Tinnitus is a common condition where a person hears ringing, buzzing, humming, or other sounds in their ears or head, even when there is no external sound present. It affects approximately 10-15% of the adult population, and it can be a symptom of a range of underlying medical conditions. Tinnitus can be very bothersome and distressing, affecting a person's quality of life, sleep, and mental health. Currently, there is no cure for tinnitus, but there are treatments available to alleviate the symptoms. These treatments range from sound therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy to medication and surgery, and they aim to reduce the impact of tinnitus on daily life.
One of the most commonly used treatments is tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), but another therapy called tailor-made notched music training (TMNMT) has been proposed as an alternative.
Researchers conducted a clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of these two therapies. They randomly assigned 120 participants with chronic tinnitus to either receive TMNMT or TRT for 3 months. The participants were asked to come back for follow-up appointments after 1 month and 3 months of treatment. They used two tests to measure the effectiveness of the therapies: the tinnitus handicap inventory (THI) and the visual analog scale (VAS).
The results of the study showed that both TMNMT and TRT were effective in reducing the symptoms of tinnitus. However, TMNMT was found to be more effective than TRT. The participants who received TMNMT had a greater reduction in their THI scores than those who received TRT. The THI measures the impact of tinnitus on daily life, and a lower score means less impact. The participants who received TMNMT also had a lower VAS score, which measures the loudness and annoyance of tinnitus.
It's important to note that the duration of sound treatment in TRT was modified to 2 hours per day for better feasibility in practice. This means that the study did not compare TMNMT and TRT at their standard duration, which could affect the results.
The trial also found that age and baseline THI and VAS scores were associated with how much the symptoms improved with the therapies. This means that older participants and those with more severe symptoms at the start of the study may have had a smaller improvement in their symptoms than younger participants and those with milder symptoms.
TMNMT (tailor-made notched music training) appears to be more effective than TRT (tinnitus retraining therapy) for reducing the impact of tinnitus on daily life and the loudness and annoyance of tinnitus. However, it's important to note that the study did not compare the therapies at their standard duration and age, and baseline symptoms can affect the effectiveness of the therapies. If you are experiencing tinnitus, it's important to talk to a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for you.