Our speaker this time was Jan Petty, who is co-ordinator for our sister Support Group in the New Forest area. Jan has over 40 years experience as an NHS Hearing Therapist, and on Saturday she spoke to us about the principles behind Sound Therapy or Sound Enrichment.
Sound Enrichment equipment comes in a variety of forms ‒ from portable bedside/ table top sound generators to smartphone Apps and miniature devices that can be worn in the ear in conjunction with a hearing aid ‒ but they all work in the same way by providing natural sounds, white noise or music of your choice to help distract you from the noise of your tinnitus (or to help you habituate to it). Jan stressed how important it was to persevere with this therapy and be creative in your choice of sound enrichment ‒ experiment with different sounds until you find the one that works best for you. One aid she particularly recommended was the Sleep Sound pillow insert supplied by Connevans. It consists of stereo speakers stitched into a band of foam fabric: they can be easily tucked into the pillow, and by connecting them to your audio device you can listen in comfort and privacy to your own sound track.
Jan also spoke about the need to have regular hearing check-ups. She advised keeping a record of your audiograms and hearing test results so that you build up a personal history of your tinnitus .
A lovely feature of Jan’s presentation was the way she built her talk around the personal stories of our own members: this made her comments very relevant and meaningful. It was a relaxed and very professional talk, with lots of group interaction, and plenty of wry humour. Fantastic! And there was even some ‘poetry as therapy’ at the end (see 'Read More' below).
A great talk, and our thanks to Jan for coming all the way from Christchurch to speak to us.
Nine years on,
Deep in the forest something stirs . . .
Crows cackle, twigs crackle, leaves rustle, even Jacks Russell -
Is a snake hissing, it's quietness I’m missing.
Can I hear rushing, gushing or flushing?.
Hikers singing, a church bell ringing?
Cyclists panting, yogis chanting,
or a dog whistle - so shrill, makes me ill!
Am I dreaming or is a child screaming?
Pigs truffle snuffling & can I hear Badgers shuffling?
Is my head drumming? humming? or is someone coming?
I'm in the New Forest, so can't be my plumbing!
Is your buzz very loud when you're part of a crowd? Does it
sound like a riot, when you want to be quiet?
There's constant buzzing so bees are busy - a good sign!
But the buzz in my head - it's mine
and no, that's certainly not fine.
-- Jan Petty