Hearing aid or tinnitus masker: which one is the best treatment for blast-induced tinnitus? The results of a long-term study on 974 patients

Audiol Neurootol. 2015;20(3):195-201. doi: 10.1159/000377617. Epub 2015 Apr 25.


The aim of this longitudinal study was to explore whether a hearing aid or noise generator would be an effective audiological treatment for blast-induced chronic tinnitus. The amount of satisfaction from different hearing devices (hearing aid, noise generator, or both) during different time periods (1, 6, 12 and 24 months after fitting) was assessed. The 974 subjects enrolled in this study were Iran-Iraq war veterans, suffering from tinnitus for at least 2 years. About 84% of the subjects preferred just a hearing aid. Only 2.7% chose the noise generator, and the others preferred to use both devices. There were no significant differences between the hearing thresholds of the 3 groups. The satisfaction score for the hearing aid and combined devices increased by time but decreased for the noise generator. There was no correlation between the satisfaction score and parameters such as hearing thresholds, audiogram configuration and tinnitus pitch. We concluded that, compared with a noise generator, the most long-lasting treatment for blast-induced tinnitus is a hearing aid. The possible cause for such a performance is probably the recovery of the auditory function and neuroplasticity through the hearing aid.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blast Injuries / complications*
  • Hearing Aids*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noise
  • Tinnitus / etiology
  • Tinnitus / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Veterans*