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The non-medical, habituation-based treatment being studied is known as Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT).
Formby’s team at UA leads the clinical part of the NIH-sponsored study, funded by a $3.2 million award from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Under the current standard of care, counselors typically try to help tinnitus sufferers manage the problem by suggesting coping strategies and by providing information about tinnitus. They are also taught about their auditory system and how it is believed to work together with parts of the brain and central nervous system to give rise to their debilitating tinnitus conditions.


Craig Formby, distinguished graduate research professor in the department of communicative disorders, is embarking on a $5.6 million phase-three, randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of an innovative treatment that uses a noise-generating device, along with counseling, to alleviate the debilitating effects of tinnitus – the ringing in the ears that drives some people to distraction. 1 service-connected disability among veterans returning from the Middle East conflicts. In 2008, compensation for tinnitus disability in the VA medical system alone exceeded $500 million. As many as 50 million Americans experience tinnitus. For an estimated 2 to 5 million, the problem is incapacitating.
Formby will compare this standard with TRT and with a placebo condition that will control for the treatment effects of the noise-generator component of the TRT treatment.


Navy, Marines and Air Force, and will be conducted in Navy and Air Force flagship hospitals in California, Texas, Maryland and Virginia. Researchers expect to recruit 228 participants for the study. After specialized TRT counseling to start the habituation process, each of the affected military personnel will use a pair of ear-worn devices produced by General Hearing Instruments that generate a “soft seashell-like noise,” which blends with the tinnitus.



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