Tinnitus retraining therapy was first introduced by Jastreboff in 1980. It is based on the neuro-physiological model of tinnitus. It blocks the tinnitus related neuronal activity frm reaching the cerebral cortex and blocks the activation of limbic and autonomic nervous system. It uses a combination of low level, broad- band sound therapy and psychological counseling for habituation.
This therapy is based on neurophysiologic evidence that any person can habituate to acoustic or acoustic like sensation in the environment.
The major aim of the street protocol is to train the brain to treat tinnitus like any other environmental sound.
Tinnitus retraining therapy has two key elements:
Direct Counseling : Some patient achieve relief through counseling alone. It involves an indepth discussion with the patient regarding the physiology of the hearing and tinnitus. The negetive emotions associated with tinnitus are removed via counseling.
Sound Therapy: Patient are fitted with white noise devices at the ear level. They appear as small as hearing aids and can be comfortably worn throughout the day. The sound is initially set at very low level so as not to interfere with normal hearing. After a few weeks, most patient donot hear sound unless they really try to hear it. These devices help brain to ignore the random singals of tinnitus and this is know as auditory habituation.
The success rate is 80% and is usually achieved within 12 to 18 months.