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Assessment of effects of hearing aid fitting on the perceptual characteristics of tinnitus

Abstract

Background

Evidence of systematic relationships between the perceptual characteristics of tinnitus, like its pitch or loudness, and those of the absolute hearing threshold curves, like the presence and degree of hearing loss at certain frequencies, would probably help to understand how tinnitus is related to the configuration of hearing loss.

Objective

The objective of this study was to determine the effects of hearing aid fitting on the perceptual characteristics of tinnitus.

Participants and methods

The participants of the study were 50 adults (20–60 years old) with subjective tinnitus and different degrees of hearing loss. Otorhinolaryngological examination, tonal audiometry, and acoustic immittance testing were done. Participants answered Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) Questionnaire at the time of the first fitting with their hearing aid and performed at 0, 3, 6, and 12 months postfitting.

Results

THI showed a significant decrease throughout the 12 months from 74.80±15.98 at baseline to 61.84±14.02 3 months later, then 38.35±10.98 by the sixth month and 12.90±4.26 by the end of 12 months. At the baseline, no slight or mild cases were detected, whereas moderate THI represented 16%, severe 28%, and catastrophic 56%. These rates changed 3 months later as catastrophic cases decreased almost to one-third of its rate at the baseline. By the sixth month, no catastrophic cases were detected and severe stages recorded trivial rates, whereas most of cases were categorized as mild or moderate. By the end of the study, the great majority of cases were slight (81.6%) and the remaining portion was mild, with no moderate, severe, or catastrophic cases recorded.

Conclusion

Analysis of the results has shown that the use of hearing aids are one of the number of therapeutic options offered to tinnitus patients and promote the improvement in the perceptual characteristics of tinnitus.

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Correspondence to Rabab A. Koura MD.

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El Kousht, M., El Dessouky, T.M., Koura, R.A. et al. Assessment of effects of hearing aid fitting on the perceptual characteristics of tinnitus. Egypt J Otolaryngol 34, 326–331 (2018). https://doi.org/10.4103/ejo.ejo_97_17

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Keywords

  • hearing aid fitting
  • hearing loss
  • Tinnitus Handicap Inventory
  • tinnitus