Individualized Treatment of Tinnitus during Sleep Using Combined Tinnitus Signal and Music

ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. 2021;83(1):35-40. doi: 10.1159/000509981. Epub 2020 Sep 23.


Introduction: Tinnitus is a widely seen otological symptom that interferes with daily activities and causes discomfort. Tinnitus treatments can be classified into 4 main groups: pharmacological treatments, cognitive and behavioral therapy, psychological treatments, and combined treatment approaches made up of at least 2 of these 3 treatment methods.

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess whether it would be possible to develop an individualized treatment method of tinnitus by application of a combined tinnitus signal and music during sleep.

Methods: Forty-three ears of 30 patients who had subjective tinnitus were included. The patients were evaluated using Tinnitus Handicap Inventory, Visual Analogue Scale, and Beck Depression Inventory. The psychoacoustic parameters of tinnitus, such as tinnitus frequency and loudness, and minimal masking levels, were determined. The patients were asked to select musical melodies that they liked. The tinnitus frequency of each patient was taken as the central frequency according to ANSI 2004. All sound files were prepared as stereo channels, with 16-bit resolution and 44,100 Hz sampling rate. The root mean square power value of the music and the band noise's average root mean square power value were equalized with the "Amplification" command, and 70% of the music and 30% of wide/narrow-band noise were mixed as a stereo channel by the "Mix Paste" command. The patients were instructed to listen to that individualized music/narrow-band noise (tinnitus signal) for 2 h during sleep for a duration of 6 months.

Results: Tinnitus frequencies of the patients measured prior to treatment and at the second, fourth, and sixth months of follow-up were not significantly different. A statistically significant decrease was seen in tinnitus loudness, minimal masking levels, and residual inhibition during the follow-up. Tinnitus Handicap Inventory scores decreased significantly during follow-up, and the number of patients who complained of tinnitus decreased (p < 0.05). The Visual Analogue Scale scores significantly decreased during follow-up (p < 0.05). Beck Depression Inventory scores decreased significantly during follow-up (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Stimulation of the auditory and limbic systems during sleep by the tinnitus signal combined with individualized musical melodies seems an alternative, effective, and cheap method in the treatment of tinnitus.

Keywords: Audiology; Otorhinolaryngology; Tinnitus; Treatment of tinnitus.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Music*
  • Sleep
  • Tinnitus* / complications
  • Tinnitus* / therapy
  • Visual Analog Scale