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Suffering from tinnitus does not necessarily mean feeling diseased due to the phantom noise.
In case of acute tinnitus manifestation, existing treatment options may be considered unsatisfactory. Any effective therapy for tinnitus requires a fundamental understanding of its physiological and neural background.
Based on previous studies on structural plasticity, we expected a neural correlate of the therapy effect to be most prominent within auditory areas (Heschl's gyri), as tinnitus distress is highly related to structural GM loss in these regions.
In this study, we included participants who were diagnosed with acute tinnitus persisting for a maximum of 3 months, without significant symptom change after an initial medical intervention according to AWMF guidelines (glucocorticoids or rheological drugs). Fifty patients with experience of a recent tinnitus onset (between 6 and 12 weeks prior to the intervention) were invited to participate in the music therapy study subsequent to treatment according to the standard clinical protocol for acute tinnitus in the University Hospital for Ear, Nose, and Throat at the University of Heidelberg. After the period of the standard clinical treatment protocol, 7 patients were excluded from music therapy due to disappearance of tinnitus. After recruitment of tinnitus patients, a group of 22 healthy participants were included into the music therapy condition serving as active controls (AC). Therapy effects on tinnitus severity and individual tinnitus related distress were assessed by Tinnitus Questionnaire (TQ) developed by Goebel and Hiller (1998). Revealed clusters from GM contrasts between groups were anatomically assigned to brain structures using the cytoarchitectonic maps as published in Morosan et al.
The music therapy according to the Heidelberg Model of Music Therapy for tinnitus (Argstatter et al., 2008) is a manualized short term treatment approach lasting for nine consecutive 50-min sessions of individualized therapy.
Tinnitus-related mental load in terms of distress or psychiatric disorders was measured by TQ at T0 (pre-participation evaluation), at T1 (therapy start) and therapy end (T2). Over the observation period of 1 week, Heidelberg Model of music therapy was applied to TG patients, whereas PTC patients were not treated during this time span.
INTRODUCTION: Musical training positively influences the cortical plasticity of the brain and has proven to be effective in treating chronic tinnitus. OBJECTIVES: A neuro-music therapy concept, the "Heidelberg Neuro-Music Therapy" treatment was developed and evaluated.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: N = 135 patients (mean age 47 years) with chronic, tonal tinnitus attended a standardized protocol for Neuro-Music Therapy (either "standard therapy" ST or "compact therapy" CT). CONCLUSIONS: The "Heidelberg Neuro-Music Therapy" is a method with fast onset and long lasting effect for patients with "tonal" tinnitus. Apart from emotional disturbances such as anxiety, depression, sleep impairments or irritation1, the main complaints of the persons concerned with ringing in the ear are difficulties in concentrating their attention2 and in auditory perception3. Data from human neuroimaging support the hypothesis of a final common pathway for tinnitus6 and propose a compromised "noise cancellation mechanism"7 to be liable for the enduring tinnitus percept. It is known that pleasant music verifiably reduces activities in the amygdala and enhances activity in nucleus accumbens and thalamus8,9. Disadvantages are the rather lengthy application and the passive "sounding" of the tinnitus instead of an active exposition to the tinnitus sound. Therefore a short-term Neuro-Music Therapy based on active treatment modules seems to be fruitful in treating chronic tinnitus.
The novel treatment according to the "Heidelberg Model of Neuro-Music Therapy" is based on the notion that tinnitus is experienced as an auditory percept - just as musical stimuli are experienced as auditory percepts.
Two standardized protocols for tinnitus music therapy were defined: a "standard therapy" (ST) and a "compact therapy" (CT) (see patient flow-chart).
All patients receive a comprehensive psycho-educative counseling in order to establish a cognitive model of tinnitus20.
As the specific modules used in therapy are based on the individual tinnitus sound, a tinnitus-equivalent has to be set up by means of a commercially available sinus generator. In the Resonance Training the patient learns a vocal exercise stimulating the cranio-cervical resonating cavities.
The Neuroauditive Cortex Training uses tone sequences performed live by the therapist on a piano which have to be vocally imitated by the patient.
The Tinnitus Reconditioning offers coping mechanisms related to stress control along with a sound based habituation procedure. During the relaxation exercise, the tinnitus sound will be integrated intermittently into the background music. Patients were eligible if they suffered from chronic tinnitus (duration > six months) which could be musically compiled (distinct frequency) and had no psychiatric co-morbidity.
Since patients were recruited nationwide it was not possible to randomize the patients to the groups in the true sense of the word. Based on data from a pilot study23 we calculated the a priori power and thus estimated the minimum control group size with the power analysis program "GPOWER"24 to n = 15.
