Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
It is widely accepted that tinnitus most frequently originates from damage to the ear. Ongoing exposure to loud noise is a significant contributor to tinnitus. However, new research shows that stress is just as important a factor as noise, according to a recent presentation I attended at the America Audiology Association Conference in Boston by David Baguely of Cambridge University, one of the world’s leading tinnitus researchers. The co-factor of stress, he told us, is equally if not more important to that of noise. This is due to the engagement of the limbic system (the emotional brain) in the tinnitus process.
It correlates with the ground breaking discovery by Pawell Jastreboff in the 1980s when he developed the neurophysiological model of tinnitus. This model explains that while the tinnitus injury generally begins in the ear, the actual repetitive firing of the sound is an event in the brain. Jastreboff came from a neuro-science (brain-science) background, and with a wide knowledge of behavioural neuro-physiology was able to work out what was really happening. He published the ‘neuro-physiological model of tinnitus’ in 1990, and this important work has never been challenged or criticized.
The training program developed by Pawel and Margaret Jastreboff combines cognitive behaviour therapy with sound therapy to achieve a state where the person is no longer troubled by their tinnitus and is aware of it less often.
While there is no sure fire “cure” for tinnitus, most treatment models recommend a combination of counselling and sound therapy.