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Research Article Open Access
Musical training positively influences the cortical plasticity of the brain and has proven to be effective in treating chronic tinnitus. Objectives: A neuro-music therapy concept, the “Heidelberg Neuro- -Music Therapy” treatment was developed and evaluated.
Design: A prospective, cross-sectional design was used.
Materials and Methods: N = 135 patients (mean age 47 years) with chronic, tonal tinnitus attended a standardized protocol for Neuro-Music Therapy (either “standard therapy” ST or “compact therapy” CT). The results were compared to a cognitive behavioral placebo music therapy procedure (PT). Tinnitus distress was assessed using the German version of the Tinnitus-Questionnaire (TQ) at admission, at discharge and six months after therapy. Changes were assessed statistically and by means of clinical significance.
Results: TQ scores significantly improved - independent of group allocation. But more than 80% of the music therapy patients (both ST and CT) revealed a reliable improvement (“responder”) compared to 44% in the PT group. Therapy impact seems to be lasting since TQ scores remained stable until follow-up at six months.
Conclusions: The “Heidelberg Neuro-Music Therapy” is a method with fast onset and long lasting effect for patients with “tonal” tinnitus. A number of potential working factors accounting for the treatment success are highlighted.
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Author(s): Heike Argstatter Miriam Grapp Peter K Plinkert Hans Volker Bolay
acoustic stimulation, music therapy, neuronal plasticity, tinnitus, training