At present there are many treatments that can greatly lessen the impact of tinnitus but no cure to eliminate tinnitus completely.
What’s Currently Happening in Tinnitus Treatment?
Currently EU governments are funding ‘TINNET’ a European Research Tinnitus Council, it http://tinnet.tinnitusresearch.net/ is providing an action for better understanding of the heterogeneity of Tinnitus. This aims to improve and develop new treatment and intervention for tinnitus, funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST).
European guidelines for tinnitus management were published in 2019 following extensive research. These guidelines were established for every health professional involved in tinnitus assessment and treatment, including but not limited to: general practitioners; ear, nose, and throat doctors (ENT); neurologists; audiologists; psychiatrists; psychologists; maxillofacial doctors; nurses; therapists; basic and clinical researchers. It was designed to be accessible to researchers, tinnitus patients and their significant others, patient organisations, policy-makers, and any other relevant stakeholders. The full paper can be accessed at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00106-019-0633-7
Our Tinnitus Study at Kelly Hearing
In August 2015 we began a tinnitus research study at our clinic to objectively verify the success rate of Lyric hearing aids as well as traditional hearing aids with a tinnitus management programme (white noise masker) for tinnitus sufferers.
Apart from obtaining an in-depth patient case history, the impact of tinnitus was evaluated by the patient before and after treatment using questionnaires.
For those suitable for Lyric
Since Lyric is worn 24/7 for months at a time, it also allows an opportunity to provide constant auditory stimulation to the ear, thereby reducing tinnitus perception and improving hearing simultaneously. Results indicated a significant reduction in the perception of tinnitus, anxiety and stress levels were reduced and a feeling of being ‘in control’ of tinnitus was reported within the first 24 hours. One participant reported that Lyric had changed her life.
Summary of results: Our results reinforced our belief that tinnitus suffers needs to be treated individually and highlighted the benefit questionnaires and testing protocols offer to provide structure and consistency to our service and allow us to rate success of treatment.
Ongoing research also suggests that Lyric can improve tinnitus severity, tinnitus annoyance, and improve sleep scores in patients compared to standard hearing devices.
A clinical study was completed in St. James hospital to evaluate the benefit of Lenire tinnitus treatment device. This is a neuromodulation device that targets auditory-somatosensory convergent structures in the brain that are involved in the generation of Tinnitus. The device delivers multimodal stimuli to modulate neuropathological activity and suppress the associated illusory sound. Lenire was launched in December 2014 and there has been a lot of marketing (TV & radio and conferences) about the device. In 2020, further research was published. Results showed a statistically significant reduction in tinnitus symptom severity based on the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory and Tinnitus Functional Index (approximately 80% of patients improved, while 20% either remained the same or disimproved). Therapeutic improvements continued after 12 months post treatment for specific bimodal stimulation settings. This shows promising results for tinnitus patients worldwide, however further research is still required for this emerging therapy.
Based in Sligo, Physics students at the University of Edinburgh and University College Dublin came up with a solution to the problem of temporary tinnitus in 2013. Using sound therapy apparently so effective that they claim it can cure cases of temporary tinnitus in 99% of cases. It uses a low-frequency audio treatment that aims to give a therapeutic benefit, it is available to purchase as a downloadable app. It is unclear on its effectiveness for long-term tinnitus sufferers.