Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) – What Is It and Does It Work?

By | June 18, 2020

tinnitus retraining therapyIf you are plagued by chronic ringing in the ears, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) is a possible solution. It combines counseling or teaching with the use of low-level broadband noise. The main goal of TRT is to help you become so accustomed to your tinnitus that it fades into the background and is no longer a nuisance.

Tinnitus retraining therapy is sometimes also known as tinnitus habituation therapy. It is an extremely useful tool that can provide you with peace of mind and some much-needed relief. Furthermore, as a form of therapy for tinnitus, it addresses a problem that cannot be resolved by surgery or medication.

While many people can accept tinnitus and take it in stride, others suffer terribly. Some feel like they will go out of their minds if they can’t do something to stop the incessant ringing. In many cases, these individuals also develop hyperacusis or decreased sound tolerance, which is when you become over-sensitive to certain frequencies of sound. Fortunately, tinnitus retraining therapy can successfully address this problem as well.

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How Does Tinnitus Retraining Therapy Work?

tinnitus retraining therapy and counseling

TRT basically consists of two parts:

First, your audiologist or specialist will give you counseling to teach you about tinnitus and how your brain processes sound. This part helps to demystify tinnitus and aims to answer any questions you may have. It also helps decrease anxiety, fear, or discomfort related to your tinnitus.

Counseling and teaching is a vital part of tinnitus retraining therapy. It helps you break negative perceptions and push your tinnitus to the back of your mind until it ceases to be a problem or distraction.

The second part of TRT uses sound therapy. Your audiologist will give you a low-level noise or sound to focus on. To do this, they fit you with a small device that you wear behind your ear. This device looks like a hearing aid and is called a Tinnitus Control Instrument (TCI). It will be set up to generate relaxing sounds or white noise, which offers a distraction from your tinnitus.

If you also have hearing loss present, your audiologist may add amplification to the mix of sound. This will be delivered via hearing aids to provide better stimulation of your auditory system.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy Video: How TRT Works

How Effective is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy?

People who begin tinnitus therapy are seeking answers. This study is one example that suggests TRT with a TCI may be an effective treatment for tinnitus. However, it is important to understand that tinnitus habituation does not happen overnight.

Most people need to continue sessions for a year to a year and a half to get satisfactory results. Once you achieve habituation however, treatment is no longer necessary.

In the beginning, you may see tinnitus retraining therapy as a coping mechanism. But once habituation occurs, the ringing or buzzing noise becomes a part of your subconscious and is no longer even perceived.

TRT for chronic tinnitusThere is No Magic Cure for Tinnitus

Tinnitus can be very frustrating, simply because there is no one single cure. Doctors generally cannot pinpoint the source of the problem, although it is thought to have a neural basis.

Unfortunately, medical professionals do not have a quick and easy fix. No magic wand will make tinnitus go away.

If it really bothers you, you might want to consider an innovative solution such as tinnitus retraining therapy to deal with your situation.

Tinnitus is Not the Same for Everyone

Interestingly, many people who have tinnitus are not adversely affected by it. It is as if they don’t even notice the ringing that is with them every day. However, others find it to be a torment which ruins their concentration, causes sleep disorders, and a heightened sense of anxiety. Tinnitus habituation therapy has been developed to help these individuals.

Tinnitus Habituation is Effortless

Once you achieve genuine tinnitus habituation, you no longer need to make any effort. To illustrate this, think about the sounds that are part of your daily life. From the rush of traffic going by the house to the rain coming down on the roof, or the low hum of the air conditioner, low-level noise is all around you.

Over time, you no longer notice these sounds unless you choose to focus on them. It’s not a matter of being unable to hear them. You simply don’t notice them anymore as you become habituated, or accustomed to them.

Does TRT Actually Retrain Your Brain?

tinnitus habituation therapy retrains the brainTinnitus retraining therapy teaches you to transform that loud ringing in your ears into a signal that you no longer perceive. The goal is to retrain your brain and take away meaning for that sound so that it is no longer a point of focus.

With intensive counseling sessions that are given to you on an individual basis, you can finally overcome tinnitus. You will have a long-term solution that doesn’t involve invasive surgery or the use of chemicals for relief.

Be sure to do your research when you look for a therapist. Seek out one who is well-schooled in tinnitus retraining therapy and has a positive track record.

Silence is Not Golden…

It interesting to note that silence is not the answer if you suffer from tinnitus. Even after you achieve habituation with tinnitus retraining therapy, it is a good idea to use to use low-level background noise as a distraction. From various soundtracks that you play at night to provide a soothing focus, to recordings of soft environmental sounds, it is best to avoid complete silence. Otherwise, you may suffer a relapse if your mind reverts to focus on the ever-present ringing in your ears.

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