When it comes to hearing disorders, the symptoms differ from patient to patient, which is why it is important to have your condition assessed by a qualified professional to get the help you require. At Heidi Allan’s Practice, our audiologists assist patients with professional assessments to diagnose a wide range of hearing impairments, including conditions such as tinnitus and misophonia.

If you think that you are suffering from either of these hearing disorders, you can visit us at any one of our branches across the Durban area for a thorough assessment – as well as guidance on coping with the condition if required. You can visit us at our consulting rooms at Umhlanga Hospital Medical Centre, in Hillcrest at 22 Old Main Road, at the Reconnect Balance Clinic at Hillcrest Hospital.

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“Half the time you think your thinking you’re actually listening”

– Terence McKenna

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus causes an individual to constantly perceive sounds, even when there is no external sound present. The phantom sounds that are heard by most sufferers include a ringing, buzzing, clicking, hissing, humming, or roaring sound. The sounds may be perceived in one or both ears, and can differ in volume – in some cases, the sound is severe enough to hamper everyday activities.

The exact cause of tinnitus is difficult to determine and unfortunately there is no cure. There are certain health conditions, however, that are believed to cause or worsen tinnitus.

Some precautions that may prevent you from acquiring tinnitus, include:

  • Protecting your hearing – continued exposure to loud noises can damage the hair cells in your ears, which could lead to tinnitus or hearing loss over time. Therefore, wear hearing protection when you know you are going to be exposed to loud noises. There are now a number of apps available to measure the loudness levels of sound in your environment, including apps for your fitness watches. Use these apps to obtain more information about the noise in your environment. Your audiologist can recommend particular one to you.
  • Taking care of your cardiovascular health – living a healthy lifestyle, eating right and exercising regularly will ensure blood vessel health and therefore eliminate the risk of tinnitus caused by blood vessel disorders.
  • Turn down the volume – listening to loud music or watching television on high-volume for extended periods can be damaging to your ears. Turning the volume down can prevent tinnitus or hearing loss. A rule of thumb: if a person at arm’s length away from you can hear sound emanating from your headphones or earphones, the sound is too loud and can cause damage.

What is Misophonia?

Misophonia is a condition that causes a person to experience negative and distressing reactions to certain sounds that most people take little or no notice of. This disorder is not the same as hyperacusis, which is an over-sensitivity to the volume of sounds. Misophonia only elicits excessively negative and immediate emotional and physiological responses to certain sounds. Some of the most common sounds that can trigger distress include slurping, chewing, sniffing, etc.

The extreme sensitivity to certain sounds that sufferers experience can have a damaging effect on their daily living. Interactions with significant people in their lives can also be affected in ways that create tension or interfere with personal relationships. In an attempt to avoid problematic situations, a person with misophonia can become withdrawn and avoid certain situations such as eating with friends and family, going out to restaurants or visiting places of interest.

The team at Reconnect Lifestyle Hearing & Speech Therapy Solutions: Heidi Allan’s Practice focuses on sound enrichment therapy and specialized counselling to assist patients with this disorder. There are many tips on managing your sensitivity to certain sounds. Some tips include:

  • Having headphones and music nearby to reduce the effect of trigger sounds
  • If possible, leave the situation that is causing distress
  • To reduce stress, practice meditation, relaxation and rest
  • Listen to pleasant and comforting sounds and avoid total silence

Talk to Us
  about your symptoms and let our professional team assist you with an accurate diagnosis of your hearing disorder, along with effective ways to cope and lead a normal life. Make an appointment, today!

“If you have health, you probably will be happy, and if you have health and happiness, you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want. “

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“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”

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