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Effect of Different Sounds on the Treatment Outcome of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

Kim BJ, Chung SW, Jung JY, Suh MW | June 2014

Copyright © 2014 Clin Exp Otorhinolaryngol. All rights reserved.

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic effect of three different types of sounds on tinnitus patients undergoing tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT).


This is a single-institution retrospective study, performed in one tertiary otological referral center. Thirty-eight adults with subjective idiopathic tinnitus who were followed for at least 9 weeks were enrolled. Sound therapy was delivered in 3 different ways: narrowband noise TRT (nTRT); mixed band noise TRT (mTRT); broadband noise TRT (bTRT). Treatment response was measured through validated psychometric questionnaires: Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), visual analog scale (VAS) on annoyance, and numerical description of hours of tinnitus perception (awareness hours).


A total of 38 patients were followed for at least 9 weeks. In nTRT group, all outcome measures including THI, VAS, and the awareness hours, decreased over 9 weeks with no statistical significance. In mTRT group, all outcome measures except for awareness hours significantly improved 9 weeks after the beginning of the treatment.

In bTRT group, all outcome measures decreased significantly in 9 weeks. When therapeutic success is defined as improvement in THI 7 or more, bTRT group (77.8%) showed a higher success rate than other groups for 38 patients with the minimum follow-up of 9 weeks.


All three sounds can provide relief in patients with annoying tinnitus after TRT. However, there is difference in the therapeutic effect according to sound types. Broadband sound seems to be better than narrowband sound or mixed sound in relieving the patients from tinnitus. Therefore, sound therapy with broadband noise may be more appropriate during TRT, but further evidence is needed for precise conclusion.

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