March 17, 2024

The Power of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)

The Power of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)

Written by

Michael Piskosz

Audiologist & Tinnitus Specialist

Reviewed by

Dr. Fabrice Bardy

Audiologist & Neuroscientist

Tinnitus, the often relentless ringing, buzzing, or humming in the ears, can be a significant source of distress for those affected. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) offers hope to those suffering from this intrusive condition.

This article delves into the transformative potential of TRT, a therapeutic approach that combines sound therapy with directive counseling to retrain the brain's perception of tinnitus, kickstart habituation, ultimately aiming to reduce its impact and improve the quality of life for sufferers.

Understanding Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) is a proven therapeutic approach¹ designed to help individuals suffering from tinnitus manage their symptoms more effectively. By combining sound therapy with directive counseling, TRT aims to retrain the brain to perceive tinnitus in a less intrusive way. Many have found this method helpful in reducing the impact of tinnitus on their daily lives.

The essence of TRT lies in its ability to blend the science of sound with the power of psychological support, creating a holistic treatment pathway that addresses both the auditory and emotional dimensions and ultimately leads to tinnitus habituation. By leveraging the brain's natural plasticity, TRT gently guides individuals towards a state where tinnitus becomes a neutral element in their auditory landscape, rather than a source of constant distress. This transformative approach not only alleviates the immediate burden of tinnitus but also helps with stress management and empowers individuals with the tools and resilience needed to maintain long-term relief and well-being.

TRT is a comprehensive approach that combines sound therapy and counseling to alleviate tinnitus.

💡To Remember:

  • Brain Plasticity: By leveraging the brain’s natural plasticity, the goal of TRT is to kickstart habituation and retrain the brain to perceive tinnitus in a less intrusive way.
  • Light Background Sound: Incorporate low-level background noise into your environment to aid tinnitus habituation.
  • Tinnitus Counseling: TRT is leveraging the power of psychological support through counseling sessions to address the emotional dimension of tinnitus.

The History of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

Developed in the late 20th century by Dr. Pawel Jastreboff, TRT was based on the neurophysiological model of tinnitus. It marked a significant shift in tinnitus treatment, focusing on the brain's perception and reaction to tinnitus sounds rather than the sounds themselves. This innovative approach has since evolved, integrating advancements in neuroscience and audiology to offer refined strategies for tinnitus management.

Jastreboff's pioneering work laid the groundwork for a more nuanced understanding of tinnitus, emphasizing its complex nature and the pivotal role of cognitive and emotional responses in its perception. This perspective encouraged a more holistic approach to treatment, moving beyond attempts to eliminate the tinnitus sound itself to addressing the individual's reaction to it. TRT's global adoption by clinical audiologists has broadened treatment choices for those affected with tinnitus and sparked wider medical discussions on the complex nature of hearing disorders and the value of personalized, patient-focused care.

TRT, founded by Dr. Jastreboff, revolutionized tinnitus treatment by emphasizing the management of both perception and reaction to the condition.

💡To Do Yourself:

  • Educate Yourself: Read up on the neurophysiological model of tinnitus to understand TRT's foundation.
  • Talk to a TRT Expert: take the Tinnitus Assessment and connect with a practitioner who specializes in TRT.
  • Stay up-to-date: Stay informed about new research and developments in the field of tinnitus treatment by subscribing to our newsletter:

How TRT Can Help with Tinnitus

TRT works by reducing the brain's focus on tinnitus, thereby minimizing its perceived volume and the distress it causes. This is achieved through a combination of sound therapy, which helps to mask the tinnitus sound, and directive counseling, which alters the brain's response to these sounds. Over time, patients often experience a significant reduction in their tinnitus-related anxiety and disturbance.

