tinnitus.

    The workshop took us on a journey of how to cultivate awareness of the present moment. We experienced three different mini meditation practices to give an insight into our own awareness and how we react to what arises in our lives and therefore how to respond.

    Costas trained as a teacher, trainer and supervisor in mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. He also has extensive experience in the NHS where he has been working as a mindfulness teacher, cognitive behavioural therapist and trainer. Charlotte, who also trained at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre is a Counselling Psychologist with an independent practice in Buckinghamshire.

    Mindfulness is not new and is rooted in ancient wisdom and practices. In the last 40 years, there has been a growing interest in whether it can help improve wellbeing, peace and contentment in our often busy and demanding lives.

    Paron are also running another workshop in Marlow, running from 3.30-5.15pm on Saturday 24th November at All Saints Church Hall, Marlow, SL7 2AA. There is an 8-week course starting on 20th October at the Compass theatre in Ickenham. For further details contact: info@paronmindfulness.co.uk

    Mindfulness Therapy for Tinnitus

    Paron Mindfulness have written this exclusive guest editorial especially for Help in Hearing. Please click the link to read the full article, “Can mindfulness help tinnitus?

    If you’d like to discuss tinnitus symptoms, please get in touch. Or visit our tinnitus pages: “Tinnitus Explained” and “Tinnitus Management.” 

    We also hold a regular Tinnitus Support Group event for people with tinnitus in the Marlow & Farnham Common areas. Please visit our Tinnitus Support Group page to find out future meeting dates.

  • Can mindfulness help tinnitus?

    Can mindfulness help tinnitus?

    We have invited local MBCT company Paron Mindfulness to run a workshop at our Marlow Tinnitus Support Group on October 15th. To give you an insight into the benefits of mindfulness, Costas Lambropoulos and Dr Charlotte Morris have written this exclusive guest editorial especially for our clients.

    Mindfulness - waterfallCan mindfulness help your tinnitus?

    Living with a condition such as tinnitus can be challenging. The experience of tinnitus and how it affects your daily life and wellbeing will be different for everyone. You may feel upset about the changes it has brought into your life, you may feel frustrated or angry, disheartened about the future or feel that others don’t understand or appreciate what it is like living with tinnitus.

    There may be times when you feel like you have turned a corner and other times when it feels like you cannot bear it for another moment. At these times it might be that you end up withdrawing from activities, become preoccupied with the sound or negative thoughts, or just run around keeping busy in order to hold the difficult feelings at bay and trying to ignore them. Either way, it is very easy to lose perspective and lose touch with the richness of the life that is possible. In this article we look at whether mindfulness can help with your tinnitus symptoms.

    What is mindfulness?

    Mindfulness is a meditation practice which seeks to cultivate awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness is not new and is rooted in ancient wisdom and practices. In the last 40 years, there has been a growing interest in whether Mindfulness can help with some of the challenges of modern life, including how to live well whatever difficulties we face.

    Through meditation practice, mindfulness enables us to be sensitive to the way we react to what appears in our lives moment by moment. We can begin to become aware of the way in which we tend to get caught up in trying to escape or avoid what we don’t like and hang on to pleasant experiences. Of course, it is natural to want to do this, but it does mean that most of the time we are not conscious of how quickly and habitually we react to our experience, sometimes in ways that are very unhelpful. We can train ourselves to develop an accurate awareness of what our experience actually is, rather than the story that pops into our mind immediately. This can give us the space to choose how we would like to respond rather than be pulled into an automatic stream of reactions.

    How mindfulness can help

    Mindfulness - BoatMindfulness is not a quick fix and it is not an approach that will appeal to, or suit, everyone. However, it can help us to change how we relate to our experience of tinnitus and the distress that it can cause. There is an old Buddhist analogy that seeks to help us understand our experience of suffering:

    “When an ordinary person experiences pain (either physical or emotional pain) they worry, agonise and feel distraught. Then they feel two types of pain, one physical and one mental. It’s as if this person was pierced by an arrow, and then immediately afterwards by a second arrow, and they experience the pain of two arrows.”

