What is Auditory Discrimination Therapy (ADT)?

and How Does it Work?

Tinnitus and the Brain VIDEO – 15-min video showing How & Why tinnitus develops and how ADT-s therapy works.

ADT-s is a program that addresses the CAUSE of the tinnitus…in the brain.  The “-s” stands for “Synergy”, our revised and online-tested version of ADT.

This is definitely NOT another management technique. These are important and useful, but they are not getting to the cause like the Tinnitus Synergy does.

If you don’t already know what the standard management techniques are, its worth knowing, because if your tinnitus is severe, you will likely still need these to some degree.   You can read more about that and the causes of tinnitus on this page:  (What Causes Tinnitus?) devoted to answering that question, and of course, the video on the most common neurological (brain) cause of tinnitus.

Can Tinnitus be Reversed ONLINE?

Our research, adds to this body of evidence:

THI Reduction graph (2013-2015) - 2

We tested several ONLINE, distinct modifications of the original ADT in order to refine the therapy.  The goal  was to find the most effective approach that was also the most interesting, easiest, and most flexible for individuals with differing lifestyles, brain function, and tinnitus severity.  We found the version that worked best. This is called ADT-Synergy(ADT-s).  (We continue to work on making it better.  I fully expect to reach an average improvement of well above 50% tinnitus reduction.  I wouldn’t say our program is “fun,” but we have an effective version using nature sounds that everyone prefers over the pure tone sounds.  If there is enough interest, we will even develop the game out of this program that we already have conceptualized.)  For now, the first year of the study, our improvements were averaging 28%. In 2015, we averaged 39% improvement. This is exciting!

In my studies as a chiropractic neurologist, I am always looking for natural approaches to conditions that I can help my patients with.  As I started to research tinnitus, I found that there was good research that had been done that was reasonably effective in reducing the actual sound of tinnitus for sufferers.  It wasn’t just how to “deal with it better;” it was real change that was demonstrated on functional MRI images, before and after treatment — Amazing!

fMRI of Brain or Tinnitus sufferer during ADT
fMRI of Brain or Tinnitus sufferer during ADT

Active vs. Passive and Auditory Training vs. Listening

Auditory Discrimination Therapy (ADT) uses auditory exercises to train the brain by listening to sets of 2 tones and answering if they were the same or different.   The process of how you do the Auditory Discrimination Therapy is different, but the neurology is almost identical to “notched music,” the kind used by Neuromonics.  There are quite a few studies published that have shown ADT to work.  The ADT program challenges you to actively think about the tones. This seems to be the reason it gets results so quickly and lasts so long.  Typical lengths of training are 30 days, although somepeople continue to improve with training beyond that.

This difference between ACTIVE discrimination and PASSIVE listening was recorded in a study (see the picture above) and this research (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0026639).

So, what do I actually, physically do during the ADT-s?

  1. After we know that characteristics of your tinnitus,
  2. We provide you with an online training program that you will access daily for ~30 days.
  3. You will access the  program just like you would any webpage online.
  4. You will listen to sets of tones developed from natural animal sounds.
    • You will set your own pace
    • After listening to the tone set, you will answer questions about whether the sounds were the same or different.
    • You  will answer other questions that add to the challenge to the auditory portion of your brain.
  5. As the days progress, you will gradually move to more brain-challenging tone sets and questions, progressively exercising the neurons of your auditory cortex.
  6. When you reach your maximum ability, or the limit of our program, you will go through a cool down phase for about a week.
  7. You will reassess your tinnitus severity (via the THI).
  8. You will be given access to an appropriate maintenance ADT (m-ADT). This is very similar to the ADT-s, except that you will only train for about 10-15 minutes at a time and only 1 time every 3-14 days, or even less as time goes by, in order to maintain your improvement.
    • Some people don’t need maintenance therapy to maintain.
    • Some people continue to improve during maintenance and may choose to continue training daily for more improvement.

Well, now it is widely available.  Auditory Discrimination Therapy is a critical component as the third program included in the of the Tinnitus Synergy program.