Some fundamentals of tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT)
– Put a positive narrative spin on thoughts of your tinnitus. “This is neurological news from nowhere that my brain’s gradually turning into background noise” is a good spin. “I’m going to have this psychopath screaming in my ear for the rest of my life” is not.
– Take it easy on the tranquillizers. Valium (diazepam) or lorazepam help you get to sleep (largely because when you’re on them you just don’t give a damn), but their effects are unsustainable. They also inhibit the plasticity of your brain and end up making TRTharder.
– Talk and listen to others talk. Use language. Go to plays. Be sociable. When listening to and using language, your brain jumps past the sound to the meaning of the words, and often you’ll find your tinnitus jumps way into the background.
– On the other hand, listening to music is tricky. With music, the sound is the whole point of the exercise and you’ll usually find you’re more sensitive to your tinnitus signal. If you’ve got hyperacusis as well, you’ll have to pick your music carefully: Debussy rather than Wagner. Actually, any music designed to make a pot abuser feel like he’s died and gone to heaven is good. Supertramp works. Nine Inch Nails does not.
– See an audiologist who’s up on TRT theory. They’re not covered by medicare but are reasonably priced, and you’ll get productive counselling from one. If you’re the type who likes to play Holmes on Homes with your own health, buy a paperback copy of Jastreboff’s Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, now out for less than $40 at Amazon.ca. You’ll get a lot out of it.
– Visit www.TRTsounds.com and download a free MP3 of background white noise for your MP3 player.