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The use of hearing aids as part of the therapy in patients with chronic tinnitus
18 April 2018 (online)
More than 80% of patients with chronic tinnitus suffer from hearing loss. They often report problems with speech comprehension, especially in noise, even if they have normal hearing. This can lead via an avoidance behavior to social isolation and thus to an increase of tinnitus perception. Hearing aids may alleviate these problems.
In addition to ENT counseling, psychological and physiotherapeutic therapy, the patients with chronic tinnitus (tinnitus questionnaire of Goebel & Hiller total score: M = 52,5, SD = 12,0) were binaurally fitted with hearing aids, which should be worn for 3.5 weeks all day. All patients received auditory speech-in-noise training for 1h/day for 3.5 weeks. Following parameters were recorded digitally during the therapy: total wearing time in hours, average wearing time/day and the respective proportion of the acoustic environment (speech at rest, speech in noise, noisy environment, music, car driving, quiet surroundings).
248 patients from 06/2015 til 04/2017 were evaluated. Patients with chronic tinnitus wore hearing aids 6.31h (± 3.8)/day, 22.1% of the time were used to hear speech at rest, 7.4% for speech in noise, in 7.1% in noisy environment, in 1.6% while listening to music, 5.5% while driving a car and in 56.4% in quiet surroundings. There were no significant differences neither between the different WHO-grades of hearing impairment (grade 0 (63,7%), grade 1 (27,8%), grade 2 (6,5%)) regarding time of wearing hearing aids per day nor regarding the acoustic environment.
Hearing aids were worn for several hours a day by chronic tinnitus patients as part of a hearing training within a day-care tinnitus-therapy. They can be recommended for the therapy of hearing problems in all chronic tinnitus patients.