    Based on this understanding of suffering, our distress is not only related to the discomfort we might experience with tinnitus or the actual sensations or pitch of the sound that are present. It is our interpretation of what is taking place and the meaning we give to this that can either help us cope or intensify our distress and our tendency to react. It is as if the sound or high pitch might be the first arrow and our thoughts and reactions are a second arrow that penetrates even further and can make us feel helpless, angry or anxious. Sometimes the “noise” of our minds can create more distress than just the noise and symptoms of tinnitus.

    Fresh and friendly curiosity

    Mindfulness - forestIn his book “Full Catastrophe Living” Jon Kabat-Zinn refers to certain attitudes that can aid us in our mindfulness practice and allow us to relate to our moment-to-moment experience in a more helpful way. These attitudes can be particularly beneficial and support us at times when we feel overwhelmed by our experience or wish it wasn’t there.

    For example, approaching the present with a fresh and friendly curiosity and a non-judgemental attitude can make a significant difference to how we experience things in everyday life. This applies to any experiences, whether the mind tends to label them as pleasant or unpleasant. So rather than immediately striving to fix what we don’t like, we have a new path that, through practice, can minimise the levels of distress we experience and possibly maximise the pleasure of any given moment.

    Mindfulness is often taught in an eight-week programme. These courses start very simply, for example with some eating practices, that help us to become aware how often we are not with our present moment experience. Building on this foundation, we can begin to explore what it is like to intentionally bring ourselves into the present. Through practice, we may begin to appreciate that tinnitus is only one part of our experience – there are also may other sensations and experiences that are here in any moment. A mindfulness course can help us to discover a new way of approaching our body, senses, thoughts and feelings. The practice can gradually help us not just notice discomfort and difficulty but also ease and joy in our everyday life.

    About Paron Mindfulness

    Paron Mindfulness is a partnership between Dr Charlotte Morris and Costas Lambropoulos. They have trained as Mindfulness Teachers at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and have been teaching Mindfulness in the NHS and in private practice. Charlotte and Costas have been delivering mindfulness courses for people with long-term conditions for the last five years. They are particularly interested in exploring how mindfulness practice can enhance our sense of wellbeing. Charlotte and Costas deliver workshops, courses and retreats with the intention of practicing mindfulness meditations and encouraging participants to explore how mindfulness can help them in their own lives. For more information on upcoming events please visit our website or email us. 

    Can mindfulness help tinnitus? – Where to find out more

    To discuss your symptoms of tinnitus or have a full hearing check, please get in touch

    You can also read more about tinnitus on our Tinnitus Explained page.

    Head over to our Tinnitus Management page to find out the various options available for management of your symptoms.

    We hold regular Tinnitus Support Group events for people living in the Marlow and Farnham Common areas of Buckinghamshire. Find out the date of our next events and topics to be covered by visiting our Tinnitus Support Group page.

  • Tinnitus management with singing bowls

    Spirit of the Rainbow Talk

    A brief write-up of our August 6th Tinnitus Support Group Event where we discussed alternative methods of tinnitus management.

    A big thank you to Julia Walters and Karen Fielding,  from the Spirit of the Rainbow in Princes Risborough, for a very interesting talk on singing bowls, crystals and other holistic therapies at our Marlow Tinnitus Support Group Meeting last week.

    Thank you also to Donna, one of our group members, for bringing along her singing bowl which produced a comforting low frequency sound, which became our favourite “tune”.

    Singing bowls

    Singing bowls have become popular with music therapists, sound healers and some yoga practitioners, having originally been used by Tibetan monks for healing.

    It is said that they originated from China in the form of “Standing bells”. An early form called Nao took the shape of a stemmed goblet, mounted with a rim and struck on the outside with a mallet. The manufacture and use of bowls specifically for ‘singing’ is believed to be a modern phenomenon. Bowls that were capable of singing began to be imported to the West from around the early 1970s. Since then they have become a popular instrument in the US-originating new-age genre often marketed as ‘Tibetan music’.

