The International Tinnitus Journal

The International Tinnitus Journal

Official Journal of the Neurootological and Equilibriometric Society
Official Journal of the Brazil Federal District Otorhinolaryngologist Society

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ISSN: 0946-5448

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Tinnitus School: An Educational Approach to Tinnitus Management Based on a Stress-Reaction Tinnitus Model

Author(s): Dario Alpini, Antonio Cesarani and Ales Hahn

Stress is a significant factor influencing the clinical course of tinnitus. The auditory system is particularly sensitive to the effects of various stress factors (chemical, oxidative, emotional, etc.). Different stages of reaction (alarm, resistance, exhaustion) lead to different characteristics of tinnitus and to different therapeutic approaches. Individual characteristics of stress reaction may explain different aspects of tinnitus in various patients with different responses to treatment, despite similar audiological and etiological factors. A model based on individual reactions to stress factors (stress-reaction tinnitus model, or SRTM) could explain tinnitus as an alarm signal. In each patient, stressors have to be identified during the alarm phase to prevent an evolution toward the resistance and exhaustion phases. In the exhaustion phase, chronic tinnitus is due to the organization of a paradoxical auditory memory and a pathologically shifted attention to tinnitus. The aim of our study is to describe a therapeutic proposal based on the SRTM by taking an educational approach to management of chronic tinnitus. The educational aspect is emphasized; thus, we named our approach tinnitus school. Selection of appropriate patients and follow-up is based on psychometrics of tinnitus and stress questionnaires, including a tinnitus reaction questionnaire, a tinnitus cognitive questionnaire, and a 20-item perceived stress questionnaire. Tinnitus school is a three-phase program: counseling, training, and home training. Training is based on a tinnitus-fitted physiotherapeutic protocol.