Official Journal of the Neurootological and Equilibriometric Society
Official Journal of the Brazil Federal District Otorhinolaryngologist Society
Purpose: Many tinnitus patients report a reduction in their tinnitus with use of sound therapy. We were interested in determining the magnitude of tinnitus relief that results from exposure to a novel, high-frequency directional audio system.
Method: Twenty-three individuals with sensorineural tinnitus were exposed to a 30 minute sound of their choice using the HyperSound audio system. Ratings of tinnitus loudness and annoyance were measured prior, during, and after the sound exposure. Magnitude estimates of loudness and annoyance were obtained over this period. The Tinnitus Primary Functions Questionnaire was administered pre- and post-exposure to determine the degree of change in the functional impact of tinnitus. Following the exposure, the change in tinnitus loudness was quantified numerically in 1-minute intervals, and acceptability of the masker was rated.
Results: Results revealed a reduction in tinnitus loudness for 16 of 23 participants and in annoyance for 14 of 23 participants. There were three individuals who reported an increase in their tinnitus after exposure to the sound stimulus and, therefore, did not benefit from the sound therapy. A significant improvement was found in concentration abilities and in the functional impact of tinnitus with use of this sound therapy device, which was represented by an improvement in mean scores for the concentration subscale and total score on the Tinnitus Primary Functions Questionnaire. Further, for 30% of the group, a post-masking effect was observed after exposure or a reduction in tinnitus loudness after the cessation of the stimuli. Finally, 72% of the participants reported that the sound therapy was acceptable in masking their tinnitus.
Conclusion: These results indicate that the HyperSound audio system using high-frequency stimuli may be helpful in alleviating tinnitus for tinnitus sufferers. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of the HyperSound audio system compared to clinical treatments for tinnitus.