    We all agreed that distraction and relaxation can help our Tinnitus and it really was remarkable how soothing it became to focus on circling the mallet around the edge of the bowl, whilst creating an addictive mellow sound and vibration. We enjoyed the demonstration and you can see Kevin and Stuart in the images above, using the singing bowls themselves.

    Himalayan salt lamps

    At the meeting we were also rather taken by Rainbow’s range of Himalayan salt lamps. These absorb water and particles from the air, taking positive ions with them. Then, when the heated salt releases cleansed water vapor back into the air, it also expels negative ions to help reduce static electricity and cleanse the air. Salt lamps are often used to help with allergy symptoms, help sleep and treat Seasonal Affective Disorder while giving an environmentally-friendly light source.

    If you would like to find out more about how sound, crystals and salt lamps can help you, please do get in touch with Julia or Karen. They are also offering a 30 minute energy/reiki treatment at half price, valid for August only.

    Call 01844 342255 or take a look at the Spirit of the Rainbow website.

    Tinnitus management and singing bowls – where to find out more

    If you’d like to discuss tinnitus and other methods of tinnitus management, please get in touch with us.  

  • Taming Tinnitus with Hypnotherapy, by Bret Freeman, Master Hypnotherapist

    Taming Tinnitus with Hypnotherapy

    Master Hypnotist Bret Freeman was a guest speaker at our recent Tinnitus Support Group event and has written us an article, “Taming tinnitus with hypnotherapy,” about how hypnotherapy can help tinnitus. Read the article below, where you’ll also see Bret has a special offer for Help in Hearing clients.

    Taming tinnitus with hypnotherapy

    For many, tinnitus can be a tricky thing. That constant sound that only you can hear and seems to come from nowhere, the whining, rattling, humming, buzzing or however it manifests itself to you. It’s tricky because the more you talk about it the worse it seems to get (so, I assume by reading this article you are aware of that sound right now)

    I have had many people in my hypnotherapy practice achieve good results as a result of our sessions. The thing with tinnitus is that it is entirely a personal experience and is different for everyone. My clients have described the sound in a variety of ways, a variety of intensities and a variety of locations in their heads. For some it is like constant a rattling of chains in the right side and front part of their head, for others it is a high pitched whistle that seems to be coming from the back left, and I have heard many other descriptions. How about you? Have you ever tried to place your tinnitus? Where is it in your head? Left, right, centre? Front, middle, back? High or low? This is often one of the first techniques I use with my clients, because once it is identified, we can begin to manipulate it.

    Tinnitus is a personal experience

    In my experience, tinnitus usually responds very well to hypnotherapy. This is primarily because tinnitus is such a personal experience. In much the same way, hypnotherapy is also a very personal experience. By understanding the client, the circumstances and triggers around the tinnitus, and how to apply a variety of tools and techniques, my clients have been able to turn down the volume, change the intensity and move location of the sounds in their heads.

    The mind magnifies what it focuses on

    The fundamentals of how hypnosis can help tinnitus sufferers manage their symptoms have to do with helping the unconscious mind learn to tune out the noise associated with tinnitus. There are noises all day long that we simply do not pay attention to. Much like when you are at a dinner party and there are several conversations around the table, you are tuned into the conversation you are having and not the others, even though they are taking place in close proximity. There are traffic noises, birds singing, noises associated with household appliances and many others that we “hear but don’t pay attention to” all day long. We simply tune these noises out because they are unimportant on irrelevant to us. We tend to place all of these sounds in the “hear but don’t pay attention category”. This is why the more we think about tinnitus the more tinnitus is present, subconsciously, it becomes an “important” noise (the mind magnifies what it focuses on). With all of this in mind, one of the aims of hypnosis can be to move the tinnitus associated sound into the “hear but don’t pay attention” category.