As part of the medical history, psychosomatic and audiologic co-morbidities as well as socio-demographic data and tinnitus characteristics were assessed. On the whole 69% of the patients presented with high frequency hearing loss (> 20 dB hearing impairment present in at least three test frequencies > 3000 Hz) and about 42% presented with low frequency hearing loss (> 30 dB hearing impairment present in at least one test frequency 0-2000 Hz).
Due to the stratified group allocation, no group differences in socio-demographic data were obtained.
Patients in the music therapy groups ST and CT received a treatment according to the "Heidelberg Model of Neuro-Music Therapy" as described above. Patients in the control group PT received a psychosocial intervention based on psychological tinnitus treatment strategies25 combined with placebo music therapy elements. Assessment of tinnitus symptoms was performed three times, at admission ("pre"), at discharge ("post") and six months after therapy ("follow-up FU").
Apart from statistical significance, individual changes were assessed according to the concept of clinical significance27.
At discharge all patients of the music therapy groups had the opportunity to rate their subjective therapy satisfaction. Statistical analysis of the data was performed using parametrical and non-parametrical tests in SPSS 16 (SPSS Inc. In order to predict parameters possibly influencing therapy outcome, a logistic regression model (CATREG, SPSS 16.0) was calculated using TQ-score immediately after therapy as an indicator for therapy success as a dependent variable. Analysis of TQ scores revealed a highly statistically significant reduction pre-post (p p =.913).
The overall reduction in the music therapy groups can be explained by significant changes in distinct sub-scales of the TQ, especially of "E = emotional problems" (p p p p p >.05).
According to the concept of "clinical significance", more than 80% of the patients the music therapy groups (ST and CT) achieved a reliable reduction in their tinnitus scores from admission to discharge and could thus be categorized as "responder". On a subjective level, 67% of the patients treated with music therapy regarded their symptoms as "better", 22% observed no change and 11% stated to be worse off. Apart from immediate therapy-related effects, there could be other factors influencing therapy outcome ("moderator variables"). In order to set the results in the context of existing therapies, a psychologically based treatment group was used as control group. Animal models 29 as well as results from research on tinnitus treatments30 suggest the use of very specific stimuli, i.e.
The "Heidelberg Model of Neuro-Music Therapy" on the other hand integrates some well known psychological techniques and strategies in order to reduce the tinnitus sensitivity by means of an immediate exploration of the tinnitus sounds by the patient. The rather low positive feedback rate of the Neuroauditive Cortex Training (only about a quarter of the patients rated this module as helpful) might have been due to the wording during the therapy. The Resonance Training is a purely vocal exercise that stimulates the auditory pathway by means of somatosensory innervations and enables the patients to control their tinnitus perception.
It is known that there are manifold cross-modalities in processing somatosensory and auditory stimuli 35.
The Neuroauditive Cortex Training contains a detailed "intonation-training" with purpose-built musical stimuli, based on the individual tinnitus frequency in order to increase the patients" discriminative abilities and enhance their attentive skills. In chronic tinnitus characteristic auditory cortical reorganizations are traceable, which seem to be frequency specific 40,41. Tinnitus Reconditioninghas distinct features in that it combines musical distractors with psychophysiological relaxation and imagination of mental well-being. Since the application of the "well-being image" is linked to acoustic stimuli (relaxation music, tinnitus equivalent sound), the connection "well-being image - relaxation - tinnitus reduction" can be explained in terms of classical conditioning 46. The neurological basis seems to be in an endogenous system located in the medial temporal lobe system (MTLS) 6 and the reticular formation (RF) 47. On the whole, music therapy is a method with short duration, fast onset and long lasting effect for patients with "tonal" tinnitus and light to moderate tinnitus severity (Figure 1 and 2). Paper submitted to the RBCMS-SGP (Publishing Management System) on April 1, 2012; and accepted on August,16, 2012.
I like this product, but I would like to see independent control for each speaker.I have tinnitus in my right ear, so when the volume is right for my right ear, it's too loud for the left.
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The neuroscientifically motivated Heidelberg Model of Music Therapy, previously developed by the German Center for Music Therapy Research, Heidelberg, Germany, was applied to explore its effects on individual distress and on brain structures.
Quite the contrary, neither perceived loudness nor tinnitus frequency seem to correlate with mental strain, but it is the emotional correlate of tinnitus, that is, tinnitus distress, which may trigger such feelings of diminished well-being (De Ridder et al., 2011a). On the one hand, several pharmacological approaches (Patterson and Balough, 2006) have been established considering tinnitus to be equivalent to sudden sensorineural hearing loss (Hesse and Laubert, 2010) or to any cochlear damage (Shim et al., 2011).
