Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is a method for treating tinnitus and decreased sound tolerance, based on the neurophysiological model of tinnitus. This model postulates involvement of the limbic and autonomic nervous systems in all cases of clinically significant tinnitus and points out the importance of both conscious and subconscious connections, which are governed by principles of conditioned reflexes. The treatments for tinnitus and misophonia are based on the concept of extinction of these reflexes, labeled as habituation. TRT aims at inducing changes in the mechanisms responsible for transferring signal (i.e., tinnitus, or external sound in the case of misophonia) from the auditory system to the limbic and autonomic nervous systems, and through this, remove signal-induced reactions without attempting to directly attenuate the tinnitus source or tinnitus/misophonia-evoked reactions. As such, TRT is effective for any type of tinnitus regardless of its etiology. TRT consists of: (1) counseling based on the neurophysiological model of tinnitus, and (2) sound therapy (with or without instrumentation). The main role of counseling is to reclassify tinnitus into the category of neutral stimuli. The role of sound therapy is to decrease the strength of the tinnitus signal. It is crucial to assess and treat tinnitus, decreased sound tolerance, and hearing loss simultaneously. Results from various groups have shown that TRT can be an effective method of treatment.
Copyright (c) 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.