Furthermore, TRT's holistic approach fosters a deeper understanding and acceptance of tinnitus, empowering individuals to regain control over their auditory environment. By gradually desensitizing the brain to the presence of tinnitus, TRT leverages the natural process of tinnitus habituation. It also helps to diminish the fight-or-flight response often triggered by the condition. This shift not only alleviates the immediate burden of tinnitus but also contributes to long-term improvements in overall well-being and mental health, providing hope to those seeking relief.

TRT aids in diminishing the perceived intensity and emotional impact of tinnitus.

💡What You Can Do:

  • Sound Therapy: Utilize sound-generating devices as part of your daily routine to mask tinnitus sounds.
  • Seek Professional Support: take the Tinnitus Assessment and start engaging in counseling sessions to reshape your perception of tinnitus.
  • Reduce Stress: Practice relaxation techniques to reduce stress, which can exacerbate tinnitus.

Implementing TRT on a Day-to-Day Basis

Incorporating TRT into daily life involves a consistent application of its principles, such as the use of sound therapy devices and the practice of coping strategies learned in counseling. Creating a sound-enriched environment can facilitate tinnitus habituation, making tinnitus less noticeable over time. Regular follow-ups with a TRT therapist can also ensure the therapy is adjusted to meet evolving needs and circumstances.

Adherence to the TRT program outside of therapy sessions is critical, as it reinforces the habituation process and helps integrate the new behaviors into various aspects of daily life. As part of this process, you might schedule specific listening sessions, using sound therapy devices during periods of quiet to prevent tinnitus from becoming overly prominent, and applying learned coping strategies during moments of stress or when tinnitus seems more intrusive. Personal commitment to these practices enhances the effectiveness of TRT, leading to more sustained and noticeable improvements in managing tinnitus symptoms.

Daily adherence to TRT principles is crucial for its success in managing tinnitus.

💡What You Can Do:

  • Routines: Set up a daily routine that includes the use of sound therapy devices.
  • Coping Strategies: Apply the learned coping strategies in your daily life to mitigate tinnitus's impact.
  • Check-ups: Schedule regular check-ins with your TRT therapist to monitor progress.

Alternatives to Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

While TRT is effective for many, it's not the only path to tinnitus relief. Other treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based stress reduction, and hearing aids equipped with tinnitus maskers can also provide significant relief. Exploring these alternatives can help individuals find the most suitable approach for their unique tinnitus needs.

Moreover, advancements in technology have led to the development of tinnitus apps and online platforms offering personalized tinnitus management programs. These digital solutions often combine elements of sound therapy, educational content, and relaxation exercises, providing a convenient and accessible alternative for those unable to undergo traditional therapies. Engaging with these digital tools can empower you to take control of your tinnitus, allowing for a more flexible and tailored approach to finding relief.

There are several effective alternatives to TRT that can also provide relief from tinnitus.

What You Can Do:

  • Evidence-based app: Embarrass scientifically validated mobile application that provides access to a self-care program.
  • CBT: Consider CBT to address the psychological aspects of tinnitus.
  • Mindfulness: Explore mindfulness practices to reduce stress and improve tinnitus coping mechanisms.
  • Hearing Aids: Investigate hearing aids with tinnitus masking features as a dual-purpose solution.


In conclusion, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy offers a promising avenue for those seeking relief from the persistent and often disruptive symptoms of tinnitus.
By understanding its principles, history, and daily application, individuals can embark on a journey towards tinnitus habituation, sound comfort and improved quality of life.
Additionally, exploring alternatives to TRT ensures that every individual can find a tailored approach to managing their tinnitus, paving the way for all-day relief and a more serene auditory experience.

Find out more on how can our tinnitus be tested and measured?

What's Next?

Whether you've recently started experiencing tinnitus or have been dealing with it for a long time, we're committed to helping you find relief and live your best life. The first step on your journey to relief is to take the Tinnitus Assessment. This will help us understand your specific needs and recommend a treatment option that is evidence-based and tailored for you. There is hope, and we're here to guide you.

Find the Tinnitus Treatment that works for you

Take the Tinnitus Assessment