Efficacy of Sound Therapy for Tinnitus Using an Enriched Acoustic Environment with Hearing-Loss Matched Broadband Noise

Cuesta, M., Garzón, C., Cobo, P.
Brain Sciences, 12: 82

Background: Tinnitus is a rather heterogeneous chronic condition/disorder which is difficult to treat. Some tinnitus treatments combine sound therapy with counselling. The main goal of this study is to report the efficacy of a customized sound therapy combined with counselling on a cohort of 83 tinnitus patients. Methods: 119 tinnitus subjects, recruited between January 2018 and June 2021, were subjected to a treatment consisting of a combination of an initial counselling session and four-month sound therapy. The sound stimulus was a personalized broadband noise colored by the audiometry of the subjects. These stimuli were given to the patients in mp3 format to be heard 1 h per day over 4 months. The tinnitus severity of the patients was evaluated monthly through the validated Spanish version of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory. Results: Of the patients, 30% (36 of 119) withdrew from the treatment before finishing, and 96% (80 of 83) of the subjects completing the therapy attained some relief after 4 months. The overall average THI decrease of these 80 participants was 23. However, when the THI was analyzed by severity scales, it was found that patients with initial mild, moderate, severe and catastrophic handicap had an average THI decrease of 14, 20, 31 and 42 points, respectively. Thus, the average THI decrease depended on the baseline severity scale of patients. Conclusions: Consequently, the proposed treatment was demonstrated to be effective in providing clinically relevant relief in tinnitus distress patients in just 4 months.