Finding Silence: Inspiring Journeys to a Tinnitus-Free Life
"The challenge with tinnitus is making the proper diagnosis and then developing the correct, custom prescriptive treatment plan. No two people with tinnitus are alike, and therefore, our treatment plans are tailored to meet each patient’s tinnitus, hearing, and cognitive needs”.
--Dr. Keith Darrow
For most people living with tinnitus, it seems almost impossible to remember life without all the noise in your ears (or head).
Steve R., a resident of St. George, Utah, and one of our many patients, knows from personal experience the stress, anxiety, lack of sleep and inability to focus on his work that came with his tinnitus. Steve first noticed his tinnitus only at night or when the house was quiet, but over time, he started to notice it more and more, and eventually, it would get in the way of his ability to hear others and concentrate at work. The ringing ultimately interfered with his relationships with his family. He describes what finally brought him to seek treatment:
"I was sick of the ringing in my head. I was losing sleep, was not productive at work, and was becoming less tolerable to be around at home. I was so desperate that I tried the magic pills, but nothing seemed to work.”
Steve, his wife and his two daughters knew something had to change, or things would only get worse for all of them. Once they made the family decision for Steve to seek treatment, they decided they would embark on the journey with him. Steve and his family met with one of our experienced team members to talk about his experiences, how his tinnitus was impacting him at work and home and how it was impacting everybody around him. We also discussed Steve’s goals for treatment.
Once Steve got through all the testing, the diagnosis was clear. Steve, like the other +90% of people with tinnitus, had been suffering from damage to his hearing system, and this was the root cause of his ringing. As was explained, “damage to the ears, be it from age, noise or even medications, can compromise the neural connections from ear to brain and cause a significant increase in neural activity in higher brain centers, which the person then perceives as tinnitus.” Steve and his family were told that once he started treatment, it could take his brain anywhere from a few weeks to six months to adapt and notice relief from his tinnitus.
Some of our patients get a little anxious when they hear that timetable for recovery, but we believe it is important that patients have realistic expectations for treatment. "Every patient is looking to live a ring-free life as quickly as possible, and that is our goal with every patient, but the brain can take time to rewire and adapt in order to silence the tinnitus.”
Steve started treatment on day 1, and he instantly knew he was on the road to recovery. Since he had been experiencing tinnitus for several years, he knew treatment wouldn’t be an overnight success, so he went about his daily life as a graphic designer, husband, father, and avid cook.
Steve said, "I knew I signed up for treatment that wasn’t an instant cure, and so I expected some days would be better than others, but I wasn’t going to give up! I decided that I was going to follow my doctor’s treatment plan to the 'T.' I woke up every day and started using my treatment devices, and I kept them in until the end of my day. It certainly helps that I couldn’t see or feel them because of how small the new technology is.”
Patience paid off for Steve, and after his first 60 days of treatment, he is now living a tinnitus-free life, sleeping better, hearing better, performing better at work, and is much more pleasant to be around at home. We emphasize that cases like Steve's are all too common and are too often dismissed by primary care physicians. “With the right diagnosis and proper treatment program, nearly 9 in 10 people with tinnitus can experience significant relief from the annoying sounds in their head.”
The coalition of Excellence In Audiology (www.excellenceinaudiology.org) certified tinnitus specialists across the country treat adults with mild to severe tinnitus and hearing loss. "Given how slowly tinnitus and hearing loss can develop as we age, it makes sense that patients wait longer than they should to seek out treatment. Our goal is to be a resource for patients, a place where they can learn about the medical treatment of tinnitus and hearing loss. Although there are nearly 50 million people living with tinnitus, we treat every patient as an individual."
Steve knows he is in this for the long haul and that he must remain committed to his treatment plan. He always urges others to seek treatment from their local Excellence In Audiology center and to stay committed to their treatment plan.
"I'm 57 years old, and I have a lot of life left to live, and I'm not going to live it with ringing in my ears. I want to live my best life, stay sharp as I age, and enjoy every ring-free moment I can with the loves of my life, my wife, and daughters.” ~Steve R.
|You can view Steve’s tinnitus treatment success by scanning the QR code:|
Frank W., a resident of Central Ohio was one of the 50 million American’s living with tinnitus and the anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation and concentration problems that come with it.
Like so many, Frank heard the phantom sounds of tinnitus in his ears and deep in his head - and it was driving him mad! His tinnitus was pushing him and his family to the brink of desperation. Frank was spending a small fortune in attempts to suppress his tinnitus by purchasing magical pills, planning cross-continental trips in search of a cure, and spending countless hours on his therapist’s couch. He often thought ‘I can’t live this way anymore’. Frank, like too many people suffering with tinnitus, thought the ringing was too much to bear and considered suicide.
Thankfully, frank found the help he needed from Dr. Kyle Woods; a healthcare provider certified by the Excellence In Audiology network.
As Frank put it, his condition was dire. He would wake up in the middle of the night because the noise was unbearable. He heard the tinnitus all day and all night, and at times it would get louder – and never got softer. He often questioned whether he wanted to live another day; it was that bad. Like so many in his situation, he desperately searched for answers anywhere he could find them. Frank told his psychotherapist on several occasions ‘I’m not sure I can live this way anymore’.
Frank searched the internet, like so many, and stumbled upon the American Tinnitus Association’s website that recommends several practices that they say you should seek out if you have tinnitus. Frank and his family were willing to go anywhere they thought would help them, from Ohio, to New York City, to Philadelphia or anywhere. He even tried to be part of a tinnitus study happening on a college campus. Frank even came close to hoping on a plane to go to Ireland because supposedly there is a solution overseas that could solve tinnitus. Frank, and his family, were desperate to find an answer.
Thankfully Frank came across the Excellence In Audiology network of certified tinnitus providers – and this was the beginning of his journey to living a life with less tinnitus.
You can learn more about Frank’s journey by watching his online video (follow the QR code) and read excerpts from his video:
“I said to my doctor early on that if I could just find some kind of relief, I would be so happy. Although it is early in my journey, I'm finding that peace. Anyone who is suffering needs to know that I'm going to be able to live another day because of the solution that has been crafted for me.
It (tinnitus and hearing loss) affects your relationships and if you don't do something about it, shame on you. It's not about the money. Forget about the money. It's about quality of life and living today the best that you can and being able to say, “I'm going to wake up tomorrow and want to live and do the best that I can”.
I was able to get my appointment quickly and the people I met were so welcoming and fantastic. While they were welcoming at the other places I visited, they didn't have the solutions I needed. I recommend that you… go through the testing and see what's available. You will see a difference, a positive difference. I have read about so many people who have said that they are struggling with tinnitus, and they don't know whether they could live another day - if you're not going to try this solution then you're not desperate enough. There is a solution, and we are thrilled to finally find some relief.”
|You can view Frank’s tinnitus treatment success story by scanning the QR code:|