Before including the participants in music therapy, a waiting period up to 4 weeks was warranted in order to prevent both delayed drug response and the influence of possible spontaneous remission. All patients had an age-appropriate hearing level and reported no otological or psychological co-morbidity.
The TQ refers to both tinnitus-related functional disabilities (such as concentration difficulties or hearing impairment) and emotional impairments (such as fear, anger or frustration due to tinnitus).
Between these MRI sessions, TG and AC were treated with music therapy according to the Heidelberg Model.
Brain compartments of white and gray matter were segmented, DARTEL normalized by IXI-template to MNI space (Ashburner, 2007), and smoothed by Gaussian kernel of 10 mm radius. The numerical procedure was carried out as a Two-Way ANOVA calculating the influence of the three participant groups and the two dependent time points, scanned before and after the study week, respectively. Integration of both active as well as receptive techniques, not passive suppression of the tinnitus sound, but rather self-effective influence on the sounds. Acoustic attention control by active participation, particularly in the form of vocal exercises both during and between music therapy sessions.
Improvement of acoustic perception by means of detailed training on intonation and listening capacity in the range of the transposed tinnitus frequency. Musically based training in relaxation and well-being in order to decouple tinnitus from psychophysiological reaction patterns.
Tinnitus counseling using educational techniques focusing on individual tinnitus-related problems.

The resulting therapy effect was assessed by the difference of TQ scores between T1 and T2. Comparing structural alterations between T1 and T2, several brain regions revealed increased GM density in treated vs. General structural effects during the therapy week in comparable samples resulted in widely spread increased GM density in TG vs. Heidelberg Neuro-Music Therapy for chronic-tonal tinnitus - treatment outline and psychometric evaluation. But more than 80% of the music therapy patients (both ST and CT) revealed a reliable improvement ("responder") compared to 44% in the PT group.
A number of potential working factors accounting for the treatment success are highlighted. The main reason seems to be the permanent awareness of the tinnitus and the diminished ability to habituate to the sounds4. According to these assumptions, the tinnitus sounds originate from lesions in the auditory pathways. Therefore the patients shall be enabled to actively control the sounds in order to reorganize the underlying neuronal mechanisms maintaining the tinnitus17.
The overall therapeutic dose rate (500 minutes of therapy) was equal just as were the intervention modules (including the counseling).
The aim is not to reproduce a psychometrical pitch-matched tone but rather a sound that is subjectively equivalent to the patients" "ear sounds". A systematic and targeted training of inaccurately intonated musical sounds enables the patients to exert influence on their auditory processes since they learn to actively filter out irrelevant information and to concentrate on relevant acoustic stimuli. By means of music as calming background stimulus, the balance between the activity of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system shall be restored. The volume is adapted to the individual hearing level compensating for a potential hearing deficit. The therapy concept was announced by press releases (newspapers and magazines, radio and TV) and offered to patients at the outpatient department of the local ENT-clinic of the university hospital. The therapy was designed as group intervention with five weekly sessions a 90 minutes and an additional individual counselling (50 minutes) leading to therapy duration of 500 minutes equal to the music therapy intervention. The main outcome criteria were the absolute scores of the German version of the tinnitus questionnaire ("Tinnitus-Fragebogen", abbreviated "TQ") by Goebel and Hiller26 as well as the relative decrease in TQ scores. They had to answer three specific questions a) "Was your tinnitus percept changed by the music therapy?" (Answers: worsened - unaffected - improved) and b) "Which elements from therapy did you consider helpful?" (open question). In the logistic regression demographic, therapy and tinnitus related factors were entered in the model to define those factors that are associated with tinnitus and may therefore contribute to therapy success. Therefore there is an urge for a short term therapy with preferably minimal effort but long lasting effect.
In terms of treatment outcome this group was target underperforming since just less than half of the patients achieved the desired symptom reduction. At the core of the "Heidelberg Model of Neuro-Music Therapy", the patients are actively "confronted" with their individual tinnitus sounds and are told to deal with their tinnitus explicitly instead of trying to take no notice of the tinnitus. These modules enhance the self-determination and the control beliefs of the patients since they learn techniques in order to actively influence their tinnitus.
The patients possibly did not know the scientific label of the intervention thus the answers in the feedback-sheet were blurred because the patients could not label this intervention. One specific of the "Heidelberg Model of Neuro-Music Therapy" is the establishment of a tinnitus-equivalent sound.