    Breaking habits

    Subconsciously, our brains form habits. These habits control things like our internal state, our reactions to certain stimuli etc… The thing is, we all create a set of “default” habits, or behaviours and for some, tinnitus becomes the default. This is one of the reasons it may be more prevalent during certain times of the day (i.e. at bedtime). Settling into habits requires less work than to break these habits and because for the most part, the human brain is a lazy organ, it will always choose the path of least resistance.

    Communicate directly with the unconscious mind

    We all have a conscious and subconscious mind. These two parts of our minds are separated by what is known as the critical faculty. This is essentially the “boundary” between these two parts. The critical faculty compares everything we see and everything we experience with our own internal existing knowledge base (which includes our self-beliefs, limitations and challenges we face). If the experience doesn’t fit within the confines of our knowledge base, we dismiss it and label that thing as inaccurate. This is partially why hypnosis is so effective with tinnitus. Hypnosis allows the hypnotist to communicate directly with the unconscious mind of the subject and by bypassing the critical faculty allows new learnings and behaviours to be adopted. Many of my clients (particularly the clients that suffer from depression and/or anxiety) tell me that they notice behaviour changes in themselves and are able to deal with situations in very different, more constructive ways than they use to as a result of our sessions. The same holds true for smoking cessation. By bypassing the critical faculty, new learnings and habits can be adopted and change old behaviours.

    Hypnotherapy tools and techniques

    The key to living with tinnitus is to learn to use the tools and techniques provided by the hypnotherapist to manage it. For some, simply changing the priority of the sound helps. For others, it is a change in the location, for others it is associating the sound with an object and moving that object off into the distance and for others it is dealing with sources of anxiety and stress.

    Hypnotherapy, like tinnitus, is different for everyone and there are many tools and techniques available. The key is finding the right hypnotherapist, finding the right tools and techniques, and applying them effectively to your situation.

    About Bret Freeman

    Bret Freeman is an ABH certified Master Hypnotist, ABNLP Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming and TLA Certified Master Time Line Therapist. He is a registered therapist with the Complimentary National Healthcare Council, Hypnotherapy Association, and General Hypnotherapy Register.

    Taming tinnitus with hypnotherapy – where to find out more

    For more information and to schedule and introductory chat, call 07917 385 118 or send an email to Bret. You can visit Bret’s website here.

    Special Discount

    A Brighter You is currently offering a Help in Hearing discount. Just mention Help in Hearing when you call or write to us for this special offer.

    For more information about tinnitus and how we can help, please visit the Help in Hearing Tinnitus Explained page or get in touch with us.

  • How to treat tinnitus

    Tinnitus and how to treat it

    At Help in Hearing, we provide superior consultancy, advice, and support to enable our clients to get on top of any hearing issues they’re experiencing, and we find that lots of the people that come to us do so because they’re affected by one condition in particular: tinnitus.  

    Causing individuals to hear certain sounds that come from inside their body rather than outside, tinnitus often manifests itself as a sort of ringing noise in the ears, although it is also reported as a buzzing, whistling, hissing, grinding, and humming sensation. It can even be heard as noises similar to music and singing.

    This can be very annoying for those affected by tinnitus, especially because the condition can also be accompanied by a slight deterioration in your hearing, or an increased sensitivity to everyday sounds.

    If any of this sounds familiar, you might want to keep on reading to find out what causes tinnitus and and how to treat tinnitus…

    Tinnitus severity

    If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing tinnitus, rest assured that you needn’t worry too much. Rarely a sign of anything serious, it is usually irritating, but not detrimental to your health.

    However, more severe cases can have a greater impact on the everyday lives of people who experience tinnitus, with some claiming to find it distressing, and feeling that it impacts their concentration, causes difficulty sleeping, and even depression.

    Although the condition will usually resolve itself gradually, this is why some choose to seek medical help to treat the problem and ensure a quicker resolution.

