Tinnitus management has often included the delivery of additional sounds (amplified speech, background noises, music, artificial noises, narrow band noise, white noise...) to the patient, in tandem with counseling, to reduce the annoyance of tinnitus. Almost every technique previously described in the literature has worked with some selected tinnitus management candidates, yet a universal solution has not been found.
Sweetow and Sabes (2010) described their protocol and observations using fractal tones ("auditory fractal tones utilize harmonic but not predictable relationships...somewhat like wind chimes") available in a commercially available (Widex) hearing aid.
The authors report fractal tones delivered to tinnitus patients through hearing aids can provide amplification while allowing relief for some tinnitus sufferers. The hypothesis proposed was that fractal tones are effective in relaxing the patient and can reduce the annoyance of tinnitus. Indeed, approximately half of the 14 subjects reported subjective decreases with regard to annoyance from tinnitus after using the device for six months. However, the authors were unable to determine how much of the relief came from overall amplification, versus how much came from the use of fractal tones.
Sweetow and Sabes note that acoustic treatments for tinnitus, without the multiple benefits derived from counseling, will likely not suffice. They concluded that "tinnitus management procedures need to be supplemented with appropriate counseling."
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Sweetow RW, Sabes JH. (2010) Effects of Acoustical Stimuli Delivered Through Hearing Aids on Tinnitus. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 21(7):461-473.