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Tinnitus & Hyperacusis Relief

Do you have ringing in your ears?

Is the buzzing sound getting to you?

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Tinnitus & Hyperacusis Center
 

Do you suffer from tinnitus (sounds in the ear(s) or head such as ringing or buzzing not heard by others)? Do you have hyperacusis (a heightened sensitivity to sound)?

CHC’s Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Center offers relief from the debilitating symptoms associated with tinnitus and hyperacusis. Our knowledgeable audiologists can help you determine if this treatment option is right for you.

Schedule a 

Tinnitus Consultation

To schedule a free 15-minute consultation please contact the coordinator of the Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Center at 917-305-7751 (v) or via email. To schedule a one-hour virtual consultation for a fee, please book an appointment or call 917-305-7766.

Not a New York resident? Consider visiting New York City for your initial tinnitus evaluation, and then all follow-up sessions can be conducted remotely via phone. Clients who receive follow-up treatment over the phone (versus in-office visits) experience the same program success rate.

Tinnitus & Hyperacusis Program
 

We offer “Tinnitus Retraining Therapy” or TRT, which is a habituation-oriented therapy and is based on neurophysiological principles. It involves extensive directive counseling sessions and sound therapy delivered through ear-level devices as well as the use of environmental sound. It does not involve surgery or medication.
 

To qualify for the program we require an otologist’s prescription on letterhead or script stating that all serious medical conditions have been ruled out and that you are medically cleared to participate in the program. If you have not had this evaluation we will be happy to provide you with a referral for a local otologist.
 

Please see more detailed information below including a 20-minute webinar describing TRT at CHC.

Webinar: Introduction to
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

 

Tinnitus FAQs

Q.

What is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)?

A.

TRT can turn tinnitus into a non-issue and can help hyperacusis just go away. This technique has helped many reduce stress and achieve a better quality of life. The program involves extensive directive counseling and sound therapy using environmental sound and individually fit ear-level sound generators/hearing aids that produce a low level of sound.

 

Utilizing the neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience) of the brain, the subconscious (subcortical), non-auditory areas of the brain are retrained to assign less importance to the sound of tinnitus, allowing the brain to ignore the sound of tinnitus and to achieve the stage in which one is no longer annoyed by it. The achievement of this primary goal paves the way for the secondary goal in that once the tinnitus signal is no longer annoying, the period of time it is perceived becomes shorter, the signal can become lower and no longer an issue.

Q.

Is the counseling a form of psychotherapy, cognitive therapy or biofeedback?

A.

No, directive counseling is extensive information regarding the structures and function of the auditory pathways and how this information pertains to tinnitus/hyperacusis. A great deal of time is spent explaining the habituation model and how retraining therapy works in reducing tinnitus annoyance and perception and eliminating hyperacusis. These educational sessions are a fundamental part of the treatment process.

Q.

What is the role of environmental sound?

A.

Environmental sound from apps, sound machines, fans, humidifiers, radios, TVs, air purifiers or air conditioners is used at a low level, not for the purpose of covering (masking) tinnitus but to help bring about changes in the subcortical levels of the auditory system and brain. It reduces the contrast between the tinnitus signal and complete silence, making it harder for the brain to “keep track” of the sound of the tinnitus. Environmental sound is a critical component in the treatment of both tinnitus and hyperacusis.

Q.

What are the devices and what do they look like?

A.

The devices used in retraining therapy are ear level worn devices. They may be hearing aids used as a sound generating source, programmed for hearing loss as needed, and/or utilizing the tinnitus/hyperacusis feature, or “sound generators”, similar in style to behind-the-ear hearing aids with the capability of only producing white or pink noise. They are small instruments and are usually fit to both ears. They should not interfere with normal conversation, situations requiring concentration or the ability to talk on the telephone.

Q.

Do I need the devices?

A.

They are generally recommended however not everyone needs the devices. After the initial evaluation and the category of tinnitus or hyperacusis has been determined, each client will be given recommendations regarding individual treatment.

Q.

Can I just buy the devices?

A.

Directive counseling is fundamental to the retraining process and, therefore, its success. Although the devices are used to speed up the process of habituation, if purchased alone, without proper instruction, tinnitus and hyperacusis may become worse. I was using tinnitus maskers without effect.

Q.

What is the difference between tinnitus maskers and sound generators?

A.

Although in some cases masking can provide tinnitus relief, the goal of that approach is to cover tinnitus, making it inaudible. When the device is removed tinnitus often returns, sometimes requiring higher levels of masking noise which can be uncomfortably loud and potentially unsafe. In  our program the devices are used to generate low level sound that does not cover the sound of tinnitus. In order for the brain to habituate to the sound of tinnitus, the tinnitus must be heard and not masked. Generating sound that mixes with the tinnitus will assist in removing the emotional response to tinnitus and then the perception of tinnitus itself.

Q.

I'm currently using hearing aids, how can I use other devices? 

A.

Depending on the type of hearing aids that are being used it may be possible to work with your current amplification. If so, you will not need any other devices.

Q.

What kind of audiological tests are performed? Will it hurt my ears? What if I don't have tinnitus when I'm tested?

A.

The tests include an audiogram and several specific tests which will help us assess the category of your tinnitus and/or hyperacusis. Great care is taken not to exceed individual tolerance levels. The testing begins at a low level and gradually increases in loudness, so no part of the testing will be painful. If tinnitus is not present on the day of testing it will NOT influence the success of the treatment.

Q.

How long does treatment take?

A.

TRT can take up to 12-24 months. TRT is not a quick fix; however, it may be possible to experience changes within six months.

Q.

Will I be cured?

A.

Tinnitus retraining therapy is a treatment, not a medical cure. You will no longer be bothered or annoyed by your tinnitus. However, if you concentrate in a quiet room it is possible that you will hear it. In addition, hyperacusis can just disappear.

Q.

What is the guarantee that I will get better?

A.

There is no guarantee, however, an 80% success rate has been achieved with our clients at CHC, a level that has also been reported by other facilities including the University of Maryland and Emory University’s Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Centers.

Q.

How long is the audiological/tinnitus and hyperacusis evaluation?

A.

This visit consists of an hour and a half in-office audiological/tinnitus/hyperacusis evaluation with subsequent one-hour counseling sessions by virtual platform. If hearing aids/sound generators are recommended, the ears are then measured and devices are ordered and fit during an hour and a half in-office appointment within two to three weeks.

Q.

How frequently do I need to return to CHC for services?

A.

There are several follow-up visits that are completed via telehealth. Once devices have been fit clients return in two to three weeks for any necessary adjustments, and subsequent visits are scheduled as needed, returning for an in-office evaluation in six-months followed by visits as needed. Virtual visits are ideal for individuals not living in the New York area. Should circumstances make one unable to come for in-office appointments, other arrangements may be explored for one to participate in the program primarily by telehealth.

Q.

Is this treatment covered by insurance?

A.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy is not covered by insurance. However, we will verify your insurance to determine whether you have a benefit from hearing aids.