    Causes of tinnitus

    If you feel you might be affected, you’re probably wondering what causes tinnitus. There are a number of possible catalysts, including but not limited to:

    • Age-related hearing loss
    • Repeated exposure to loud noises
    • A build-up of earwax
    • A middle ear infection
    • Otosclerosis (an inherited condition causing abnormal bone growth inside the ear)

    However, do note that around one-third of cases have no obvious cause.

    How to treat tinnitus

    If you believe that you’re experiencing tinnitus and would like to seek treatment for the condition, there’s plenty that can be done for it. Although no single method works for everyone, there are lots of possibilities to try.

    If there is an underlying cause, resolving this is one place to start. This means that should you have earwax, for example, it may be as simple as having this removed. If the catalyst is less specific, one of the following might be suggested:

    • Hearing aids: Many people find that wearing hearing aids to correct their hearing also reduces or completely gets rid of their tinnitus.
    • Sound therapy: This is where the tinnitus affected person listens to neutral sounds in order to distract from the symptoms of tinnitus. An example of this is the Widex ZEN2GO, which emits random, soothing harmonic tones to help you relax and manage your tinnitus.
    • Counselling: Where tinnitus is affecting your quality of life, you may also be encouraged to try counselling, in order to learn how best to cope with the condition.
    • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): Therapy can also be useful for some individuals, helping them to focus less on the noise they hear so its impact is reduced.
    • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): Similar to the above, TRT can be used to retrain the way your brain responds to tinnitus, teaching it to tune out the sounds so you’re less affected by them.

    Tinnitus Support Group

    If you live in the Marlow and Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire areas, you may wish to attend our next Tinnitus Support Group event, which is on Wednesday February 7th at our Marlow hearing clinic. Or see dates for future events on our Tinnitus Support Group page. Please contact us on 0345 222 0579 to book your place.

    How to treat tinnitus – where to find out more

    Find out more about tinnitus on our page, Tinnitus Explained.

    Find out some ways we can help you manage tinnitus.

  • Tinnitus Support Group

    Tinnitus Awareness Week 2018

    Tinnitus Awareness Week this year is 5th – 11th February

    Next Tinnitus Support Group: Marlow 7th February

    The aim of Tinnitus Week is to raise awareness of the condition, which affects approximately 1 in 10 of the population.

    For the first time, the international tinnitus community will join forces, targeting as many people as possible in order to raise awareness of how tinnitus impacts on the lives of those living with it. A new website www.tinnitusweek.com has been set up, as a central resource collecting all the initiatives which will be taking place in 2018.

    Raising Awareness Together

    The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) has been encouraging organisations from across the world, who deal with tinnitus and other hearing related issues such as hyperacusis and hearing loss, to work together to raise awareness of tinnitus during Tinnitus Week.

    Help in Hearing’s Practice Manager Gilly Wright is holding her next Tinnitus Support Group at the Marlow practice on Wednesday February 7th 6.30pm – 8.30pm. The guest speakers are Selma Becker and Kevin Jeffery, audiologists from Help in Hearing who will be talking about Tinnitus management and suitable hearing aids. Please book your place on 0345 222 0579.

    Tinnitus – where to find out more

    Read about tinnitus on our Tinnitus Explained page.

    Or read about some of the methods of tinnitus management we can offer.

    Read about our Tinnitus Support Group  for Marlow and Farnham Common, see dates for future support group events, and book your place.

  • Tinnitus Support Group

    Tinnitus Support Group for Marlow & Farnham Common – Launch Event

    Tinnitus Support Group Launch Event – Wednesday 10th January, 2018
    Venue – Help in Hearing, Marlow Hearing Clinic, Glade Road, Marlow
    Time – 6:30pm – 8:30pm

    Guest Speakers:

    David Stockdale, Chief Executive, British Tinnitus Association

    Jono Heale, Director, Advanced Communication Solutions

    It is estimated that Tinnitus effects 250 million people worldwide, with over 6 million estimated to suffer in the UK. If you are suffering from tinnitus you are not alone. All too often people are told there is nothing one can do about the condition but this is not the case. At Help in Hearing we offer full tinnitus assessments and a structured tinnitus counselling programme. Says audiologist Selma Becker: “We use various techniques and devices to help sufferers manage and live with tinnitus including sound therapy and masking or aids which not only enhance hearing but offer sound relaxation.”

