Residual Inhibition works for me - British Tinnitus ...

British Tinnitus Association
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Residual Inhibition works for me


Not too many of those with tinnitus realise that they can turn it off at anytime for a short period by listening to a similar tone their own tinnitus pitch. Luckily sound and speaker hobbyists like tone generators and by googling for a tone or audio function app for your apple or android or windows you can easily then create a specific tone KHz output for your earbud headphone. You just keep adjusting the tone from say 1000 Hz, then 2000 Hz, then 3000 Hz or type in a Hz number until playing the sound turns off your T. I love it at night when just before I want to go to sleep I turn on my own tinnitus sound match tone on my phone and listen for 30 to 60 seconds in each ear. Because of something called ' residual inhibition' this turns off the brain tinnitus for a bit, I can then get to sleep easily and do the same if I wake in the night. I have recorded the same tone as an mp3 and play it when my T is loud during the day too on a little mp3 player. I feel much more that I control T than it controls me now.

13 Replies

Surely this method is not switching off your T but distracting it with another similar pitched sound. My T would spike if I listened to a pitched sound that is at a level above my T sounds if I fiddled with different sounds until I found one matching my T noises. I am among many whose T was as a result of noises induced into my ears and brain from employment and live music gigs. I’m wary of using headphones to send more noise into my ears and brain. I’d rather opt for more natural sounds to distract me. What you’re suggesting isn’t a cure but a means of blocking T out that to some of us would be harmful in the longer term. I’m not knocking what you are doing and if it brings peace into your life then enjoy each moment of this.

It really does turn it off to complete silence which for some is a brand new experience and that can happen after only 20 seconds of listening to the external tone, and it is better if it is very close to a match for the T tone which is found by a Two Alternative Forced Choice system of trying say 1000 Hz and 8000 Hz and deciding which is nearest. Then 2000 Hz and 8000 Hz and so on until you pin it down. It does give me a feeling of me in more control and the getting to sleep thing is great, and I use a wave machine all night too. Of course you would always start with the earbud outside your ears and on a quiet setting to see which tone Hz works. Playing a tone then needs it to be as loud as the tinnitus to work for longer. It works for about 90% of people which is a lot, and for a lucky few silence can last hours, so it is worth a go. Google Residual Inhibition Clyde Witchard for a really good summary of the all the RI research on the first 20 pages followed by an advert - but the research is very interesting. Research shows no lasting ill effects at all of trying it out.

What works for some with T noises doesn’t work for all so I would question your claim of this method working for 90% and resulting in complete silence. That’s a bit difficult to take in as more people on this forum would lauding it’s praises by now. I’ll google it but I’m definitely sceptical of it being for me as I know full well that the more noises I transfer voluntarily into my ears and brain works against my T noises making them worse especially the next day. Good luck and best wishes to you.

No cures yet for T but every little bit helps and the study that came up with 90% had 1400 people in it. Another study had 50% but they played the cancelling tone 10dB quieter. 50% of those who have tried it - carry on using it. That is still millions. I am not sure that everyone with T reads these everyday or even posts their experiences since just thinking about T can make it worse - Posting is a bit like TripAdvisor - the majority who are quite happy don't post or do likes/dislikes, but those few who are unhappy do and sadly put others off trying somewhere. I am also trying Okamoto's notching of my music - another subject to Google - but that takes months, however I am doing something positive that is in my control. But I quite understand avoiding things that you know make T worse. With me its curry. but I am happy for others to eat it.

I have been reading some studies done on RIT and like you said they report 50% success and others stating minimal improvements. Levels of success can also vary from one age group to another and dependent on time exposure and method of RIT. As yet I have not found one stating 90% success though I’m not saying there hasn’t been a survey showing that conclusion. From what I can gather the levels of success vary from a few mins of silence to much longer depending on how long the exposure to residual inhibition therapy occurred. Conclusions also show that RIT isn’t a cure for tinnitus but as a temporary measure of relief. Yes I agree that people on the forum here flit in and out of the debates as I sometimes do. This I can fully understand as it is better to switch off your mind from tinnitus debates by occupying yourself to do other things than concentrate on this topic which brings it to the forefront of our minds. Not always a good idea. However it’s always nice to read, debate and learn new facts about our tinnitus even if an all embracing cure is still distant.

This is a direct quote from Witchard:" One of the largest studies of tinnitus patients, the Tinnitus Archive run by Oregon Health and

Science University, tested residual inhibition in 1,451 people. They found that 88% experienced at least some reduction of their tinnitus". It was on page 6. To be honest if it only helped 5% it would still be worth trying for those 5%.

I’m not disagreeing with the RIT theory or results from tests and surveys. All I’m saying is that the levels of successes found appear to be only for minimal periods and are not long lasting. I agree if RIT helps a few then it’s a good thing for them. I’m just sceptical in this method being suitable for people like me with noise induced tinnitus and only mild hearing loss.

I can only repeat what I said at the start. It works for me by turning T off for a bit just before I go to sleep and I feel that helps me feel more in control and I gave information about how to try it. Residual Inhibition is not mentioned by the BTI anywhere and so I thought I would tell people about my experience. But maybe no one wants to hear about my experience. No more posts or replies now from me.

Your experiences here are most welcome residual1. Just because only 2 people have responded so far it doesn't mean that everyone is saying it isn't for them or hasn't worked for them in the past. RIT has been mentioned in this forum before in one form or another. Here we all learn from each others experiences. I have said my piece in believing it isn't for me, and I am currently waiting on a response from another website to my question on whether RIT is suitable for people like me with noise induced tinnitus. There are people like Liam Boehm of Tinnitus Treatment who speak out against use of masking sounds of any description as a means of reducing or stopping tinnitus. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with these theories anymore than I am similarly neither agreeing or disagreeing with RIT. I just feel that it is not for me. I will now also stand aside in this debate and let someone else on the forum have their say.

Might work for you which is good. It didn't work for me when i was trying different methods out when i first had T.


Surely it depends on the underlying source of our tinnitus? For me my tinnitus is a very high pitch whine due to high frequency hearing loss and equally high pitch sounds, far from cancelling mind out, appall my ears just as much.

I can’t wear headphones as they trigger other neurological problems so this idea wouldn’t help my tinnitus.

Low sounds such as certain voices on the radio don’t cancel it out but are a great help and rhythmic sound of waves soothes mine. But there are so many different causes that I can’t see how one solution could ever work for most people with T?

My sister for instance has tinnitus and was born and still is profoundly deaf. Her tinnitus is not my tinnitus and it would make no difference what external input was in place for her

I have 2 separate noises so this wouldn't work for me. Glad you found something that helps

Hi there... how are you getting on with this?

I posted along similar lines a few months ago and like you have had some small degree of relief by using a signal generator app on my Android. (Search for a thread titled ' Not a cure, but... ') I can adjust the frequency to exactly match my T; I sometimes use it via my Bluetooth headphones during the day but this isn't practical at night, so I just place my phone near to my pillow. It helps, but it's not a magic wand unfortunately!

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