I’m offering an approach to tinnitus management addressing many of the issues associated with and resulting from tinnitus . If you are suffering from Tinnitus and its various repercussions (poor sleep, stress and emotional suffering, difficulty concentrating and hearing, etc.) I can work with you or in collaboration with your GP or Audiologist. My approach addresses the physiological and neurological aspects of tinnitus along with the emotional and mental elements and integrates nutrition, herbs, stress-management and resilience building (HeartMath® and relaxation techniques) , and tinnitus specific counselling. Beyond my training as an herbalist and counsellor I also have specific training and experience with Tinnitus (see the page “About me”).
The current research focuses heavily on the role of stress and ANS dysfunction in causing and exacerbating tinnitus. Hearing aids, and sometimes additional sound therapy, can often help patients — particularly those with concomitant hearing loss. However, the current understanding of tinnitus provides audiologists and GPs with limited options for treating patients. The best options include counselling, stress-management, and working with specific areas of disruption in the lives of the patients — either alone, or in conjunction with sound therapy. Though these services may be provided by the NHS, the time and resources required for such interventions may be insufficient to meet the needs of patients, particularly those who are severely debilitated by their tinnitus.
My approach to tinnitus involves both individual and group work. After gaining a picture of the whole patient, including physical, emotional, mental and spiritual facets within the context of his or her environment and life, I focus on restoration of Autonomic Nervous System balance and on decreasing allostatic load. Integral Tinnitus Management involves the following components:
1) Counselling and Therapy with a focus upon issues raised by the tinnitus. My aim here is to address the impact of the tinnitus upon the patient’s day-to-day life, reframing their relationship to their tinnitus. I aim to challenge potentially maladaptive and limiting false assumptions and to assist the client in exploring any deeper psychological issues that may arise.
2) Stress-management including HeartMath® and Relaxation/Mindfulness along with herbs, nutrition and supplements when indicated. My aim is to address the ANS component of Tinnitus and to take advantage of the positive aspects of neuroplasticity. HeartMath® is a scientifically-validated set of techniques, tools, and biofeedback technology that uses Heart-Rate Variability for transforming stress, building resilience, and achieving high performance and enhanced creativity. Stress and “negative” emotions have a potential impact on our well-being and our health — including elevated cortisol and blood-pressure, suppressed immune function and cognitive capacity. Stress contributes to anxiety, depression, low-energy and difficulties in work and relationships. HeartMath® is an evidence-based approach for restoring healthy ANS function and often contributes to improvements in conditions with an ANS component. A further benefit of HeartMath® is improvement in communications skills and emotional intelligence, resulting in better personal and professional relationships.
3) Herbs, supplements and nutrition to address general health issues, as well those potentially implicated in tinnitus (blood sugar regulation, blood pressure, and so on.) Herbal and nutritional recommendations are aimed at supporting and improving general health. They address any presenting conditions, as well as factors that may be specifically indicated in tinnitus. The overarching aim is to reduce physiological and metabolic burdens, or allostatic load, that are contributing to the individual’s stress.
4) Other “Lifestyle” recommendations concerning sleep, stress, exercise, social and family support, etc. I also suggest or help the client find other lifestyle approaches to managing the tinnitus, with a focus on general health, lifestyle guidelines, and reducing overall stress. In specific cases I may recommend other modalities (such as massage, acupuncture, or osteopathy) that may benefit either the client’s general health and stress levels, or might specifically address their tinnitus.
Toward the end of the two-hour Initial Consult, the client and I will collaborate to develop an action plan that suits and is personally tailored to his or her needs. This could include some or all of the above components. For example, in working with a client with tinnitus who also has insomnia, I might provide counselling to help alleviate anxiety about not being able to sleep. I would help the client reframe her understanding about healthy sleep patterns and tinnitus, would work with her to institute behavioral modifications (such as creating a better environment for sleeping and improving “sleep hygiene”) would teach her a progressive-muscle relaxation technique, and would recommend some herbs or supplements for improving sleep.