The Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) approach can involve a patient for 18 to 24 months. During these 18-24 months, the way the brain handles ringing in the ears or intensity of sound is gradually altered via the use of low levels of sound. If tinnitus is the major complaint, success and graduation from the program occurs when: the patient no longer views tinnitus as a problem; the patient reports experiencing long periods of time when he/she is no longer aware of tinnitus; and when, if ringing is heard, the patient no longer reports it as bothersome. After treatment, patients will usually report occasional awareness of tinnitus, but they are not bothered by it. If hyperacusis is the main complaint, success and graduation from the program occurs when the patient no longer experiences discomfort in everyday listening environments and can resume normal activities.
A decision to participate in TRT is a commitment to devote time and energy to dealing with your tinnitus/hyperacusis. During the first 6 months, there are a series of six appointments. The first three are generally held within the first month of participation. Prior to the first appointment, a medical history and a questionnaire will be sent to you. You should fill out both forms prior to your appointment and bring them in for the initial visit.
The initial appointment will last approximately 2-3 hours. During this appointment, both questionnaires will be discussed along with any other concerns regarding your tinnitus and/or hyperacusis. Following this discussion, you will receive a comprehensive hearing evaluation specifically aimed at assessing your tinnitus and/or hyperacusis. A discussion of test results will occur at your second appointment which is typically scheduled for the following week and which lasts approximately two hours.
It is important that you understand you are beginning a thorough process of tinnitus/hyperacusis evaluation and rehabilitation. Do not expect alleviation of your tinnitus or hyperacusis after the first appointment or even within the first several months. This program involves a process that sometimes requires 18-24 months for completion. Depending upon the recommendations given and your choices, you may return in one to two weeks for a third appointment to fit ear-level sound generators or hearing aids. Not all patients choose these options, as some patients feel that proper counseling regarding their tinnitus and the use of environmental sound to enhance their auditory environment is sufficient. Appointments four, five and six are scheduled over the next several months in order to monitor progress. Future appointments will be scheduled at six month intervals. Of course, in between appointments, we are always just a phone call away should you have any questions or concerns.