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Medicine / Surgery Open Access
Tinnitus is a noise, a ringing, or a roaring sound in the affected ear and is becoming an increasingly serious problem for health care systems. Integrative treatment concepts are currently regarded as promising therapeutic approaches for managing tinnitus. The aim of this study was to present the results of auditive stimulation therapy, a program of music therapy developed specifically for tinnitus treatment. We collected data on outpatient treatment results from 155 tinnitus patients and evaluated them in a prospective observational study with three defined times of measurement (start, end, and 6 months after the end of treatment). Apart from anamnestic data and subjective evaluation of treatment, the major outcome parameter was the score of the tinnitus questionnaire. To evaluate effectiveness of the therapy, we calculated effect sizes (according to Cohen). Fifty-one percent of the patients were male, and the mean patient age was 49 years. Of the 155 patients, 137 (88%) were capable of gainful employment, which means that they fell in the age range between 18 and 65 years. The duration of tinnitus was more than 6 months for 80% of patients, and 43% had been suffering from tinnitus for more than 3 years. In general, all subscales of the tinnitus questionnaire showed highly significant changes (t-test, p < .01) between the measurement points "start of therapy" and "end of therapy," whereas no significant difference was found between the measurement points "end of therapy" and "follow-up." At follow-up, the values of the subscales were stabilized at a level recorded at the end of the therapy; we did not observe a reduction to the level prior to treatment. The values for the effect sizes mostly ranged between medium (> 0.5) and high (> 0.8). Closer investigations indicated that a combination of music therapy and psychological training rendered the best effect sizes. This study demonstrated that music therapy is an effective integrated treatment approach and offers a way to make progress in tinnitus treatment.
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Author(s): Martin Kusatz Thomas Ostermann and David Aldridge
Effectiveness, music therapy, outcome research, tinnitus