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bellringer

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There are a couple of Internet services offering notch audio services. Is this a viable alternative to TRT?


Dr. Nagler

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Bellringer asked:

There are a couple of Internet services offering notch audio services. Is this a viable alternative to TRT?

..............

The notched music approach purports to decrease tinnitus loudness. As I understand it, you listen to the notched music an hour or more a day through headphones and continue to do so throughout the treatment program. It is not clear how long the effect lasts after you stop listening. TRT does not purport decrease tinnitus loudness; rather it facilitates habituation of tinnitus. I am not at all impressed with the quality of the notched music studies - but to be fair, the quality of many TRT studies can be justifiably criticized as well.

So for the sake of argument, let us assume that both approaches do exactly what they claim to do. You have one approach that requires devoting 60-90 minutes a day to listening to notched music through headphones, while the sound therapy component of TRT is a totally passive process introduced through devices that look like very small hearing aids and that do not interfere with communication in any way. In notched music you take time out of your day to do the treatment; in TRT you conduct your day normally. In notched music the effects apparently gradually wear off over time if the sound therapy is discontinued, whereas in TRT the effects are lifelong.

Is notched music a "viable alternative" to TRT? That's a two part question. Is it an alternative? Well, the two treatments seek to accomplish different things - so I do not know exactly how either can be considered to be an alternative to the other. Also, in terms of delivery notched music interrupts your day, while TRT does not. More importantly, is notched music viable? Is it legitimate? Well as I see it, if somebody came up with a legitimate treatment that could predictably mitigate tinnitus intensity to the extent that it would provide appreciable and lasting relief, then that treatment would absolutely turn the entire tinnitus world on its ear (no pun intended). And to me at this point in time, notched music seems at best more like an apostrophe than a watershed event.

Dr. Stephen Nagler

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