Tinnitus is when you hear a ringing in your ear that is not caused by an outside source. Hearing loss, an ear canal obstruction, and certain medications are some of the possible causes.

An estimated 10 to 15 percent of adults experience tinnitus.

Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is a potential treatment option for moderate or severe tinnitus. It involves a combination of counseling and sound therapy to train your brain to ignore the sound in your ear.

There is limited evidence that TRT is more effective than other treatments, but some studies have found that it is an effective treatment for most people.

Learn how TRT works, what to expect, and how effective it is.

Tinnitus can affect your quality of life in many ways.

A few forms of tinnitus, such as when it is due to ear impaction or occurs as a side effect of medication, can be cured by cleaning out the ears or stopping the medication. But most types of tinnitus caused by hearing loss cannot be cured, according to 2019 research.

Some medical treatments can help you with your symptoms.

TRT is a promising treatment where you receive counseling and sound therapy to help you gradually habituate to the sound of your tinnitus. Habituation is when you get used to a sound and stop focusing on it.

Habituation is a part of your daily life. When you first turn on the fan, it may be a bit inconvenient, but the sound becomes less noticeable after a while.


You will have an interview and medical examination with a doctor to evaluate your hearing and symptoms before you start TRT. If you have a medication that is causing your symptoms, you may need a different treatment.

After these examinations, you undergo counseling with a hearing specialist called an audiologist. Counseling aims to change how you perceive your tinnitus and begin the habitation process. Each session typically lasts about 1 to 2 hours.

Your counselor will review the results of your initial evaluation during this phase. They will teach you how to change your negative thinking about your tinnitus by using your auditory system.

The counselor will help you with strategies to change your emotional reaction to sound and begin the habituation process.

Sound therapy

TRT uses sounds to mask the noises of your tinnitus. You will wear a device behind your ear that plays masking or white noise with a sound intensity slightly below your perceived tinnitus during this part of your therapy.

Sound therapy is meant to help your brain get used to the sound of ringing in the ears.

“Insurance often doesn’t cover these devices.”

It takes 12 to 18 months for people to reach habituation with TRT. The first improvements tend to appear after 3 months.

More than 100 studies have examined the effectiveness of TRT, and most have found significant improvements in about 80 percent of people.

Over time, improvements and modifications have been made to TRT. The exact way that TRT improves tinnitus is not fully understood.

Evidence remains inconclusive on the question of whether TRT is superior to other treatments, according to 2021 research.

There is no randomized controls in studies that cause this uncertainty. They have noticed a large placebo effect.

Many people seem to decline in their tinnitus over time without treatment. Some people learn to habituate by themselves, without structured therapy, or come up with their own ways to mask the sounds of tinnitus, such as using a sound machine or a fan while sleeping.

A 2016 study found no evidence of a difference between tinnitus masking, TRT, and tinnitus education and counseling in reducing tinnitus severity.

In a 2019 study, researchers compared TRT to standard care counseling for improving tinnitus-related quality of life. The researchers found that about half of the total people showed significant reductions in symptoms, but there was little difference between the two groups.

A 2021 review of studies found there’s not enough evidence to draw conclusions about the treatment of tinnitus in children due to a high risk of bias in current studies.

“TRT is a safe treatment that doesn’t have any known side effects. You can talk to your doctor or audiologist about any concerns you have.”

Tinnitus is very common. It can affect the quality of life for some people. If you are experiencing a ringing in the ears, you may want to seek the help of a doctor.

It is a good idea to see your doctor.

  • You hear a sound.
  • Your hearing is limited to one ear.
  • Tinnitus comes on suddenly.
  • “The sound of the tinnitus is so bad that you can’t focus.”
  • You also have dizziness, vertigo, or hearing loss.

Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure yet, but treatment can help you manage your symptoms. Here are some of the most common tinnitus treatment options.

Lifestyle changes

Making lifestyle changes can help manage your symptoms. You can make changes.

Hearing aids

Tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss. Hearing aids can make sounds louder and make it less noticeable. Hearing aids have programs to mask the sound of ringing in the ears.

Hearing aids for tinnitus can be found.

Sound masking devices

Sound masking devices can drown out the noise of the tinnitus. You can play these devices from a device in your ear, an external sound machine, or even from your phone.

One small study from 2017 found that broadband sounds, including white noise, were generally more effective than nature sounds at masking tinnitus.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to identify negatives patterns of thoughts and behaviors, and modify them.

Research from 2021 has found that CBT doesn’t reduce the subjective loudness of tinnitus but can still increase the well-being of affected people.


There are many medications that can be used for treating tinnitus, but none have been proven to be effective for everyone.

Healthcare professionals may often prescribe antidepressants, but several randomized studies and a review of studies found that they weren’t associated with an improved outlook for tinnitus. They may help people who also have major depression or sleep disorders.

Anticonvulsants also haven’t consistently been shown to be effective, but they do provide some relief for some people.

TRT is a form of treatment that involves counseling and sound therapy. There is no evidence to show that TRT is more effective than other treatment options.

If you’re significantly bothered by your tinnitus, it’s a good idea to contact a doctor. Some types of tinnitus do not have a cure, but many people experience significant relief after undergoing treatment. A doctor can also help you discover if there’s an underlying medical condition contributing to your tinnitus.