Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)
Here we look at the claims for TRT
Education and sound therapy
Regarded as safe
No or limited evidence that it is effective
Speak to your GP
Claims for treatment
It aims to eliminates tinnitus as a problem by achieving habituation.
What is the treatment
Tinnitus retraining therapy uses a combination of directive counselling and sound therapy in a strict framework. Many practitioners use a modified form of TRT.
What are the downsides of this treatment?
No adverse effects were reported in TRT clinical trials with people with tinnitus2. As TRT in its classic form is only delivered privately, cost may be an issue.
Has there been research into this treatment?
There have been a small number of good quality papers published on TRT.
What does the research say?
A recent systematic review concluded that TRT is an effective treatment for tinnitus but that there were limited studies, low quality evidence and a high risk of bias. Evidence from randomised controlled trials is contradictory, with results showing that TRT is more effective than tinnitus masking2 or standard care. However, a more recent study showed few differences between TRT, partial TRT and standard of care.
TRT has been very influential on tinnitus work, but research has generally been of low quality.
We suggest talking to your doctor about the potential benefits and side effects of TRT or other tinnitus management techniques.
We would support further studies into this treatment if it was of high quality.
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All online references accessed 8 November 2022 unless noted.
1. Jastreboff PJ. 25 years of tinnitus retraining therapy. HNO. (2015) Apr; 63(4):307-11. doi:10.1007/s00106-014-2979-1.
2. Phillips JS, McFerran D. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) for tinnitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2010) Issue 3. Art. No.: CD007330. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007330.pub2
3. Han M, Yang X, Lv J. Efficacy of tinnitus retraining therapy in the treatment of
tinnitus: A meta-analysis and systematic review. American Journal of Audiology.
(2021) Nov-Dec;42(6):103151. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2021.103151.
4. Bauer CA, Berry JL, Brozoski TJ. The effect of tinnitus retraining therapy on chronic tinnitus: A controlled trial. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology. (2017) 2(4):166–177. Published 2017 May 28. doi:10.1002/lio2.76
5. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy Trial Research Group, Scherer RW, Formby C. Effect of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy vs Standard of Care on Tinnitus-Related Quality of Life: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery. (2019) Jul 1;145(7):597-608. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2019.0821.