Tinnitus-derived from the Latin “tinnire” meaning “to ring” is a perceived ringing, buzzing, or hissing in the ear(s) or around the head-which has multiple etiologies and is sometimes idiopathic. As of 2009 in the United States, approximately 50 million Americans were affected for six months or greater, while a United Kingdom study in 2000 reported a 10% prevalence in the adult population . Tinnitus may vary widely with regard to pitch, loudness, description of sound, special localization, and temporal pattern . Most often, tinnitus is associated with other aural symptoms, such as hearing loss and hyperacusis . Tinnitus may result in sleep disturbances, work impairments, and distress. The severity varies within this cohort of chronic sufferers, with some unable to fulfill daily activities. Though tinnitus is more likely to affect adults and the incidence increases with age, children can experience tinnitus as well . Males are more likely to suffer as are individuals who smoke .
Objective:To report findings of improvement in patient tinnitus intensity and changes in frequency using a novel suppressive noise spectrum.
Design: Single-subject; each subject served as his or her own control. Each patient received treatment, and changes were measured over time.
Setting: Tertiary referral via university otolaryngology and hospital audiology as well as audiology clinics in the region.
Patients: Fifteen tinnitus ears in 8 patients.
Interventions: Therapeutic and rehabilitative.
Main Outcome Measures:: Tinnitus frequency, tinnitus intensity, and tinnitus questionnaire.
Results (Findings): After 3 months of exposure to the customized suppressive noise spectrum therapy, patients showed a shift in tinnitus frequency in addition to a significant decrease in tinnitus intensity from the pre-treatment to post-treatment condition (p<0.05). Typically, improvement was gradual based on comparing 3 sets of data collected at baseline, 1.5 months and 3 months.
Conclusion: Using suppression in tinnitus is novel. Based on our findings, using a customized suppressive noise spectrum is effective in shifting the frequency, reducing the intensity of subjective tonal tinnitus, and improving the handicap based on THQ test. From this seminal report, factors related to maximizing its effectiveness (e.g., length of listening time, level of hearing loss, and application for alternative tinnitus types) may be considered for future research.
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