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Release: May 14, 1999

Editors: This release is about a workshop, open to the public, with a registration deadline of May 28.

People with tinnitus invited to attend UI workshop

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Temporary buzzing, ringing and screeching can be annoying enough, but what if you can't silence those distracting noises?

Tinnitus, also known as "ringing in the ears," is such a serious problem for about 12 million people in the United States that they seek professional assistance. There is no cure or medication for tinnitus; however, treatment methods such as cognitive behavioral techniques can help some people better manage the often distressing condition.

Recognizing the growing importance of this approach, the University of Iowa invites people with tinnitus to participate in its first-ever informational conference, "Cognitive Behavior Therapy: A Workshop for People with Tinnitus, Their Friends, and Family," on June 25 and 26. The registration deadline is May 28. The $395 enrollment fee includes some meals and conference materials. For more information, contact Cheryl Schlote at (319) 384-9757 or by e-mail at

The workshops will not provide clinical services but will focus on psychological self-management methods such as developing attention control, learning relaxation techniques, managing problematic thoughts and dealing with sleep problems. People can learn approaches to help prevent tinnitus from distracting them or making them feel depressed, angry or anxious. The UI Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery and Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology will co-sponsor the event.

The workshop presenters include Richard S. Tyler, Ph.D., event organizer and UI professor of otolaryngology and speech pathology and audiology, and two clinical psychologists from Australia, Jane Henry, Ph.D., of the University of New South Wales in Sydney and Peter H. Wilson, Ph.D., of Flinders University of South Australia in Adelaide. Henry and Wilson have developed a unique skills training program shown to be effective in clinical trials.

Tyler said the hope is that through the workshop "people with tinnitus will be in a better position to be their own advocates and seek out professionals who can help them in their own communities."

The mechanisms of tinnitus are not fully known, Tyler said, but the condition seems to be caused by hyperactive nerve fibers. Individuals with tinnitus perceive sounds that range from hissing to roaring to clicking when no external sound actually exists.

If you suspect you have tinnitus, check with your doctor or see a qualified ear, nose and throat specialist.