As tinnitus differs from person to person, and even from ear to ear, treatment is customized to suit each particular individual. Treatment takes approximately 6 months and there are 5 key stages:
Step 1: Comprehensive Personalized Assessment
Before commencing treatment, we will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your tinnitus and hearing to determine your audiological profile. Based on this evaluation, we will discuss the most appropriate treatment options with you and recommend whether or not Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment can help you.
Step 2: Processor Configuration
Once your audiological profile is determined, your Neuromonics Processor will be customized with your individual prescription and ordered from the manufacturer, located in Pennsylvania.
The Processor is a medical device that's small and lightweight - approximately the same size and weight of a mobile phone, and accompanied by high fidelity earphones. It delivers a pleasant acoustic signal (embedded in music) at a comfortable listening level. This sound stimulates a wide range of auditory pathways, as well as the emotional (limbic) system and the autonomic nervous system of the brain - which in turn, decreases disturbance from tinnitus over the course of your treatment. It will require about ten days to arrive at the Oregon Tinnitus & Hyperacusis Treatment Clinic.
Step 3: Pre-Conditioning Stage
The main goal of the Pre-Conditioning Stage of treatment is to provide relief from tinnitus symptoms while using the treatment. This occurs as the Processor delivers an acoustic signal that has a high level of interaction with your tinnitus perception. During this stage you are required to listen to the treatment (through earphones) for at least two hours each day - although some people prefer to listen to it longer. As the treatment can be used at different times throughout the day you may also begin to experience control over your tinnitus, instead of having the tinnitus controlling you. Support and education is provided throughout this stage by our Neuromonics clinician Dr. Marsha Johnson. This stage typically lasts for 2 months.
Step 4: Active Treatment Stage
Unlike the Pre-Conditioning Stage of treatment that provides relief from your tinnitus while using your Processor, the aim of the Active Treatment Stage is to begin to gain relief from your tinnitus outside of treatment times. The acoustic signal used in this stage of treatment is changed from the first stage of treatment. The aim of the new acoustic signal is to deliver an intermittent or lower level of interaction with your tinnitus perception. This allows desensitization to occur, which is proven to be efficient and effective at reducing the associated disturbance and impact on quality of life. As in the first stage of treatment, you will also be required to use the treatment for at least 2 hours a day, however as this stage progresses and tinnitus awareness and disturbance typically reduce so does the daily treatment dose. This stage of treatment typically lasts for 4 months.
Step 5: Maintenance Stage
After a successful program of treatment lasting six months, a maintenance program is devised for each individual to manage and control their tinnitus independently of clinician support. Many users find they may not feel the need to use the Processor any more. If they do continue listening, it's usually for less often and for less time each day to maintain the benefits achieved.
Who Should Try Neuromonics?
Individuals who have tinnitus, persistent and chronic, are eligible to use Neuromonics Therapy. There can be hearing loss, but there should be useable hearing in one or both ears in order to benefit. Case of severe or profound hearing loss may not be able to qualify for Neuromonics. The treatment is designed for adults, but there may be applications for pediatric patients *under 18, as well.
There appears to be improved sound sensitivity levels for users of Neuromonics who begin the program with some degree of hyperacusis. This is work under investigation and clinical results are being accumulated for future applications.
Neuromonics can also be prescribed for individuals with fluctuating tinnitus, such as in cases of repeated noise exposure, Meniere's Disease, or other medication induced tinnitus during repetitive regimens. The sound is very pleasant and soothing, and induces a relaxation response that is potentially beneficial to overall health and stress reduction.
Comments, questions? Contact Dr. Marsha Johnson.