What is it about?

Tinnitus is a common symptom that often leads to distress and decreased quality of life. One of the most common interventions, that has shown to mitigate tinnitus, is hearing aids. However, the sounds that the hearing aid produces is acoustically altered by the patient's ear canal. The shape of the ear canal, and thereby the alteration of the hearing aid sound, is unique in every individual. With our meta-analysis of 1400 patients, we have shown for the first time that significantly greater tinnitus mitigation is achieved with hearing aids when objectively controlling for how the individual ear canal alters the sound compared to when hearing aids are used without controlling for this. After 12 months of hearing aid use, the effect size seen with verified hearing aid gain is about twice the effect size seen with unverified hearing aid gain.

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Why is it important?

In the absence of a universal cure for tinnitus, optimization of present tinnitus interventions is needed in order to ease the burden for individuals experiencing tinnitus. Our findings show that tinnitus care could improve significantly with little effort for both clinicians and patients. Out of a societal perspective, the cost of objectively verifying hearing aid gain is very small compared to the alternative - not improving tinnitus care.

Perspectives

Having met uncountable patients suffering from tinnitus, and knowing what impact it can have on their personal life, I really hope that clinicians world wide will read our meta-analysis and start routinely adopting objective hearing aid verification (and other available evidence-based methods) to optimize tinnitus mitigation.

Sebastian Waechter
Lunds Universitet

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Hearing Aids Mitigate Tinnitus, But Does It Matter if the Patient Receives Amplification in Accordance With Their Hearing Impairment or Not? A Meta-Analysis, American Journal of Audiology, September 2022, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), DOI: 10.1044/2022_aja-22-00004.
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