Embark with us on the inspiring story of Dr. Suzanne May, a seasoned audiologist at Treble Health specializing in tinnitus management. Not only does she boast a wealth of professional expertise, but she also shares her personal experience as someone living with tinnitus. As she shares her narrative in conversation with Dr. Ben Thompson, the insights she provides will be invaluable for those navigating a similar path.
Holding a Doctor of Audiology degree from the University of Florida, Dr. Suzanne May’s illustrious career spans across various roles, including the manufacturing of devices and clinical work at the Veterans Hospital. A significant part of her journey has been at a major hospital in Sacramento, California. Throughout her tenure, she conducted educational seminars to educate physicians about hearing loss and tinnitus.
In 2022, Dr. Suzanne took the leap to join Treble Health, a leading telehealth service for tinnitus patients. Here, she channels her expertise in a way that truly resonates with her own experiences, helping to expand the reach and impact of Treble Health’s patient-centric services.
As a board-certified specialist in Tinnitus Management by the American Board of Audiology, Dr. Suzanne also holds a certificate in Progressive Tinnitus Management from the Veterans Hospital. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and a subject matter expert for the State of California license board. These accolades mark her out as a leading figure in her field.
Dr. Suzanne’s personal tryst with tinnitus began in her 20s, the consequence of noise exposure from playing drums in a band. After a head injury three years ago, her tinnitus increased in volume significantly. However, she found solace and success in a combination of tinnitus retraining therapy, sound therapy, and holistic approaches, all of which helped her manage her tinnitus at a more comfortable level.
Dr. Suzanne describes the initial few months with her tinnitus as a complicated period. Despite her professional knowledge, the application of strategies and the retraining process proved to be a different experience altogether. However, she worked with a counselor and engaged the resources of Treble Health to break the emotional loop cycle, and over 16 months, she was able to reduce her tinnitus to a more manageable level.
Her journey was marked by changes and discoveries about sound therapy’s role in her recovery, fluctuations in tinnitus volume, and the necessity for patience. Identifying sleep disturbances as one of the most significant issues she faced due to her tinnitus, Dr. Suzanne developed a sleep hygiene strategy, underscoring the need to reach out to professionals and establish a robust support system.
Habituation and tinnitus management can be challenging, often requiring a combination of retraining, counseling, and neuroplasticity coaching. The ultimate goal is to reach a point where patients can manage their tinnitus independently. Inspiring stories from Dr. Suzanne’s practice show that with the right guidance, individuals can learn to ignore their tinnitus and regain control over their lives.
Medical tests play a pivotal role in diagnosing and understanding the underlying cause of tinnitus. According to Dr. Suzanne and Dr. Thompson, audiologists specializing in tinnitus are best suited to guide patients through this process, identifying the cause of tinnitus and tailoring treatment accordingly.
Tinnitus maskers, which are hearing aids programmed for tinnitus masking, are one tool Dr. Suzanne found helpful. These devices allow users to hear ambient sounds around them, providing a softer level of sound than tinnitus to help the brain habituate to the sound. Dr. Suzanne suggests that most people with bothersome tinnitus could benefit from tinnitus maskers, although affordability and personal preferences may lead some to explore alternative options.
The advent of telehealth has made tinnitus care more accessible for patients. Treble Health, in particular, offers free online consultations, allowing patients to speak with an expert without leaving their homes. This shift to telehealth ensures patients can receive the care they need promptly, improving their chances of success in habituation and retraining their brains.
Dr. Suzanne encourages individuals with tinnitus not to lose hope, regardless of the duration of their symptoms. The journey to managing tinnitus is an ongoing process, and with access to new tools, strategies, and expert guidance from platforms like Treble Health, those living with tinnitus can find solace and regain control of their lives.