person doing tinnitus retraining therapy

How to Manage Tinnitus with Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

Tinnitus, that internal “ringing” in the ears, can be extremely painful and difficult to cope with. Many individuals have turned to Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) to seek some relief in their symptoms. TRT is a learning process to help deal with tinnitus and find coping mechanisms, or techniques, to help reduce the stress, anxiety, and any other emotional, mental, and physical effects of tinnitus. Ultimately, TRT is practiced to reach a better quality of life while living with tinnitus. 

TRT sessions are held with hearing health professionals where tricking the brain into ignoring the sound is their specialty and therefore, not possible to do alone at home. On the flip side, TRT is commonly used with all the different types of tinnitus.


Forms of tinnitus:

  • Subjective tinnitus: you are the only person who can hear the noise 
  • Objective tinnitus: involuntary muscle contractions where noise can be heard by the examiner 
  • Pulsatile tinnitus: a rhythmic sound
  • Somatic tinnitus: related to the sensory system
  • Neurological tinnitus: affects the brain’s auditory functions and can be caused by a disorder, like Meniere’s disease
  • Musical tinnitus: musical hallucinations or auditory imagery
  • Low-frequency tinnitus: not sure if the sound is internal or external

So, how does TRT work? Each clinic has their own style of conducting these therapy sessions. But regardless of where you receive your TRT sessions, there are three systems involved: the auditory system, the limbic system, and the autonomic nervous system. Some therapeutic steps that my be mixed into TRT sessions are:

  • Detailed information about the history and daily living habits are collected and discussed amongst the specialist and patient to help address why these sounds are being heard. 
  • Train the brain to reclassify unwanted sounds.
  • Psychological therapy teaching involves deep relaxation exercises and stress management. Eliminating anxiety and stress while learning to ignore the tinnitus through diverting concentration is practiced.

The goal is to “retrain” the brain and turn the tinnitus into a habituation of the noise. Reducing the negative associations that come with tinnitus can eliminate its threat and dangers, making it manageable to live with. Treatment duration depends on the treatment and on the facility it is being conducted at. Many individuals who have gone through TRT and other treatments for tinnitus have reported that tinnitus retraining therapy has more lasting results. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy is a treatment for individuals with moderate to severe tinnitus that combines sound therapy and counseling. 

AudioCardio is an evidence-based mobile app that delivers inaudible sound therapies designed to maintain and strengthen your hearing while providing relief from tinnitus by stimulating the cells inside your ear.

Additional Information

The effect of tinnitus retraining therapy on chronic tinnitus: A controlled trial

National Institute of Health

May 28, 2017