Objective: Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), which is an adaptation therapy for tinnitus based on the neurophysiological model proposed by Jastreboff in 1990,consists of directive counseling and acoustic therapy with a tinnitus control instrument (TCI) or other devices. For the past 5 years, our hospital has administered TRT characterized by the use of a TCI.
Method: In this study, we reviewed the clinical course of patients with tinnitus who presented to our outpatient clinic for tinnitus and hearing loss during the 3-year period from April 2004 to March 2007 and underwent TRT with a TCI. Among 188 patients with tinnitus (105 males and 83 females), 88 patients (51 males and 37 females, excluding dropouts) who purchased a TCI and continued therapy were included in the study.
Results: Significant improvement in Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores was found as early as 1 month of treatment and later compared with those on initial examination, suggesting that TRT with a TCI may be an effective treatment for tinnitus. Among the noises generated by the TCI, the sound pressure output from the TCI was set at just below tinnitus loudness level both of the first adjustment and the second adjustment. Speech noise and white noise were frequently selected, whereas high-frequency noise and pink noise were infrequently selected. Speech noise was most frequently selected at the first adjustment, and the number of patients selecting white noise increased at the second adjustment. The results that we compared the two also revealed that the mean hearing level and tinnitus loudness levels were higher in the white noise group than in the speech noise group, which suggested that the inner ear disorder was more harder in the white noise group. Both the THI score and VAS grade improved after 1 month of treatment in the speech noise group, whereas improvement in these parameters was observed in the white noise group after 6 months of treatment. These results suggest that it took much longer the patients in the white noise group to improve.
Conclusion: : Significant improvement in THI and VAS scores was found as early as 1 month of treatment and later compared with those on initial examination, suggesting that TRT with a TCI may be an effective treatment for tinnitus. It resulted that many patients chose the speech noise or the white noise. And also it was indicated that noise generators set at just below mixing point with tinnitus are more effective. In this study, however, speech noise was often selected probably because of the reduced output at high frequencies and the level of comfort. As white noise produces greater sound volume, patients tended to switch from other therapeutic sound to white noise at the second adjustment. These findings may help administer acoustic therapy in the future.