Music Therapy Relieves Tinnitus

From a study by Argstatter H, Plinkert P, and Bolay HV:

BACKGROUND: Chronic tinnitus, one of the most common disorders in ENT medicine, requires comprehensive and interdisciplinary treatment.
OBJECTIVE: An innovative music therapy approach, developed at the German Center for Music Therapy Research in cooperation with the ENT clinic of the University of Heidelberg (“Heidelberg Model”), strives to integrate the tinnitus sound into a musically controllable acoustic process. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the effectiveness of this current treatment.
METHODS: We carried out a prospective, two-armed (music therapy group vs control group) study with 20 patients (10 males, 10 females; mean age 51+/-7 years), suffering from decompensated chronic tinnitus (mean score in the Tinnitus Questionnaire TQ=46.8+/-9.6). The target variables involved TQ values, pre- and post-measurements, and follow-up after 3 and 6 months.
RESULTS: Group comparison yields a highly statistically and clinically significant decrease in mean TQ-scores pre- and post in the music therapy group by 25 points or 52% on average as compared to 2 points (4%) in the control group [emphasis added] [univariate ANOVA: (F(1,31)=14.19, P=0.001), effect size d=1.73]. Logarithmic regression analysis reveals a fast onset and long lasting effect of music therapy [emphasis added] (B=-8.9; F(1,125)=32.11, P=0.000). DISCUSSION: The effectiveness of this highly economic approach was proven as the innovative music therapy concept yields statistically and clinically significant results which remain stable throughout follow-up [emphasis added]. Further investigations with larger sample sizes and using brain imaging should strengthen these findings.

If you have tinnitus, you know it’s not only annoying, it can also interfere with your daily functioning (I suffer from occasional “tones” myself). Nobody knows how many tinnitus sufferers there are, but if you suffer from it, here’s a study you might want to print out and discuss with your doctor. Music therapy may hold the key to regaining your function (and in some cases, your sanity).

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