Tinnitus Retraining Therapy – Evidence for Efficacy

There is a significant clinical need to develop effective therapies to treat chronic bothersome tinnitus. The incidence and prevalence of chronic debilitating tinnitus is increasing, primarily because of noise-exposure in recreational and military settings. Although there is a long history of using counseling and sound therapy to treat tinnitus, there have been few clinical trials investigating the efficacy of these interventions. Factors impacting clinical trials include use of appropriate controls, the placebo effect, metrics with sufficient sensitivity and specificity to detect clinically relevant improvement, and limited funding for tinnitus research. In consequence, there has been little advancement in the clinical science of applied tinnitus treatments in recent years. Tinnitus retraining therapy has been popularized worldwide, although the evidence for treatment efficacy has been restricted to Levels 3, 4 and 5 data. The scientific rationale for treating chronic tinnitus with counselling and acoustic stimulation will be presented. The technique of tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) as proposed by Jastreboff and Hazell will be reviewed. The challenges inherent in investigating treatment efficacy using valid, well-controlled trials will be presented. Finally, data from two clinical trials investigating the effect of tinnitus retraining therapy on chronic tinnitus will be presented.

Learning Objectives:

  1. 1. At the conclusion of this presentation, learners will understand the basic elements of tinnitus retraining therapy.
  2. 2. Learners will be familiar with the challenges inherent in conducting valid clinical trials that assess treatment efficacy for chronic tinnitus.
  3. 3. Learners will have increased knowledge of current outcomes data comparing TRT with standard of care aural rehabilitation