What to expect
The initial assessment is extensive, rarely takes less than 90 minutes and most commonly is up to 2 hours. It includes validated questionnaire measures including the THI (Tinnitus Handicap Inventory) and TFI (Tinnitus Functional Index) as well as measures for anxiety and mood. Where hyperacusis is part of the problem, a hearing sensitivity questionnaire is also used.
Subsequent appointments are each approximately one hour, and there is work to undertake between appointments. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is standard and the complete intervention is completed over 12 sessions on average. Where individuals require more than 12 sessions, they receive them at NO ADDITIONAL COST. Final measures are undertaken routinely at the final appointment
The point of the assessment is to find out from you how tinnitus is affecting you now. However, it is important to place this in the context of your experience of tinnitus from when it began
So I will want to hear your 'story' and we will discuss this in some detail
The second part of the assessment is to quantify distress as it is now. For this, we will use clinical 'measures' in the form of questionnaires. There are 2 tinnitus distress measures: the THI (Tinnitus Handicap Inventory) and the TFI (Tinnitus Functional Index)
The other measures used are a screen questionnaire that identifies whether there is any significant anxiety or low mood/depression; where these are identifiable, we use the Beck Inventories for Anxiety and Depression (BAI and BDI)
It does not necessarily follow that someone with significant tinnitus distress also scores highly in the BAI or BDI; however, it is essential that if there is significant anxiety and/or depression, that it is identified at assessment and is treated through appropriate therapy as part of the process of tinnitus management
Finalising the Assessment
At the end of the assessment, I am able to advise on approximately how many sessions will be needed
On average, most of my patients need up to 12 sessions. This is up to 12 hours of appointments, over a period of 8 - 16 weeks and includes 'homework' involving using regular relaxation exercises (these reduce sympathic activity in the autonomic nervous system) and CBT-related homework from session 3-5 onwards
Patients with particularly complex needs are likely to need appointments over a period longer than the more usual 8-16 weeks.
Where you wish to go ahead, we will book your first appointment - usually to begin the following week