A new way to manage tinnitus

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By Patricia Nugent

For nearly 15 percent of the population, ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, can range from a mild, temporary annoyance to a chronic, extreme and debilitating condition.

Although there is no cure, advances in sound therapy treatment have shown promise. Locally, Drs. Jane Kukula and Ashley Spisak, of Advanced Audiology Concepts, have introduced the Progressive Tinnitus Management program.

“Many of our patients suffer from tinnitus—some to the point of being depressed and sleep-deprived because of it—so we are thrilled to bring it to the area,” says Dr. Jane. “By managing a patient’s perceptions and reactions to the noise within their ears, we can minimize the impact and help them manage their response to the noise so it doesn’t interfere in their life.”

First, patients are assessed. Then the audiologists introduce different types of sound such as “soothing” or “interesting,” and encourage patients to focus on those sounds to rewire their neurological reactions to the ringing in their ears.

For more intense cases, a hearing aid may be used to supply a low level of sound and help block out the perception of ringing.

Connecting Hearing Loss to Heart Disease
Since February is American Heart Month, Dr. Jane points to new research connecting patients suffering from hearing loss with heart disease.

“It turns out the same issues that trigger heart disease, including breakdown in vascular structure, build-up of plaque and reduced blood flow, affect the ears in the same way they do the heart,” she explains.

“And since the structures in the ear are somewhat more fragile than those in the heart, the earliest detection of hearing loss could be considered a predictor of heart disease and a path to preventing cardiac problems even earlier.”

Advanced Audiology Concepts is located at 8897 Mentor Avenue in Mentor. Call the office, 440-205-8848, or visit AAChear.org for more information.