What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the conscious perception of sound in the absence of an external source.  It has been described as ringing, buzzing, humming, roaring, waterfall, and sizzling.  Each person’s is unique and will affect each individual differently.

The onset of tinnitus can be associated with exposure to loud noise (both impulsive or long-term), certain medications, and trauma to the head or neck, to name a few.  It can also occur unrelated to an event.  The mechanism(s) causing the sound are not fully understood, although research has made strides in this direction more recently.  At this time there is no way to resolve the tinnitus for most patients, however there are treatments to help make it less intrusive. 

What is Offered at the UW Speech & Hearing Clinic?

The Tinnitus program at the UW Speech and Hearing Clinic is patterned after an evidenced based step-by-step program developed by the Veterans Administration and the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR) in Portland, Oregon called Progressive Audiologic Tinnitus Management or PATM. This program teaches you to manage your reaction to the tinnitus.

A free one-hour group educational seminar is offered on the first Monday of every month.  At the First Monday Tinnitus Seminar, we discuss what tinnitus is and is not, the latest research and various avenues of treatment. Anyone wishing to continue the PATM program, can register for PATM sessions at that time.

A hearing assessment is not necessary to participate in the First Monday Tinnitus Seminar but it will be recommended before proceeding with the PATM sessions (if not already completed within the previous 6 months.) 

Why should you have your hearing evaluated? A full hearing evaluation and workup is advocated as part of tinnitus management to assess the potential for medical remediation. Also, if you have a hearing loss in addition to tinnitus, ways to correct your hearing loss can be discussed. The solution for hearing loss might include a feature that also produces sounds that can divert your attention from the tinnitus. To make an appointment please call 206-543-5440 or email shclinic@uw.edu

What is PATM? This method is called progressive because it utilizes levels of support depending on what is needed. Some people with tinnitus only need basic questions answered. Other people need more than that. PATM does use sound therapy, however it differs from other methods because it teaches a person how to use sound to manage their reaction to tinnitus. PATM also uses counseling methods based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, including techniques for learning relaxation and deep breathing

Sessions are typically in groups, which are facilitated by Graduate student clinicians in Audiology and supervised by a Clinical Audiologist. You will be lead through a series of exercises and steps, with the goal being to learn how to change your reactions to tinnitus through:

  • Education
  • Use of sound therapy
  • Relaxation techniques

For patients with severe tinnitus, additional support through one-on-one counseling sessions with a mental health care provider may be recommended.  Services for psychology or mental health counseling are separate from the cost of audiology services and are not provided at the UW Speech & Hearing Clinic.

Sign Up For the First Monday Tinnitus Seminar

Please contact the UW Speech & Hearing Clinic office at 206-543-5440 or shclinic@uw.edu.  Class size is limited so reservations are required. Click here to link to our clinic registration information.

Cost

There is no cost for the First Monday Tinnitus Seminar. The PATM sessions are $25 each. Payment is due prior to each session. Services related to tinnitus treatment are not covered by Insurance at this time.

Parking

Parking is on the street for a fee, or there are limited spaces behind the clinic in the alley for free.

Additional Resources

National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR)  
http://www.ncrar.research.va.gov/

American Tinnitus Association
http://www.ata.org/

Oregon Hearing Research Center
http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/ent/research/ohrc-research/index.cfm

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/noiseinear.asp