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Implementation and Long-Term Evaluation of a Hearing Aid Supported Tinnitus Treatment Using Notched Environmental Sounds

  • Recent work has shown that sharp spectral edges in acoustic stimuli might have advantageous effects in the treatment of tonal tinnitus. In the course of this paper, we evaluate the long-term effects of spectrally notched hearing aids on the subjective tinnitus distress. By merging recent experimental work with a computational tinnitus model, we modified the commercially available behind-the-ear hearing aids so that a frequency band of 0.5 octaves, centered on the patient's individual tinnitus frequency, was blocked out. Those hearing aids employ a steep notch filter that filters environmental sounds to suppress the tinnitus-related changes in neural firing by lateral inhibition. The computational model reveals a renormalization of pathologically increased neural response reliability and synchrony in response to spectrally modified input. The target group, fitted with spectrally notched hearing aids, was matched with a comparable control group, fitted with standard hearing aids of the same type but without a notch filter. We analyze the subjective self-assessment by tinnitus questionnaires, and we monitor the objective distress correlates in auditory evoked response phase data. Both, subjective and objective results show a noticeable trend of a larger therapeutic benefit for notched hearing correction.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Lars HaabORCiD, Caroline Lehser, Farah I. Corona-StraussORCiD, Corinna Bernarding, H. Seidler, Ronny HannemannORCiD, Daniel J. Strauss
Parent Title (English):IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine
First Page:1
Last Page:9
Year of first Publication:2019
Release Date:2022/11/18
Tag:acoustic signal processing; acoustics; advantageous effects; auditory evoked potentials; auditory system; behind-the-ear hearing aids; clinical trial; computational tinnitus model; hearing aid; hearing aids; long-term effects; long-term evaluation; neural activity; neurons; neurophysiology; notch filters; notched acoustic stimulation; notched environmental sounds; notched hearing correction; pathologically increased neural response reliability; patient treatment; plastics; recent experimental work; recent work; reliability; sharp spectral edges; spectrally modified input; spectrally notched hearing aids; standard hearing aids; steep notch filter; subjective tinnitus distress; synchrony; tinnitus; tinnitus questionnaires; tinnitus treatment; tinnitus-related changes; tonal tinnitus; translational engineering
Impact:02.530 (2019)
Funding Information:Public Research Funds (BMBF); Sivantos GmbH; provided the Hearing Aids for Target and Control Group and retrieved the devices after the completion of the study MediClin Bosenberg Clinics (ENT Department)
Open Access:Open Access
Signature:INM 2019/065