Sound therapy for tinnitus management: practicable options

J Am Acad Audiol. 2014 Jan;25(1):62-75. doi: 10.3766/jaaa.25.1.5.


Background: The authors reviewed practicable options of sound therapy for tinnitus, the evidence base for each option, and the implications of each option for the patient and for clinical practice.

Purpose: To provide a general guide to selecting sound therapy options in clinical practice.

Intervention: Practicable sound therapy options.

Data collection and analysis: Where available, peer-reviewed empirical studies, conference proceedings, and review studies were examined. Material relevant to the purpose was summarized in a narrative.

Results: The number of peer-reviewed publications pertaining to each sound therapy option reviewed varied significantly (from none to over 10). Overall there is currently insufficient evidence to support or refute the routine use of individual sound therapy options. It is likely, however, that sound therapy combined with education and counseling is generally helpful to patients.

Conclusions: Clinicians need to be guided by the patient's point of care, patient motivation and expectations of sound therapy, and the acceptability of the intervention both in terms of the sound stimuli they are to use and whether they are willing to use sound extensively or intermittently. Clinicians should also clarify to patients the role sound therapy is expected to play in the management plan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods*
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Auditory Pathways / physiopathology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Counseling
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology
  • Hearing Aids*
  • Hearing Loss / physiopathology*
  • Hearing Loss / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Music
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Perceptual Masking*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Tinnitus / physiopathology
  • Tinnitus / psychology
  • Tinnitus / therapy*