Noble (2012) presents a compelling and authoritative chapter on the scientific evidence and outcomes related to tinnitus treatment and management. Noble reports 10 to 20 percent of the adult population has persistent tinnitus and suggests one-tenth of those (with persistent tinnitus) are very much distressed by it.
Among the multitude of important points addressed by Noble (abstracted here):
There is no reason why, and there is no evidence to support the use of ginkgo biloba as a treatment for tinnitus. There is no evidence of a lasting direct effect on tinnitus presence (or severity) from any
pharmacologic agent or solution to date. There is ample evidence indicating hearing aid amplification (particularly when employed with modern digital hearing aids with open fits and extended bandwidths) is often beneficial for the tinnitus patient and the author encourages additional research.
Noble points out laser therapy for tinnitus management has no theoretical basis and the lack of an effect (tinnitus relief from laser therapy) is strong, based on double-blind, placebo controlled studies. The author notes that neuromonics studies from independent researchers are rare. Nonetheless, the one independent study that Noble reported indicated just as many subjects discontinued the treatment as completed the treatment and of those that completed the treatment there was a significant reduction in their Tinnitus Reaction Questionnaire (TRQ) scores at eight months post-treatment. However, Noble reports it was unclear whether the benefit was due to the counseling or masking component(s) of the protocol.
The author concludes, “Given the complex nature of tinnitus suffering…it seems vital…(for effective tinnitus management) to engage a coalition of skills drawn from clinical audiology and clinical psychology.”
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Beck DL. (2011) Hearing aid amplification and tinnitus: 2011 overview 64(6):12-14.
Noble W. (2012) Evidence About the Effectiveness of Treatments Related to Tinnitus. In "Evidence Based Practice in Audiology - Evaluating Interventions for Children and Adults With Hearing Impairment." Eds. Wong and Hickson. Plural Publishing, Chapter 11: 267-282.