What is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy?

This blog post has been reviewed and approved by a hearing care professional.

Tinnitus, or ringing in the ear, is a sound that you hear in your ear(s) or head, but most often can’t be heard outside the ear. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, or TRT, teaches you techniques to lessen the irritation of tinnitus. The goal is to train your brain to ignore the sound(s) you hear, with the goal of making it less noticeable. The techniques help you focus better on what you want to hear, instead of the tinnitus. If you think you might be experiencing tinnitus, you can learn more about tinnitus here.


TRT is a specialized form of therapy that blends hearing health and psychological education and training. Not every doctor, therapist, or hearing health care specialist is qualified to provide it as a service.1
Does Tinnitus Retraining Therapy Work?
The counselling aspect aims to change how you perceive your tinnitus. Your TRT ‘coach’ will teach you how your auditory system works and work on changing negative thinking patterns about your tinnitus. They may also suggest different strategies to help you begin the process of habituation. You will learn how to change your negative emotional reaction and hypersensitivity to the sound, if these apply to your situation.2

Sound Therapy

The sound therapy aspect of TRT works on using sounds to mask your tinnitus. During this part of the therapy, you may wear a device behind your ear which plays a masking or white noise sound. The goal of sound therapy is to get the brain used to the sounds of tinnitus by decreasing the contrast between tinnitus and external sounds.3

Is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy Effective?

Over 100 different studies have examined the effectiveness of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. In all of those studies, about 80% of people have found improvements.4

The duration of treatment will vary depending on the treatment facility. Based on the National Library of Medicine on average it takes around 12 to 18 months.5 Initial improvements may be seen around three months after starting TRT treatment.5
Other Types of Treatment for Tinnitus

Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure, but treatment may help you manage your symptoms. The goal of TRT is to help reduce the annoyance and irritation of tinnitus so it becomes less bothersome to you over time. Other types of treatment include:


      Counselling and support groups

      Hearing aids

      Tinnitus therapy apps

      Tinnitus masking devices

      White noise machines


For a more detailed look into each of the treatments mentioned above, click here.


It’s important to note that not all tinnitus can be eliminated or reduced, no matter the cause and sometimes it does go away on its own.

The Takeaway

TRT is a specialized form of therapy that blends hearing health and psychological education and training. Research suggests that tinnitus retraining therapy can lead to improvement in about 80% of people.4

If you don’t know what treatment would work best for you, you can seek a professional consultation from a doctor or hearing care professional. They can help determine the cause of your tinnitus, and recommend if tinnitus retraining therapy is the best treatment option for you.

You Might Be Interested In...

Can Headphones Damage Your Hearing?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 50% of people ages 12 to 35 are at risk of hearing loss due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds through headphones. 

How To Prevent Blocked Ears While Flying

Learn how you can help prevent your ears from blocking while on a flight.

Sign Up for Our Mailing List

Sign up to receive the latest information on hearing health, hearing loss, and hearing aids! Click the button below to sign up.

1 “Who To See for Tinnitus Help.” American Tinnitus Association. Accessed on March 15, 2023. https://www.ata.org/about-tinnitus/why-are-my-ears-ringing/who-should-i-see-for-help/

2 “Tinnitus Retraining Therapy: How it Works, Alternatives, More.” Healthline. May 24, 2022. Accessed on March 15, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/health/tinnitus-retraining-therapy

3 “Tinnitus Relief Therapy.” Hearing Institute Atlantic. Accessed on March 15, 2023. https://hearinginstitute.ca/tinnitus/tinnitus-relief-therapy/

4 Kim, Shin Hye, Ji Hye Jang, Sang-Yeon Lee, Ja Joon Han, Ja-Won Koo, Sven Vanneste, Dirk De Ridder, Jar-Jin Song. “Neural substrates predicting short-term improvement of tinnitus loudness and distress after modified tinnitus retraining therapy”. Scientific Reports. July 6, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2023. https://www.nature.com/articles/srep29140 

5 “Long-Term Results of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy.” National Library of Medicine. January 12, 2021. Accessed on March 15, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7838913/