Department of Audiology
Tinnitus Q and A
What is TRT?
TRT stands for tinnitus retraining
therapy, or sound therapy. It basically involves training
the person to ignore the sounds of their tinnitus. The
person is fit with small devices that look like hearing
aids. These devices delivery low level sounds into the
persons ears and over a long period of time (i.e.,
up to 2 years) they learn to ignore their tinnitus sounds.
This is very important part, because the sound never leaves
the person the person is not as bothered by the
sounds. This therapy requires extensive training and should
be done only in consultation with an Audiologist trained
What is residual inhibition? Is it new?
Residual inhibition is a well-known
and researched phenomenon. It is used to describe a procedure
whereby a person with tinnitus is exposed to a sound very
similar to their tinnitus in a very controlled manner.
For very few people, this procedure may reduce the sounds
that they hear. But the relief is only temporary. That
is, the procedure has to be repeated once the persons
tinnitus comes back. So it is not a cure. Certainly more
research is needed before a specialist can commit to offering
this to everyone with tinnitus.
What will work for my tinnitus?
There is no cure for tinnitus, but
it can be managed successfully. But before trying any
treatment, a person with tinnitus should get a referral
to an audiologist. The audiologist will perform a complete
audiological evaluation, which usually will involve a
referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor to rule out
any medical causes for the tinnitus. Often times there
is nothing that can be done medically. However, there
are a variety of treatments available and a qualified
audiologist can outline them after a complete assessment.
I saw an Audiologist 6 months ago about
my tinnitus. How come I am not in therapy?
A large number of people who have had
a formal audiological evaluation for their tinnitus do
not require such intensive therapy. The evaluation tends
to focus on providing the patient with correct information,
answering questions and taking the mystery out of the
tinnitus. After the assessment and counseling, most people
can "handle" their tinnitus. If you require
further information, please contact your local audiologist
to discuss your results.