When I woke up with Tinnitus the morning of January 6, 1999, I was in a state of panic. My panic turned to fear when my doctor said he really didn’t know anything about ringing in the ears. He said it could be temporary, but referred me to an audiologist.
A painful 2 month wait brought me to the offices of the audiologist. He was the first one who taught me on the word “tinnitus” and coldly informed me it could be permanent, and that there was nothing he could do.
My wife did hours and hours of research on the internet and found the Canadian Hearing Association. They did tinnitus testing and had a “lab” that perhaps could help. They put me in a sound booth and tried to duplicate the sound using their technology so my wife could hear the pitch. The sad news is it was off their scales and they could not even duplicate it.
I was also diagnosed with hyperacusis. The volume of the whole world seemed felt like a violent blow to my entire being. It physically hurt to hear anything.
The CHA recommended a TRT program – tinnitus retraining therapy. Basically, in simple terms, you wear ear pieces like hearing aids that project a different sound into your ear (mine was like white noise). The idea is that it is supposed to mask your tinnitus and recondition your brain to get you to experience a different emotional response. Over time you are supposed to reduce the volume of the ear pieces until you don’t need them any more.
If you Google TRT, you’ll get a more scientific version of it.
The question most asked is: Did it work?
In short, it didn’t work for me. That’s not to say it will not work for you. In my case, it felt like it was another money grab. You see, as a professional musician, I was trained to listen to every nuance of sound since the age of 8.
To retrain my brain after 25 years of listening for sound was a tall order I think. However, I was desperate and that’s why I laid out the money, over three thousand dollars, and I did everything they told me to do. I wore them as prescribed. I did my follow up appointments, and I did the regiment to a tee.
I have heard testimonials from others that Tinnitus Retraining Therapy did wonders for them. It was a bad investment for me. I must confess that even after it became obvious that TRT wasn’t going to succeed for me, that for a time I did wear one of the ear devices on my right ear overnight because it helped me sleep at night.
But now I recognize it was more of a placebo affect. I wanted something to work, and it comforted me to know that maybe this would work. The device was like the comfort of a teddy bear to a child. It wasn’t really reducing my tinnitus volume, nor was it fooling my brain into a different emotional response. In short, my brain wasn’t getting reconditioned at all.
I don’t want to infer that the Canadian Hearing Society is not doing good work, or the TRT program is not legitimate. Maybe it is. However, 7 or 8 years ago, when I was a TRT patient, I clearly knew more about tinnitus than the “assistant” on hand. And I found the audiologist lacked empathy. My personal assessment of the entire program was that it was strictly based on the mechanics of the device, rather than the entire well-being of the patient.
I believe that a human being is made up of 4 essential parts: emotional, spiritual, physical and mental. You can’t cure a human being strictly on the physical realm. You need to deal with the complete human being which includes the four essential parts of the human experience. If you want to get the optimal results for your well-being, then you must examine and heal the entire human being, not just his/her physical being.
And until there is a program that deals with all 4 quadrants of the entire human being, the tinnitus won’t be isolated and cured. That is how I won my fight over tinnitus and I know it’s how you can win yours.
Paul Tobey is a professional concert pianist and motivational speaker who has performed many seminars for ringing ears sufferers and is author of Tinnitus Free Living a Tinnitus Handbook Self Help Guide which helps people reduce their tinnitus volume. To download Paul’s latest seminar please here – tinntius treatment.