Tinnitus retraining therapy helps those suffering from tinnitus manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Tinnitus is a common condition that affects millions of people in the United States. An individual with tinnitus experiences a persistent ringing, buzzing, or other sounds in their ears or head. It can be caused by various factors such as hearing loss, exposure to loud noises, ear infections, head injuries, and more. Tinnitus can cause distress and anxiety. It can also interfere with an individual’s daily life.
While there is no cure for the condition, there are ways to help patients with tinnitus. At NeuroZone, Erin Badour, B.Sc., BCN, CCC, SLP offers Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) as a non-invasive treatment option. We take a personalized approach to each patient’s care, tailoring treatment plans to their unique needs and goals. If you are suffering from tinnitus, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at NeuroZone in Playa del Rey, Santa Monica,Pasadena or Redondo Beach today. Call us or visit our website to learn more about how we can help you find relief from tinnitus.
Playa del Rey: (310) 821-3640
Santa Monica: (310) 821-3640
Redondo Beach: (310) 821-3640
Read the NeuroZone blog to find out more about our services.
- 1 What is Tinnitus?
- 2 Tinnitus Causes
- 3 The Tinnitus Cycle
- 4 What is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy?
- 5 Personal Consultation
- 6 Cost of Tinnitus Treatment in Santa Monica
- 7 FAQ
- 8 References
What is Tinnitus?
Between 8 and 25.3% of the population of the United States has tinnitus, (1) a frustrating condition that causes the perception of noise in the ears that only the sufferer can hear. The noise may present in a number of different ways including the following:
There are two different types of tinnitus:
- Subjective Tinnitus – Subjective tinnitus is thought to occur due to damaged hair cells in the cochlea, the deep, snail-shell-shaped part of the inner ear. As a result of the damage, the hair cells stop responding to sound. This causes the auditory cortex in the brain to generate phantom sounds to compensate for the lack of input from the damaged cells.
- Objective Tinnitus – Objective tinnitus occurs in the middle ear. It is a real sound made by muscle spasms or another physical process in, or close to, the auditory system.
The auditory system is a complex network that involves the outer ear (the part we see on the outside up to the eardrum), the middle ear (the hammer, anvil, and stirrup), and the inner ear (the cochlea). Tinnitus can be caused by various factors, including the following: (2)
- Noise – The most common cause of tinnitus is damage due to noise. An example of this would be going to a loud rock concert without ear protection and coming out with your ears ringing. For some people, this ringing never goes away.
- Ear Infections – Repeated ear infections can cause tinnitus and hearing loss.
- Heart Disease & Hypertension – Vascular abnormalities like hardened or narrowed arteries and high blood pressure can cause tinnitus.
- Diabetes – Tinnitus can occur due to the effects of abnormal glucose metabolism in diabetes. Individuals with diabetes are also more likely to experience hearing loss and dizziness due to vascular problems in the inner ear. (3)
- Ototoxic Medications – High doses of aspirin, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), and certain antibiotics are known to be ototoxic (damaging to the ear).
- Ménière Disease – Caused by an abnormal build-up of fluid in the inner ear, Ménière disease can cause vertigo, ear pressure, and tinnitus.
- Lesions affecting cranial nerve VIII – Damage to the 8th cranial nerve (the vestibulocochlear nerve) can cause tinnitus.
Protect Your Hearing From Noise
The CDC recommends taking 5 precautionary measures to protect your hearing from the damaging effects of excessive noise. (4)
- Turn loud music or noise down. (e.g. lowering headphone volume)
- Move away from the loud noise. (e.g. walking past construction quickly)
- Take breaks from noise (e.g. stopping listening to you your podcast intermittently)
- Avoid loud activities and places (e.g. limiting your time in large crowds)
- Use hearing protection (e.g. wearing earplugs or noise-reducing headphones at live events)
The Tinnitus Cycle
Tinnitus can be frustrating, debilitating, and even rage-inducing. This is recognized as a process known as the tinnitus cycle. The tinnitus cycle involves a vicious loop where the brain perceives a sound (even if there is no external source) and then focuses on it, causing stress and anxiety which, in turn, can worsen the perception of the sound.
Break the tinnitus cycle. Schedule a consultation at NeuroZone by calling (310) 821-3640 or by completing our online inquiry form. Don’t let tinnitus control your life – take the first step towards relief and book an appointment today.
What is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy?
Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is a form of habituation therapy that uses sound to help patients manage and reduce the symptoms of tinnitus. It aims to retrain the brain to ignore tinnitus sounds by introducing low-level, neutral background noise through devices such as white noise machines or hearing aids.
The Neuropsychological Model & the Neurophysiological Model
At Neurozone we focus on the neurophysiological model and the psychological basis for TRT. The hypothesis is that the brain can change how it processes auditory stimuli. TRT addresses the source of tinnitus – neural activity. This keeps it from affecting other parts of the nervous systems such as the limbic and autonomic nervous systems.
There are two key components of TRT that directly follow the neurophysiological model of tinnitus:
- Neurofeedback combined with other Cognitive Behavioral Therapies including counseling aims to help the sufferer reclassify tinnitus to a category of neutral signals and helps them deal with the stress, anxiety, and flight-fight responses associated with the tinnitus.
- Sound Therapy using a sound masking device attempts to weaken tinnitus-related neuronal activity.
The first step of TRT is neurofeedback combined with counseling and cognitive behavioral therapies. When combined, these modalities assist the patient in changing the way tinnitus is perceived. The patient is taught basic knowledge about the auditory system, its function related to tinnitus, and how tinnitus and the stress and anxiety associated with it are generated. This allows the patient to learn how to deal with the anxiety and the stress responses associated with the tinnitus.
Getting help for tinnitus is an important step toward feeling better in your day-to-day life. And at NeuroZone, we understand the frustrations and challenges that come with the condition. The constant ringing or buzzing in your ears can be overwhelming and seriously affect your quality of life.
During your personal consultation at our Santa Monica, Playa del Rey, or Redondo Beach office, Erin will discuss treatment options that have proven to be successful in managing tinnitus, including TRT and cognitive behavioral therapy.
We will work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs and helps you manage your tinnitus for your peace of mind.
Cost of Tinnitus Treatment in Santa Monica
The cost of our tinnitus treatment will depend on the individual needs of each patient. Our experienced speech-language pathologist, Erin Badour, will conduct a thorough evaluation during your consultation to determine the best course of action for you. This tailored approach ensures that you receive the most effective treatment.
How long does tinnitus retraining therapy take to work?
The length of time it takes for TRT to work varies from patient to patient. Some patients may see results within a few weeks, while others may take several months to experience improvements in their symptoms. It is important to remain patient and committed to the therapy program for the best results.
Are there any side effects of tinnitus retraining therapy?
TRT is generally a safe and well-tolerated therapy with minimal side effects. However, some patients may experience temporary discomfort or irritation from wearing hearing aids or other sound-generating devices. These side effects usually subside over time.
Can tinnitus retraining cure tinnitus?
While there is currently no cure for tinnitus, TRT can help patients manage and reduce the symptoms of tinnitus. With consistent use and commitment to the therapy program, many patients have reported significant improvements in their quality of life and a reduction in tinnitus symptoms.
Is tinnitus retraining therapy covered by insurance?
TRT is often covered by insurance, but coverage may vary depending on the patient’s specific insurance plan. Patients should check with their insurance provider to determine if TRT is covered under their plan.
Is tinnitus retraining therapy effective for everyone?
While TRT has been shown to be effective for many patients, it may not work for everyone. The success of TRT largely depends on the individual patient’s ability to adapt to the treatment and their willingness to commit to the therapy program.
- Bhatt JM, Lin HW, Bhattacharyya N. Prevalence, Severity, Exposures, and Treatment Patterns of Tinnitus in the United States. JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery. 2016;142(10):959. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoto.2016.1700
- Grossan M, Peterson DC. Tinnitus. Nih.gov. Published July 21, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430809/
- Kumar P, Singh NK, Apeksha K, Ghosh V, Kumar RR, Kumar Muthaiah B. Auditory and Vestibular Functioning in Individuals with Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review. International Archives of Otorhinolaryngology. Published online July 20, 2021. doi:https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0041-1726041
- How Do I Prevent Hearing Loss from Loud Noise? | NCEH | CDC. www.cdc.gov. Published October 31, 2022. Accessed May 16, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/how_do_i_prevent_hearing_loss.html#:~:text=Take%20breaks%20from%20the%20noise