Investigating the Effects of Music-Based Sound Therapy on Treating Tinnitus

Li, S-A. et al. (2016) Audiology & Neurotology. 21(5) pp. 296-304

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Objective: This blinded, randomized controlled trial assessed the effectiveness of a personalized, spectrally altered music-based sound therapy over 12 months of use.

Method: Two groups of participants (n = 50) were randomized to receive either altered or unaltered classical music. The treatment group received classical music that had been modified based on spectral alterations specific to their tinnitus characteristics. Tinnitus and psychological functioning were assessed at baseline and 3, 6, and 12 months after initial testing using self-reports. Participants, investigators and research assistants were blinded from group assignment.

Results: Data from 34 participants were analyzed. The treatment group reported significantly lower levels of tinnitus distress (primary outcome, assessed using the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory) than the control group throughout the follow-up period. Among the treatment group, there were statistically significant and clinically meaningful levels of reduction in tinnitus distress, severity, and functional impairment at 3- and 6-month follow-ups, which was sustained at the 12-month follow-up.

Conclusion: The personalized music therapy was effective in reducing subjective tinnitus and represents a meaningful advancement in tinnitus intervention.

Read the abstract here

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