Tinnitus E-Programme

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The following are questions that are often asked when people first enquire about tinnitus:

1. Q. My doctor told me that nothing can be done about tinnitus, why is this?
A. Unfortunately this is still all too common. There is a huge amount that can be done to manage tinnitus effectively. There has historically been a problem, certainly in the UK, whereby various “treatments” for tinnitus were available, but availability was patchy as were the different “treatments” available

2. Q. What’s TRT?
A. TRT very briefly is a structured approach to managing tinnitus distress. TRT includes the following:
1) Hearing aid(s) and/or White Noise Therapy (using white noise generators)
2) “Directive” counselling – this is how a clinician explains the mechanism of tinnitus to a patient
3) Relaxation

3. Q. Is the Tinnitus E-Programme TRT?
A. No. There are elements of TRT within the course, however, this programme uses a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) approach together with the NBM (Neuro-biological Model). The TMGC, upon which the E-Programme was originally based, is compliant with the Department of Health Commissioning Pathway for Tinnitus that was published in 2008  http://www.18weeks.nhs.uk/Content.aspx?path=/achieve-and-sustain/Specialty-focussed-areas/Audiology/audiology/tinnitus/

4. Q. Does this programme help if I have Meniere’s Disease?
A. The E-Programme will help you manage your tinnitus more effectively, but it does not include Vestibular Rehabilitation which is very helpful for people who have Menieres. For more information about MD http://www.menieres.org/

5. Q. I have problems with sinuses. Could my Eustachian Tube be blocked?
A. Yes it could. When your Eustachian Tube doesn’t open and close properly when you swallow and yawn, the air pressure in the middle ear becomes a negative pressure rather than the air pressure being the same as the air pressure in your environment.

6. Q. How can I clear my Eustachian Tube(s)
A. You could ask your GP for help and s/he may recommend a decongestant. Alternatively, you can use a vapour/steam inhalant of eucalyptus oil everyday over a period of several weeks until the ET clears.

7. Q. Is this E-Programme “evidence-based”?
A. The TMGC (Tinnitus Management Group Course) upon which this E-Programme is based is evidence-based, therefore the materials used in the E-Programme are evidence-based. The Tinnitus E-Programme has been independently evaluated by NHBRU Stage 1 (completed 2017) and there are subsequent plans for it to go to RCT (Randomised Control Trial) in 2018

8. Q. Is taking this Therapist-Led Tinnitus E-Programme better than seeing someone face-to-face for help with my tinnitus?
A. The reason the E-Programme was set up in 2009 was because it became apparent to me that so many people do not have access to face-to-face help. If you have a Hearing Therapist (UK) in your area, you could ask your GP how to arrange an appointment to see them. The problem since 2009 - as a self-directed self-help course of Tinnitus Management - was that most people who tried to use the Tinnitus E-Programme had too much tinnitus distress, anxiety and/or depression to be able to work their way through it all on their own (self-directed). Everyone who joins from 1st July 2018 has access to 1-1 online video sessions and email support with Debbie Featherstone, a Hearing Therapist and Psychotherapist, so she can also help with anxiety and depression when they are issues too. Debbie has been a specialist in Tinnitus Management for 25 years - 17 years in the NHS and 8 years in private practice.

9. Q. I’ve heard CBT is what I should have to help me with my tinnitus. Is that right?
A. CBT is an evidence-based approach that helps people deal with their tinnitus. If you have access to a properly qualified and registered CBT Practitioner / therapist, and they understand the mechanisms of tinnitus/hyperacusis, you could take the opportunity to work with them. Check the qualifications and registrations of any counsellor/therapist you are thinking of working with. Provided the counsellor/therapist is registered appropriately, they will be pleased that you have asked! If you work through the Therapist-Led Tinnitus E-Programme, and still need CBT at the end of it (a significant percentage of people do), there is a mechanism under development to transfer TEP Users who have completed the Therapist-Led TEP, on to a course of CBT  

10. Q. I have had really bad anxiety (and/or depression) for years - can the Tinnitus E-Programme help me?
A. You can learn about the mechanism of tinnitus and use excellent relaxation exercises available in the Tinnitus E-Programme that will also help anxiety; the one to one help available from 1 July 2018 through the TEP and beyond when appropriate can enable you to deal with deep rooted anxiety and/or depression. These are associated with distressing tinnitus due to the brain physiology / neurobiology involved in tinnitus distress, anxiety and depression.  

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