MarkeTrak VIII – Efficacy of Tinnitus Treatment Options

Further to our post on January 13 about the prevalence of tinnitus in the United States, here is the second part of our summary of the recent MarkeTrak VIII report written by Sergei Kochkin, PhD, Richard Tyler, PhD, and Jennifer Born.  The report looks into the efficacy of the various tinnitus treatment options available and makes the case for using hearing aids to treat tinnitus.

The most-common tinnitus treatment patients had tried was herbs and dietary supplements (6.8% of people).  Surprisingly, only 1% had tried sound generators to treat their tinnitus.  This is unfortunate.  We have found at ReSound that using a tinnitus sound generator is particularly effective for patients with tinnitus.  The MarkeTrak report confirms the benefit of sound therapy.

According to the data in this report, only 6.1% of people interviewed had actually tried hearing aids as a tinnitus treatment, but hearing aids scored the highest points for efficacy out of all the treatment methods presented.  30% of people rated music as an effective treatment and 10% rated relaxation techniques high in efficacy.  Approximately 1 in 10 people experienced substantial tinnitus relief through medication, relaxation techniques, counseling, or a non-wearable sound generator.

The MarkeTrak VIII report also looked into which tinnitus sufferers can benefit the most from hearing aids. While age, level of hearing loss, and severity of hearing loss are not related to how often the respondent experiences relief from tinnitus while wearing hearing aids, the degree of hearing loss and severity of tinnitus are significantly related. In general, people with milder degrees of tinnitus are more likely to find relief with hearing aids.

A significant outcome of the MarkeTrak report is the fact that only 4% of subjects reported that hearing aids made their tinnitus symptoms worse.  Given that hearing aid fitting for tinnitus sufferers is a delicate task, these subjects may even find relief from hearing aids with a more careful fitting – perhaps reducing the maximum output of the hearing aid.

The report concludes that “subjects who had their hearing aids fit by professionals using comprehensive hearing aid fitting protocols are nearly twice as likely to experience tinnitus relief than respondents fit by hearing care professionals using minimalist hearing aid fitting protocols.”

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