Many patients can voluntarily change the percept of their tinnitus by for example teeth clenching, pressure on the occiput, forehead, vertex and temples, head turning and shoulder abductions 36. Frequency discrimination training may interrupt the cortical representations that are generating tinnitus 42,43. This module increases the auditory filtering and supports a modified emotional processing of the tinnitus sound. The MTLS is suspected to be responsible for the establishment of a "tinnitus memory" similar to the pain memory. Further studies are needed in order to evaluate which elements of the music therapy contribute most to the overall effect and to scrutinize the proposed working factors of the modules.
The treatment of tinnitus related psychological distress is part of the music therapy concept, though the duration is very short and music therapy presents a focal therapy and no in-depth psychotherapy will be possible. University Hospital for Ear, Nose, and Throat - University of Heidelberg - Heidelberg - Germany.
Tinnitus outpatient department - German Center for Music Therapy Research - Heidelberg - Germany.
Turn any pillow into a Sleep Tinnitus Therapy Pillow with our ultra-thin stereo speakers-now with inline volume control. This therapy is a compact and fast application of nine consecutive 50-min sessions of individualized therapy implemented over 1 week. Beyond that, the phantom noise often carries additional psychiatric, psychosocial, or psychosomatic comorbidities such as anxiety and depression, concentration and attention deficits, as well as sleep disorders (Jacques et al., 2013). In line with this assumption, GM alterations in auditory cortex were not correlated with tinnitus sound, but with severity of tinnitus-related distress (Schecklmann et al., 2013). However, none of these treatment methods have proven to be effective after replication in controlled trials (Elgoyhen and Langguth, 2011).
This treatment approach strives for an integration of strategies to manage the psychological state and to possibly reverse the underlying neuronal reorganization.
After completion of this pharmacological treatment during the first weeks after tinnitus onset, tinnitus patients underwent a pre-participation evaluation for participation in the music therapy.
At the time point of the pre-participation evaluation (T0) the patients were randomly divided into two groups, a treatment group (TG) and a waiting group for passive tinnitus controls (PTC). TQ scores were obtained at three different times, during inclusion examinations, before start of treatment, and after the therapy week. The therapy was carried out by a team of two expert therapists, usually one music therapist and one psychotherapist. Treatment by the compact approach of the Heidelberg Model of Music Therapy over 1 week added up to 450 min of therapy sessions (9 × 50 min). Treatment by Heidelberg Model of Music Therapy led to decrease of 16 score points as compared to untreated patients on average (error bars: standard error of mean). Tinnitus distress was assessed using the German version of the Tinnitus-Questionnaire (TQ) at admission, at discharge and six months after therapy.
Therapy impact seems to be lasting since TQ scores remained stable until follow-up at six months. For that reason the predominant wish of the patients is to get rid of the "annoying" and "intrusive" sounds5 and to regain confidence in their sense of hearing. Usually these sounds should be blocked off by feedback connections from limbic regions before reaching the auditory cortex. Musically based interventions11,12,13 also have proven to be highly effective in treating chronic tinnitus - possibly by correcting tinnitus evoking neuronal mechanisms14. If they could actively influence their tinnitus, their control beliefs will rise and thus let down the strains15. Purpose-built music therapeutic interventions were merged to modules and integrated into a standardized manual. During the interval between the sessions, the patients have to exercise themselves in Resonance Training for three minutes every hour. For this purpose, before the training session starts, the patients have to set the background music to a convenient level such that they can easily listen to the music while still being able to follow verbal instructions from the therapist.
Only patients coming from the proximity of Heidelberg were allocated in a randomized way (computer generated) either to the ST group or the PT group. The regression analysis reveals a highly significant relationship between the tinnitus score and the independent variables (p 2= 0.43).
The proposed therapy concept "Heidelberg Model of Neuro-Music Therapy" seems to be a potential completion of the therapy spectrum.
Given that this group received also placebo music therapeutic elements (active listening to preselected musical pieces) and an individual counseling, it seems reasonable to argue that the positive and long lasting effect of the music therapy according to the "Heidelberg Model of Neuro-Music Therapy" is due to the far more specific and active musical training aiming directly at the individual tinnitus sound. There exists a variety of procedures using a combination of counseling and acoustic stimulation. In doing so, the duration of the therapy does not exceed ten weeks (standard therapy) and can even be compacted to five days (compact therapy).
Many patients stated though that they would enjoy singing or listening to music subsequent to the therapy. Levine 37 proposed interactions between auditory perception and somatosensory input at the dorsal cochlear nucleus.
Experimental data indicate that it is more efficient to train at normal hearing frequencies rather than in the region of hearing loss or tinnitus frequency 44,45. Biocybernetics of attention in the tinnitus decompensation: An integrative multiscale modeling approach.