    Help in Hearing’s Practice Manager, Gilly Wright, is setting up a new support group for local people with tinnitus in Marlow and Farnham Common. A launch event featuring a talk by BTA Chief Executive David Stockdale and guest speaker Jono Heale will take place 6.30pm-8.30pm on Wednesday 10 January at Help In Hearing’s Marlow practice in Glade Road. Depending on demand, the meeting venue will alternate monthly between Marlow and Farnham Common.

    Gilly Wright says: “I am passionate about helping people with tinnitus and hearing problems. I am a tinnitus sufferer with Menieres Disease. Support groups can play such a fantastic role as you can feel so isolated. Sometimes friends and families aren’t able to understand how bad it can be. The plan is to initially hold evening meetings but I would be happy to consider Saturday mornings as an alternative if the interest is there.”

    Tinnitus can be a ringing, buzzing, hissing or roaring sound, and may be temporary or permanent. This noise in your ears or inside your head is unique to you. An estimated 80% of people who suffer from tinnitus also experience some degree of hearing loss, though they may be unaware of it. Tinnitus is a symptom that can be caused by many things, and can even begin for no apparent reason. But it can have a major impact, bringing stress, anxiety, anger and sleep loss. The first step towards taking control of your tinnitus is to consult a professional, so that together, you can find the treatment plan that will work for you.

    About our guest speakers:

    David Stockdale, BTA

    David Stockdale

    David was appointed Chief Executive of the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) in February 2010. He is responsible for the day to day running of the charity, and implements the strategy, as set by the Board of Trustees. He sees supporting the tinnitus community, ensuring a preventative message targets those at risk and increasing research into tinnitus as the BTA’s priorities. David has two young children, who take up most of his free time! David works Monday-Friday.

     

    Jono HealeJono Heale

    Jono’s background comes from the entertainment industry, working both sides of the curtain for over 25 years. Formally a professional musician he went on to work as a senior manager in further education. He has also worked as a freelance Health and Safety Advisor for festivals and events. Jono has tinnitus and noise (music) induced hearing loss and is passionate about these issues. Jono launched a new campaign called Play Safe Now – Hear Tomorrow on hearing conservation aimed at Music Education. He is a director of ACS and works as an advisor for the British Tinnitus Association and Help Musicians UK.

     

    Tinnitus Support Group – to book your place

    To book your place on the first Tinnitus Support Group event on 10th January at our Marlow practice, please email us or call us on 0345 222 0579.

    Find out more about tinnitus on our page Tinnitus Explained

    Marlow Tinnitus Support Group Future Events

    Please call Gilly on 0345 222 0579 to book your place

    Wednesday February 7th 6.30pm- 8.30pm

    Help in Hearing, Cedar House, Glade Road, Marlow SL7 1DQ
    Guest Speakers: Selma Becker and Kevin Jeffery, audiologists from Help in Hearing talking about Tinnitus management programmes and suitable hearing aids for Tinnitus sufferers.

    Monday March 19th 6.30pm-8.30pm

    The Garden Room, Liston Hall, Chapel Street. Marlow SL7 1DD
    Guest Speaker: Guest Speaker, Mr Chris Aldren, a consultant ENT surgeon working at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough and the Princess Margaret Hospital, Windsor. He will be giving a talk on Tinnitus and general ear conditions.

    Saturday April 7th: 10.30am – midday

    The Thames Room, Liston Hall, Chapel Street. Marlow SL7 1DD
    Guest speaker: A Tai Chi taster session with Karen Pounds. Karen has over 20 years experience teaching Tai Chi and Qigong and is also a Mindfulness Meditation Facilitator and registered Clinical Hypnotherapist.Tai Chi and Qigong are exercise systems which promote healing and vitality to improve balance, coordination and strength.

