Hissing, buzzing, beeping. Ringing, clicking, roaring. No matter the sound, tinnitus can be frustrating and for some even disabling. Because the condition is so exhausting and because there is no cure, it is difficult to offer counseling. Your clients may have trouble articulating their experiences and you may find it hard to manage their expectations and set goals for their treatment.
Fortunately, effective approaches exist to help your clients put words to their tinnitus and enable you to provide relief. In collaboration with a group of global tinnitus experts, the Ida Institute has developed a suite of tools that helps professionals to:
- Explore the client’s perception of tinnitus
- Understand how tinnitus impacts their lives
- Build hope and resilience
- Identify relevant counseling and coping strategies
The Tinnitus Thermometer
The Tinnitus Thermometer is based on a simple graphic that quickly and easily allows clients to describe how they are experiencing their tinnitus on the day of the appointment. Three open-ended questions structure the conversation, giving clients space to freely express their thoughts and feelings. Dr. Sharzad Cohen, Lead Audiologist at the Hearing Loss Solutions clinic and board member of the American Tinnitus Association, says: “I use the Tinnitus Thermometer with clients because it allows a visual aid to their emotions.”
By acquiring an understanding of how the clients are perceiving their tinnitus and how well they are coping, hearing care professionals are in a much better position to identify suitable strategies. The Tinnitus Thermometer can be shared with the client prior to the appointment and/or used at the start of every appointment to track how the client is coping over time.
The Tinnitus Communication Guide
The way you talk to your clients about their tinnitus can affect them tremendously. One of the most profound ways in which professionals can support their clients is by providing comfort and instilling a sense of hope. The Tinnitus Communication Guide is designed to help hearing care professionals communicate effectively and compassionately with their clients. Sharzad Cohen says “This simple guide makes our clinic staff think about the wants and needs of clients and consider how tinnitus could affect the lives of not only the client, but also their family and co-workers.”
A simple forecast graph is used to visualize how the tinnitus develops over time and illustrate that although the tinnitus is unlikely to subside, the level of distress it causes can decrease. This emphasizes an important and encouraging point: that many people with tinnitus find it becomes more manageable and less intrusive over time.
The Tinnitus First Aid Kit
Developed in partnership with the British Tinnitus Association, the Tinnitus First Aid Kit gives clients easy access to a wide range of informative material. While not intended to replace professional advice, the kit includes a collection of practical and tried-and-tested methods to help clients cope – from relaxation techniques to basic sound therapy.
The tools were developed by leading audiologists from around the world. Visit our Tinnitus Management page where you can download the tools for free as well as view videos of the tools in action and access related research and resources.