Dealing with the challenges of tinnitus can be a lifelong battle and while there isn’t yet a “cure” per se, there are many treatment approaches that may work including tinnitus retraining therapy. While it may not be the cure you are desperately seeking, it just may be able to provide you with some relief from the various noises produced by tinnitus so that this does not prevent you from leading a full and vibrant life.
Tinnitus retraining therapy is a form of habituation therapy which helps sufferers cope with tinnitus by not focusing on the noises produced whether it is ringing, buzzing, whistling, humming, clicking, static that you hear in your head. The rationale for this treatment method is basically “what you don’t focus on ceases to have power over you”.
You can think of this therapy when you consider your daily life. For instance, someone who lives by the train tracks may initially be annoyed or notice when a train goes by but the longer they live near the train tracks, the more the sounds of the train going by cease to matter and gradually fade into the background until they no longer notice or are affected by the noises.
Or traffic noises. At first you may notice them as you drive but the longer you drive, the more they fade into the background until you no longer hear them although they are still there.
However, the only times that retraining therapy may not work is when the person is afraid of the stimulus or there is some significant aversion to the stimulus such as a gunshot.
There are three main stages of tinnitus retraining therapy;
1. Information gathering
Information will be obtained extensively about the patient that includes the patient’s daily living habits, patient history, etc, in order to create a personalized treatment regimen.
Many tinnitus sufferers are anxious or fearful of tinnitus. Feeling this way about tinnitus will not enable the retraining or habituation therapy to work. Counseling is therefore necessary to remove the anxiety or fearfulness associated with tinnitus so that the patient does not feel threatened by tinnitus or feel that it is dangerous.
In order to help the patient stop being fearful or anxious about tinnitus, the therapist uses various techniques such as stress management techniques as well as deep relaxation exercises to divert the patient’s concentration away from tinnitus. Once this is accomplished, the therapy moves on to the next stage.
3. Background noise
Using various devices worn behind the ear (sound masker, stereo earphone, etc), the patient will then be exposed to low levels of background noise continuously while keeping the noises of tinnitus just above the background noise so that both noises are perceived as one and the same by the brain.
After several months, the patient should start to become accustomed to both this background noise as well as the tinnitus.
Tinnitus retraining therapy vs. masking therapy
Masking therapy seeks to cover up the various noises of tinnitus which is not the goal of tinnitus retraining therapy. When sound maskers are turned off, tinnitus returns whether immediately or after a few minutes or hours. With tinnitus retraining or habituation therapy, the sounds of tinnitus are always heard above the background noise in order to help the brain to ignore both the background and tinnitus noises.
After the devices are removed with tinnitus retraining therapy, the goal is for the tinnitus to be reduced in pitch or be gone by helping the brain become completely habituated to the noise.
How long does tinnitus retraining therapy last?
This depends on the treatment facility that you use but several months are usually required for the therapy to take effect.
While tinnitus retraining therapy may work for some sufferers, it does not get to the root cause of the problem. Holistic methods are the only methods that attempt to get to the root cause of the condition which can help cure it.
One of the most popular holistic methods used to cure tinnitus naturally are documented in the Tinnitus Miracle guide. Find out more about this bestselling holistic guide here and how it can help you flip the switch on all that loud ringing in your ears.