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"Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no actual external sound is present".
- American Tinnitus Association
"The sensation of sound without external stimulation".
-ANSI- American National Standard Institute
Tinnitus can manifest itself in many different ways where in the perception of sound could vary from buzzing, hissing, whistling to clicking etc. Tinnitus can range from very low frequency to very high frequency. It can also be perceived as pulsed or intermittent.
One in every seven people worldwide suffer from Tinnitus.5 to 10% of people experience mild Tinnitus at some point of time in their life. Various studies have shown that 50% of those with Tinnitus are over the age of 40, and 60% of these experience poor sleep while 50% face a reduced quality of life.
About 3 million people in UK experience severe to persistent Tinnitus that affects their life, 20 million people in USA struggle with chronic Tinnitus, while 2 million people have extreme and debilitating Tinnitus.
Over the years, different methods to contain tinnitus have been introduced, but very few survived the test of time. More than a decade has passed since the introduction of the neurophysiologic model of Tinnitus and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT). Today TRT is successfully administered in more than 20 countries.
TRT reflects the practical implementation of the neurophysiologic models of Tinnitus. It is a method primarily aimed at habituating tinnitus evoked reactions of the brain and body, and secondarily at habituating tinnitus perception. Successful TRT patients are not bothered by their tinnitus, even though they are aware of it.
The two main components of TRT:
(1) Educational Counselling
(2) Sound Therapy
Counseling sessions: It focuses on the reclassification of tinnitus into a category of neutral signals. During the sessions, tinnitus is demystified and patients are made aware of the physiological mechanism of tinnitus and its consequent distress as well as the mechanisms through which tinnitus habituation can be attained.
Sound therapy- With the help of a constant low level broad band sound, the difference between tinnitus-related and background neuronal activity is reduced. Consequently, by strengthening the activation of the limbic and autonomic nervous system, it is reflected at the behavioral level by a decrease in tinnitus evoked annoyance.
All patients received routine audiometric evaluation incliding discrete-tone threshold testing and speech audiometry. For most of the patients, HL- hearing level( in dB) were determined at 8 frequencies.
Development of standardized methods for measuring methods for measuring the pitch, loudness, and other characteristics of tinnitus was completed. The basic test protocol involved measurement of four tinnitus parameters: