Customized Versus Noncustomized Sound Therapy for Treatment of Tinnitus: A Randomized Crossover Clinical Trial

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Abstract

Objectives:

To determine the effectiveness of a customized sound therapy and compare its effectiveness to that of masking with broadband noise.

Methods:

Subjects were randomized to receive either customized sound therapy or broadband noise for 2 hours per day for 3 months and then switched to the other treatment after a washout period. The outcome variables were tinnitus loudness (scored 0-10), Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), minimum masking levels (MML), and residual inhibition (RI).

Results:

Eighteen subjects completed the study. Mean age was 53 ± 11 years, and mean tinnitus duration was 118 ± 99 months. With customized sound therapy, mean loudness decreased from 6.4 ± 2.0 to 4.9 ± 1.9 (P = .001), mean THI decreased from 42.8 ± 21.6 to 31.5 ± 20.3 (P < .001), mean BAI decreased from 10.6 ± 10.9 to 8.3 ± 9.9 (P = .01), and MML decreased from 22.3 ± 11.6 dB SL to 17.2 ± 10.6 dB SL (P = .005). After 3 months of broadband noise therapy, only BAI and, to a lesser degree, MML decreased (P = .003 and .04, respectively).

Conclusions:

Customized sound therapy can decrease the loudness and THI scores of tinnitus patients, and the results may be superior to broadband noise.

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