Open ear hearing aids in tinnitus therapy: An efficacy comparison with sound generators

Int J Audiol. 2011 Aug;50(8):548-53. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2011.572263. Epub 2011 May 19.


Objective: This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) with sound generators or with open ear hearing aids in the rehabilitation of tinnitus for a group of subjects who, according to Jastreboff categories, can be treated with both approaches to sound therapy (borderline of Category 1 and 2).

Design: This study was a prospective data collection with a parallel-group design which entailed that each subject was randomly assigned to one of the two treatments group: half of the subjects were fitted binaurally with sound generators, and the other half with open ear hearing aids. Both groups received the same educational counselling sessions.

Study sample: Ninety-one subjects passed the screening criteria and were enrolled into the study. Structured interviews, with a variety of measures evaluated through the use of visual-analog scales and the tinnitus handicap inventory self-administered questionnaire, were performed before the therapy and at 3, 6, and 12 months during the therapy.

Results: Data showed a highly significant improvement in both tinnitus treatments starting from the first three months and up to one year of therapy, with a progressive and statistically significant decrease in the disability every three months.

Conclusions: TRT was equally effective with sound generator or open ear hearing aids: they gave basically identical, statistically indistinguishable results.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / instrumentation*
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Audiometry
  • Auditory Pathways / physiopathology
  • Baltimore
  • Correction of Hearing Impairment*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Hearing Aids*
  • Hearing Loss / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / rehabilitation*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sound*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Tinnitus / diagnosis
  • Tinnitus / physiopathology
  • Tinnitus / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome