A NEW INTEGRATED PROGRAM FOR TINNITUS PATIENT MANAGEMENT: WIDEX ZEN THERAPY

Summary of the study by Sweetow & Jeppesen, 2012

INTRODUCTION

Dozens of counselling and sound therapies have been proposed over the past two decades. While each of these approaches has been reported to be beneficial for certain patients, none are universally effective, and only a few have survived the test of time. Furthermore, none of the existing tinnitus therapies directly address all of the problems that contribute to the distress experienced by tinnitus patients. Inattention to any of these issues can lead to failure.

In this paper, we describe a new integrated approach to tinnitus patient management that incorporates not only the optimal segments of existing therapies, but novel acoustical stimuli and relaxation exercises, as well.

THE FOUR MAIN COMPONENTS OF WZT

The overall objective of Widex Zen Therapy (WZT) is to ensure that the tinnitus does not negatively impact the patient’s quality of life. It does not purport to be a cure, or to suppress tinnitus. The four main components of WZT are:

  • Counselling: This is both instructional and adjustment based, to educate the patient and assist the limbic system to alter or reclassify the negative interpretation of the tinnitus. For patients with high tinnitus distress levels, the use of Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (CBI) is recommended.
  • Amplification: This stimulates the ears and brain in order to minimize increases in central activity (overcompensation) and maladaptive cortical reorganization.
  • Fractal tones: A novel, proven acoustic stimulus—filtered in accordance with the hearing loss and delivered dichotically in a discreet, inconspicuous, and convenient manner—designed to both relax and provide acoustic stimulation.
  • Relaxation strategy program: Highlighted by behavioral exercises and sleep management.

    CONCLUSION

    ...those patients who have increasingly significant negative reactions to their tinnitus will be best treated with a comprehensive program that includes cognitive-behavioral concepts, relaxation exercises, and sleep management, along with counseling and acoustic tools.

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