Case Study: John’s Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) Journey

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

In this interview, we are able to see how one of Treble Health’s patients, John, was able to reduce his tinnitus using Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT). If you haven’t already seen his initial interview, be sure to check it out here and then come back to see his continued success managing tinnitus. 

Dr. Ben Thompson talks with John about what he has learned about tinnitus across his habituation journey

John’s Story 

John is a 68-year-old attorney based in Richmond, Virginia whose mild tinnitus began in January 2021. Prior to developing tinnitus, John had reported mild age-related hearing loss in the upper frequency ranges as well as some COVID-related health struggles. In the first two months after developing tinnitus, John reported increased levels of stress and anxiety. By March, John joined up with us at Treble Health and we developed a treatment plan for him built around sound therapy, hearing aids, and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT).

The First 6 Months Using TRT

During the first six months of TRT, John reported gradual improvements in his tinnitus. He initially struggled with the slow pace of improvement, which may have been stymied a bit by a benzodiazepine prescription (for anxiety) that he eventually weaned himself off of. Nonetheless, he showed consistent improvement, and also got his hearing aids reprogrammed to better meet his sound therapy needs. He also began to incorporate certain cognitive behavioral techniques (CBT) like mindfulness meditation.

Months 6-12 Using TRT

After another six months of TRT, John reported steady improvements, with his tinnitus volume all the way down to a 1 (compared to a 3 or 4 when he began). He even reported days where it wasn’t noticeable, but nonetheless would still notice fluctuations during periods of high stress. By the end of this period, John was still using his hearing aids for amplification as well as for pink noise sound therapy. He was also using a sleep headband to play brown noise at night. He continued to work with Treble Health and follow his TRT protocol, and has worked to cultivate positive thinking and acceptance around his condition.

John’s Tinnitus Success Story

John has learned a lot about his tinnitus over the course of his TRT journey with Treble Health.  

  1. He discovered that taking benzodiazepines likely impeded some of his earlier efforts at habituation. 
  2. He realized that researching tinnitus on the internet just reminded him about his condition, and that he would’ve been more at peace following his TRT protocols rather than seeking out more information. 
  3. He found moderating stress to be helpful, and that cultivating wellness through his diet as well as through his lifestyle—like with meditation—was particularly helpful in supporting habituation. 
  4. He works to cultivate joy in certain areas of his life, such as in spending time with his grandchildren, and overall he tries not to overburden himself with unnecessary responsibilities.
  5. He benefited tremendously from one-on-one counseling through Treble Health, and would recommend anyone suffering from tinnitus to seek personal counseling, either via telehealth or in-person visits. 
  6. John also supplemented his therapy with the Neosensory Buzz, using it three times per day to help relax. He also used both the Quieten and Oto mobile apps as additional tools to help calm his nervous system.

The Value Of Tinnitus Therapy

John plans to continue using his hearing aids for amplification, as he understands the research is showing a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. He plans to slowly wean off the use of sound therapy for his tinnitus management, but he has enjoyed using it. John compares the Treble Health telehealth tinnitus services with having a trainer in the gym. He values the guidance of the Treble Health team in managing his tinnitus. 

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