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Research Article Open Access
Background: Epidemiological data indicate that many patients suffering from tinnitus also present some degree of hearing loss. Auditory stimulation procedures are promoted as important therapy option. One music-based intervention is the neuro-music therapy according to the Heidelberg model, a manualized short term intervention comprising nine 50-minutes sessions of individualized music therapy over a period of five consecutive days. The modules are based on the individual tinnitus pitch. We expected that patients presenting hearing loss would benefit from the use of hearing aids and achieve better results than patients not provided with suitable hearing aids.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of patients attending a neuro-music therapy was conducted. Patients were eligible if they suffered from chronic, tonal tinnitus. The target Group consisted of n=40 presenting hearing loss compensated for with suitable hearing loss (=Group A). A matched sample of n=40 patients presenting hearing loss but not provided with hearing loss (Group B) formed the comparison Group and a sample of n=40 patients with normal hearing thresholds (Group C) served as controls. All three samples were stratified according to the variables tinnitus handicap (i.e. initial TQ-score) and gender. For patients in Group A and B also hearing loss in the region of the tinnitus pitch was considered.
Results: There was a significant overall improvement in tinnitus questionnaire total scores (TQ) from baseline (admission) to end of treatment. However about 8 out of 10 patients in Groups A and C accomplished a reliable reduction in TQ scores, compared to about 3 out of 10 patients in Group B. Conclusions: Based on these results, we conclude that a hearing aid can compensate for a hearing loss and improve the chance for positive therapy outcome while if a hearing loss is not compensated for, success rate declines considerably.
Music therapy, Tinnitus, Hearing loss, Hearing aids, Acoustic stimulation, Outcome assessment (Health care), Retrospective studies, Sound Therapy, Vocal Therapy, Psychoacoustics, Bio Musicology