Do you ever notice that sometimes you hear sounds such as a ringing, buzzing, chirping or humming but there is no external source? Maybe this happens when you are in a quiet room, or when you are starting to feel bored? When this happens, it can often be caused by tinnitus.
Tinnitus is a condition where the passages between your ear canal and your brain’s auditory cortex do not receive the signals that they are expecting. This can cause your auditory nerve to stimulate sound to your brain’s neurons, even if you are in complete silence.
Tinnitus often occurs when a person has been exposed to loud noises, but it can also be as a result of medications, aging, earwax, or changes in the bones of your middle ear.
It can also be a symptom of other conditions, such as :
- Hearing loss,
- Meniere’s Disease,
- Acoustic Neuroma,
- Head or neck injuries,
If your tinnitus is very bothersome or very noticeable, you may struggle to follow along during a conversation.
In situations like this, it can be very helpful to learn how to speech (lip) read.
Speech (lip) reading involves watching the movements of the lips, jaw and tongue to “fill in the blanks” of words or sounds that may have been misses.
When lipreading, it can also be helpful to watch a person’s facial expressions, eye expressions, and body language in order to interpret what is being said.
Knowing the context of the conversation is helpful and allows you to make educated guesses to help you process words more quickly and accurately.
It can be hard to follow along with conversation when your ears are creating their own background noise.
Lipreading is a great tool to have in your kit, as it is helpful in a variety of environments, such as:
- During a meeting at work, lipreading can help you follow along with what is being said, even if your tinnitus is very distracting.
- In an educational setting, lipreading can help you understand the class and keep on top of your course work.
- During a video call, when the audio quality is lacking and your tinnitus is loud, lipreading can help you fill in the gaps.
Read Our Lips is a great introduction course to the world of lipreading, as it teaches you the lip movements associated with the speech sounds F, V, PH, P, B, M, TH, and more. Learning to lipread has proven to be beneficial for many people of all ages and backgrounds, including individuals who have tinnitus.
Although there is no cure for tinnitus, there are some things that you can do to manage it over time, they include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) involves relaxation and restructuring in order to change the way one thinks about their tinnitus. The aim of CBT is to make the sounds of tinnitus more manageable.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy: Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is a technique for managing tinnitus which involves using calming noises and environmental sounds which are the pitch and volume of the person’s tinnitus in order to make the tinnitus less noticeable.
Masking: Masking devices come in a variety of styles, including ones that are worn in a similar way as hearing aids, or white noise machines, can be helpful in masking the sound of tinnitus. masking, turning on a fan, listening to music at a low volume, or using a white noise app can make tinnitus less noticeable.
Learn and practice lipreading (an important part of overall speechreading) at your own pace from the comfort of your own home.
Feel more confident about your ability to communicate in challenging listening environments (like virtual calls) by learning to identify 8 of the easiest lip movements.
Feel more connected to conversations and the world around you. Video lessons (with captions for hearing accessibility) help you start, or build on, your ability to lip read.