"'We cannot do anything about your tinnitus'. This is simply not true"

A.I. What do you think of other techniques, such as CI or stress control, to address tinnitus?

P.J.J. Stress control is useful insofar as it reduces the reactions a person can have to tinnitus. It does not limit the phenomenon, but it helps patients control their reactions to it. Cochlear implants and electric stimuli in the ear can work for 40% of patients, but 5-7% can experience a worsening of the condition. With such variable results, it is currently forbidden in the U.S. to use CI for patients who suffer exclusively from tinnitus.

A.I. What does it feel like to be the father of a therapy which has changed so many lives?

P.J.J. I feel happy and satisfied to know that I am helping people lead a normal life, when they were not able to do so before, and also that my students are also able to help in the same way. Once I received a $150 cheque from somebody I did not know, who was in fact a patient of one of my students. This person apologized for sending so little money but insisted that he needed to send it to me as a thank you for how much the therapy had helped him.

Main conclusions on TRT

The conference entitled “25 years of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT): theory and practice” was the flagship presentation of the GAES symposium at the Spanish National Congress of ENT doctors, and attracted over two hundred participants to the Hotel Meliá Castilla in Madrid. In it, Professor Pawel J. Jastreboff presented his conclusions about the therapy that made him the leading expert in this specialty:

  • over 80% of patients suffering from tinnitus experience significant improvement after 12 months
  • these results cannot be explained by a placebo effect
  • never give “negative advice”
  • never leave a person suffering from tinnitus in silence
  • never use unpleasant sounds, sounds that are perceived as annoying or as causing a discomfort for sound therapy
  • it is important to establish a clear diagnosis of hyperacusis or misophonia because they will be treated in very different ways
  • TRT offers a framework (philosophy) to treat tinnitus, sound intolerance (hyperacusis and misophonia), hearing loss and the tensor tympani syndrome

M.M.G. and J.L.F.

Photos: GAES, J.L.F.