[TRT: results after one year treatment].Rev Laryngol Otol Rhinol (Bord). 2007; 128(3):145-8.RL
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) (which aims to induce changes in the mechanisms responsible for transferring signals from the auditory system to the limbic and autonomic systems) is a method for treating Tinnitus and decreased sound tolerance. An individualised explanation of Jastreboff's neurophysiological model allows greater insight and motivation on the part of the patient. Previous studies have demonstrated that daytime TRT is effective. As sleep forms a significant component of the distress associated with Tinnitus however, we hypothesised that night-time TRT could represent a useful tool in the treatment of this disabling condition.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
46 patients were studied (30 male, 16 female). Patients were selected from an ENT outpatient clinic. Patients with significant psychological disability were excluded. Patients were reviewed twice by their doctor and 5 times by a therapist over 12 months. Treatment consisted of 8 hours nighttime white noise stimulation, at progressively increasing intensity. Although several objective assessments of response were undertaken, patients' subjective testimonies were considered a more accurate signal of success.
In total, 80% of patients had a satisfactory response after 1 year of treatment. 20% had no response. Patients were subcategorised according to Jastreboff's categories as follows: 1. Tinnitus (n = 6), 100% improved; 2. Tinnitus with hearing loss (n = 16); 62% improved; 3. Hyperacusis (with or without Tinnitus) (n = 16), 88.5% improved; 4. Hyperacusis (with or without Tinnitus, exacerbated by noise) (n = 8), 75% improved.
Tinnitus is a symptom rather than an illness, and TRT gives patients greater control, allowing re-integration of normal perception. Night-time TRT is an effective treatment for Tinnitus and decreased sound tolerance. It has the potential advantage over day-time TRT of rapidly improving sleep and decreasing use of sedative hypnotics, a secondary effect noted in the personal testimonies of our cohort of patients. Further studies are needed to confirm this advantage, in view of the significant risks associated with long-term use of benzodiazepines. When investigating therapies for Tinnitus, it is necessary to measure success in terms of quality of life, as it is to this that the patient attaches the most importance.