  • Half Price Offer for Tinnitus Awareness Week

    This year Tinnitus Awareness Week runs from the 8th to the 14th February. To mark this special week, we are offering you a tinnitus consultation, for half the usual price. The usual cost for this consultation would be £160, but we are offering it for £80 if you book the appointment any time between the 8th and 14th February.

    The tinnitus consultation usually takes place after the initial free of charge assessment and consists of a more detailed battery of tests and questionnaires to fully understand the effects of your tinnitus.

    What happens at the initial tinnitus assessment

    This initial assessment is free of charge and without obligation.

    The objective of this assessment is to get an understanding of the effect of your tinnitus on your lifestyle. We will also identify the most appropriate management tool for your individual requirement, ie tinnitus management programme or hearing aid fitting? Finally we will re-appoint for the full tinnitus/hearing assessment with our tinnitus specialist.

    At this appointment we will:

    • Take a brief history and score your tinnitus questionnaire to get a quick insight of how severely you are affected by tinnitus currently.
    • Very quick screening hearing test.
    • Depending on the outcome of your hearing test we will briefly discuss and explain about tinnitus.
    • If appropriate we will demonstrate hearing aid(s) or sound simulators.
    • You will then be in a position to either opt for our full tinnitus management program or hearing aid fitting program, whichever is the most appropriate solution.

    Tinnitus Assessment

    This appointment usually costs £160 and we are offering it to you for only £80 during Tinnitus Awareness Week! The assessment will take up to 2 hours and consists of a battery of tests and questionnaires to fully understand the effects of your tinnitus.

    Tests include:

    • Medical history to find out about any existing medical conditions,
    • Tinnitus perception inventory to understand the severity level of your tinnitus.
    • Tinnitus intake questionnaire to find out the physical, emotional and social consequences of tinnitus.
    • Otoscopy to establish the health and condition of your outer ear and eardrum.
    • Tympanometry to establish the health of your middle ear.
    • Puretone audiogram to assess your hearing levels including air and bone conduction thresholds.
    • Uncomfortable loudness levels finding your sound tolerance levels.
    • Tinnitus pitch matching to find the approximate frequency of your tinnitus.
    • Tinnitus mask ability to understand the intensity you experience with your tinnitus.

    Advice and Information

    • We will discuss the test results after compiling and reviewing them.
    • We will explain tinnitus causes for you to better understand your condition.
    • We will then discuss and formulate your treatment programme.

     

    Please click to find out more about our tinnitus management solutions.

    Contact us to book your half price tinnitus assessment now.

  • 2 Surprising New Tinnitus Research Studies

    Around 250 million people worldwide suffer from tinnitus, and more than half of those sufferers don’t do anything about it. We have found some recent tinnitus research studies from around the web, showing ways sufferers may get help.

    Researchers find new clues about Tinnitus

    Surprising new research study results suggest that tinnitus is more complicated than scientists thought by recording the brainwaves of a 50-year old tinnitus sufferer. Read this article to find out the details of the tinnitus study and their surprising discoveries.

     

    Study: More coffee may prevent your ears from ringing

    A new research study tracked 65,000 women over an 18-year period and found that incidence of reported tinnitus was 15% lower in women who drank five cups of coffee per day, compared to women who drank one and a half cups per day. Read more about this tinnitus coffee study here.


    If you are suffering from symptoms such as continual whistling, ringing, pulsing or buzzing either in the head or in the ear(s), you may be suffering from tinnitus. A hearing test will establish if you have a hearing loss, more often than not Tinnitus is related to a hearing loss and simply the use of digital hearing aids can mask the effects.

    Contact us today for more information on tinnitus or to book a confidential hearing assessment.

    Read more about tinnitus on our Tinnitus Explained page.

    Or read about some of the methods of tinnitus management we can offer.

    Read about our Tinnitus Support Group  for Marlow and Farnham Common, see dates for future support group events, and book your place.