Sound therapy is today used very frequently in the care of people suffering from chronic tinnitus. It sometimes shows its limits but has demonstrated effectiveness for over 30 years. From Jastreboff's neurophysiological system to the creation of Diapason therapeutic exercises, we will review here the important points to remember.
For years, researchers have had too simple a vision of how the hearing system works. They then reduced the links between the inner ear and the auditory cortex (area of the brain that transforms vibrations perceived by the auditory system into interpretable information) to simple connection circuits. For them, these circuits only had the function of signal transmission. These cannot be modified or processed. Thanks to Jastreboff's neurophysiological model, we know today that these connections are much more complex than they appear. Indeed, the functions of neural centers (allowing our brain to receive and process information received by the living body) can act directly on the increase or decrease / suppression of the signal through the information conveyed. It is from this observation that sound therapy was born. Over the years, the number of sound therapies has grown steadily. Each of them bringing more or less effective changes depending on the person.
The choice of TRT
The origins of tinnitus are diverse and above all varied. It was therefore essential for Diapason to select from the many existing sound therapies the most effective. The TRT (Tinnitus Retraining Therapy) has naturally imposed itself since it takes into account all the complexity of the mechanisms of tinnitus. Within Diapason, the principles of TRT are applied in many activities. Tinnitus can generate a narrow band noise centered on the frequency of your tinnitus. In other words, we base our therapy on the specific characteristics of your tinnitus. This noise is then diffused in the sound therapy exercises as in those of relaxation by being systematically associated with a positive interaction with the interface.
TRT creates a phenomenon of "habituation" to tinnitus. Reduced reactions to the presence of a repetitive and irrelevant stimulus are called "habituation". A sort of indifference that sets in. When your brain is overwhelmed with too much information, it spontaneously eliminates stimuli that are not carrying relevant information and filters auditory information based on priorities. Let's take the example of the ticking of a clock. When it is repeated regularly in the same way, you stop perceiving it. It will be the same for your tinnitus. This habituation phenomenon, initiated by Jastreboff, is based both on the enrichment of physiological and symptomatic knowledge of tinnitus but also on the enrichment of the sound environment. The goal here is to reduce the reactions of the autonomic nervous system (all of the nervous structures allowing the organs to function without us having to think about it) and the limbic (regulating the emotions) towards tinnitus. The main difficulty with persistent tinnitus is an aversive reflex generating stress related to the limbic system. When your subconscious establishes a response to internal neural activity (i.e. the noise from your tinnitus), it will continue to cause a negative reaction due to the limbic and autonomic nervous systems. By diffusing a noise centered on tinnitus, TRT aims to induce changes in the hearing system. By decreasing the contrast between the neural activity due to tinnitus and that of environmental sounds, the majority of people treated notice a reduction in their symptoms.
TRT has proven to be the most suitable therapy for Diapason's objectives. It is therefore a question of creating a phenomenon of habituation to relieve you in your everyday life and relay your tinnitus in the background. By modifying the very structure of your brain plasticity, you naturally take control over your tinnitus.