Meet our Team:
Sandra Baker, M.Sc., Aud(C), RAUD, RHIP
Praise Chow, M.Sc., Aud(C), RAUD, RHIP
Goska Macior-Headrick, M.Sc., Aud(C), RAUD, RHIP
At the Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility, we provide evaluation and treatment of Tinnitus and Hyperacusis.
At Wavefront Centre, we provide evaluation and treatment of tinnitus and hyperacusis. Several of our Registered Audiologists are specifically trained in tinnitus and hyperacusis and provide Tinnitus Retraining Therapy as well as tinnitus information sessions. For more information on the clinic or to schedule an appointment contact one of our offices:
Browse the categories below to learn more about tinnitus, hyperacusis and our related services:
What is Tinnitus?
What Can Cause Tinnitus?
What to Do If You Experience Tinnitus?
What Are Hyperacusis and Decreased Sound Tolerance?
What Can Cause Hyperacusis?
How to Manage Hyperacusis?
Our Tinnitus and Decreased Sound Tolerance Program
What is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy?
Tinnitus is an involuntary perception of sound, sometimes heard as ringing, popping, or buzzing that is not present in the environment yet can be heard in the ears or the head. Some people may report a steady sound while others experience fluctuations in the sound’s quality or perceived loudness. If you are experiencing tinnitus, know that you are not alone. Tinnitus is very common. According to a recent analysis of Canadian data from Statistics Canada Health Report1, 9.2 million adult Canadians (37% of the population) experienced tinnitus in the past year, of which 1.7 million (7% of the population) reported it as bothersome.
The most common causes of tinnitus are hearing loss and noise exposure. However, other risk factors can include:
Hyperacusis is a form of decreased sound tolerance. Hyperacusis occurs when everyday sounds that most people can tolerate comfortably or consider only as slightly loud are perceived to be uncomfortably loud and at times even painful.
Another form of decreased sound tolerance is misophonia. It is defined as a strong dislike of specific sounds (such as: the sound of someone chewing, copy machine, certain voices, running water etc.). Phonobia is a form of misophonia with fear as the dominant emotion. Intolerance for these sounds may develop when people view them as invasion of their personal space.
Currently, we do not offer treatment for misophonia or phonophobia; however, we can offer reliable referral sources, if needed.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) is an approach to treating tinnitus based on the Neurophysiological Model of Tinnitus, developed by Dr. Pawel Jastreboff in the 1980s.
According to this model the exact causes of tinnitus are not important in its treatment. Once you start experiencing tinnitus, your brain activates a strong subconscious connection between an auditory system responsible for hearing and other brain areas, particularly the limbic system, responsible for an emotional response to sound, and the autonomic nervous system, which controls your body’s reaction to a perceived danger. These brain areas increase your attention to tinnitus, which in turn causes you to hear your tinnitus more, and can trigger strong reactions to it, such as annoyance or anxiety. This is known as a subconscious feedback loop and it explains why in some people tinnitus can be persistent and bothersome.
According to Dr. Jastreboff, tinnitus is a normal compensatory activity of our brain and as such “it is not a problem; it’s the reaction to the tinnitus that is a problem.” Because your reaction to tinnitus is a subconscious reflex, the only way to treat tinnitus is to break the feedback loop by reclassifying tinnitus to a neutral sound. When your brain no longer perceives tinnitus as threatening or annoying, it no longer gives it attention and importance, and even if you continue to hear it, it is no longer bothersome. This process is called habituation.
In order to reach habituation, audiologists provide a therapy based on a combination of extensive educational counselling and consistent use of sound enrichment. TRT supports the use of a partial masking sound that is pleasant to listen to, neutral enough as not to be too engaging, but able to provide relief from tinnitus.
Outline of TRT treatment:
TRT is appropriate for all types of tinnitus regardless of its causes. It has been used by many clinicians as a complete method or its elements can be utilized in combination with other approaches. In majority of cases, TRT successfully diminishes the distress caused by tinnitus and provides quality of life improvement. While there are no negative side effects, there is no guarantee that this treatment will work for every person. Treatment usually reaches clinical effectiveness after at least 9 months of therapy. Full treatment is typically achieved in 18-24 months. The success of this treatment will depend on your commitment to prescribed protocol, consistent use of sound therapy and adherence to the required timeline.
Hyperacusis Research: www.hyperacusisresearch.org
British Tinnitus Association: https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/
American Tinnitus Association: www.ata.org
Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility is the operating name for Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, a registered charitable organization.
Charitable Registration Number #108200098RR0001