Auckland, New Zealand – New research from the University of Aukland by Searchfield, Kaur, and Martin published in the International Journal of Audiology shows that hearing aids with counseling can help patients with tinnitus.
The study, "Hearing aids as an adjunct to counseling: tinnitus patients who choose amplification do better than those that don’t" sought to determine the effectiveness of hearing aids and counseling on 29 subjects with gently sloping, sensorineural high-frequency hearing loss.
Because hearing aid amplification technology changes quickly, it cannot be assumed that previous studies based on very different technologies yield the same results as current technologies. In this study, the authors generally used open fitted slim tube hearing aids and real ear probe microphone measures were obtained to verify fittings.
Counseling involved audiologists with significant experience in tinnitus management and involved family members and friends of the patient. The Tinnitus Handicap Questionnaire (THQ) was used for pre- and post-treatment measures of tinnitus. Hearing loss and tinnitus evaluations were reviewed and explained. Practical relaxation, attention diversion, and stress management techniques were provided.
The authors concluded that counseling combined with hearing aids results in twice the reduction in tinnitus handicap as would be expected using counseling alone. Thus, the combination of hearing aids with counseling represents an effective tinnitus management tool for appropriate candidates.