How do you envision a typical practice implementing mindfulness therapy for tinnitus? Would you employ in combination with tinnitus masking devices? Can you bill third party payers for it? What are the start-up costs? Is there a network professionals can tap into for support and advice after they begin using it?

Patients come to us for our expertise, answers, recommendations and relief. When it comes to tinnitus and sound sensitivity disorders, statements like, “There is really nothing that can be done” and “You just have to go home and live-with-it” are false and only serve to increase stress and anxiety, both of which we know only increase the very symptom we are trying to reduce.

The audiologist’s strength is with measurement of hearing loss, education, hearing aid fitting and dispensing, ear protection, sound therapy, and the like. But what can the patient do outside of the audiologist’s office to further healing? In the past, audiologists have felt pressure to solve the tinnitus puzzle for their patients. With mindfulness-based programs, audiologists are now in a great position to empower and direct their tinnitus patients to do their own personal work of healing. For audiologists interested in introducing the MBTSR program, they can refer patients directly to MindfulTinnitusRelief.com to complete the tinnitus/hyperacusis management puzzle.

Hearing-health professionals have found it helpful to refer their tinnitus/hyperacusis patients directly to the MindfulTinnitusRelief.com website to complete on their own in between their audiology visits. As mentioned earlier, using a combination of devices such as sound generators in conjunction with a mindfulness-based course is most helpful in shifting tinnitus/hyperacusis from a “bothersome” to a “non-bothersome” sensation. During appointments, audiologists can practice their craft of measuring hearing loss, fitting devices, providing tinnitus/hyperacusis education, offering sound generators, and the like. By then referring their patients to the MindfulTinnitusRelief.com course to complete at home on their own, professionals have commented that the 8-week online MindfulTinnitusRelief.com has empowered people with tinnitus/hyperacusis to put healing back into the hands of the patient, where it largely belongs. This takes the undue pressure off of the audiologist to solve the tinnitus puzzle for their patients during their visits.
Unfortunately at this time, third-party payers are not reimbursing for the course but I have kept the cost relatively low at $325 for the full 8-week program. Agencies supporting the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and the Musician’s Clinic of New Orleans have free use of the course for their patients and I am currently working with agencies like the VA to make the course readily available to Veterans.
The MindfulTinnitusRelief.com online program has a strong support network for professionals wanting to learn more about mindfulness as an approach to sound sensitivity disorders through a weekly blog published at MBTSRBlog.com, frequently updated resources listed on the website, MindfulTinnitusRelief.com, and through direct contact with the MBTSR program at jg@mindfultinnitusrelief.com.

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