Development and psychometric adequacy of the screening version of the tinnitus handicap inventory.
Final common pathway for tinnitus: theoretical and clinical implications of neuroanatomical substrates. Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate with activity in brain regions implicated in reward and emotion. The rewards of music listening: response and physiological connectivity of the mesolimbic system.
Auditive stimulation therapy as an intervention in subacute and chronic tinnitus: a prospective observational study.
A multi-centre study on the long-term benefits of tinnitus management using Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment. Listening to tailor-made notched music reduces tinnitus loudness and tinnitus-related auditory cortex activity.
A cognitive model of tinnitus and hyperacusis; a clinical tool for patient information, appeasement and assessment.
Musiktherapie bei Tinnitus: Interdisziplinare Pilotstudie zur Uberprufung des Heidelberger Modells.
Clinical significance: a statistical approach to defining meaningful change in psychotherapy research.
Enriched acoustic environment after noise trauma reduces hearing loss and prevents cortical map reorganization. Treatment of tinnitus with a customized, dynamic acoustic neural stimulus: underlying principles and clinical efficacy. Cross-modal interactions of auditory and somatic inputs in the brainstem and midbrain and their imbalance in tinnitus and deafness. The effect of a new treatment based on somatosensory stimulation in a group of patients with somatically related tinnitus. Auditory discrimination training for tinnitus treatment: the effect of different paradigms.

Auditory perceptual learning at normal hearing frequencies affects changes in tinnitus intrusiveness and percept.
Tinnitus suppression by low-rate electric stimulation and its electrophysiological mechanisms.
Classical conditioning as the basis for the effective treatment of tinnitus-related distress. The dorsal cochlear nucleus as a participant in the auditory, attentional and emotional components of tinnitus.
Simply place under your existing pillow and enjoy your favorite music or sounds for optimal relaxation and comfort.
Clinical improvement and long-term effects over several years have previously been published. This epidemiological profile points to the value of investigating the origins of tinnitus more thoroughly in order to get better understanding of its nature and of the potential for remediation. Hence the existence of tinnitus per se (by phantom noise) does not require any therapeutic intervention. For this purpose, complementary music- and psychotherapeutic interventions, comprising emotional regulation of tinnitus load and exercises of frequency discrimination in the spectral range of tinnitus noise, have been organized into several modules, resulting in a manualized short-term music therapeutic treatment concept whose separate treatment modules and long term effects are described in detail by Argstatter et al. In addition to standard audiological testing and otolaryngological examination, important demographic and tinnitus-related data were collected. This study protocol consisted in 9 consecutive 50-min sessions of individualized therapy over 5 days, comprising acoustic training for frequency discrimination, auditory attention control tasks, and guided exercises for mindfulness and distress regulation. The preceding TQ assessment as part of the inclusion examination was integrated into the experimental setup to exclude novelty effects from further evaluation of therapy effect. The highest effect was measured in the right Rolandic operculum resulting in GM increase of about 1.7% in treated patients.
The western heptatonic musical tonality forms the basis of the active music therapy procedures. The most common side effects are headache and laryngitis if the exercise is not executed properly, either too often, too long or with too much pressure. Group differences of sociodemographic data and audiometric tinnitus characteristics were analyzed with the c2-test or univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA). About 80% of the patients accomplished a reliable decrease of tinnitus pathology in the course of music therapy and about two thirds of the patients describe their tinnitus symptoms as "improved" after therapy.
Often the musical stimuli are spectrally modulated in order to account for hearing impairments31,32 and are incorporated as a passive means patients have to listen to for rather lengthy intervals (months up to years). The main parts of the therapy consist of active music therapy modules; hence there is no need and no purpose for spectrally changing the music used. We therefore propose that it is possible to alter the internal tinnitus spectrum by means of the Neuroauditive Cortex Training, which represents a specific perceptual training within the normal hearing frequencies. RF neurons coordinate sensory and motor functions and influence cortical activity via the thalamus. However, the underlying neural basis of the therapy's success has not yet been explored.
Tinnitus is thought to be triggered in many cases by cochlear damage, resulting in abnormal or missing afferent input to the auditory cortex (Moller, 2007). But since tinnitus often co-occurs with considerable emotional decline among affected patients, there is still demand for therapeutic assistance.
These adjuvant psychotherapeutic interventions consist of one or more of the following elements: psycho-educative counseling, relaxation training, and general and tinnitus-related stress management.
Patients were excluded if the tinnitus was related to anatomic lesions of the ear, to retrocochlear lesions or to cochlear implantation.
For ethical reasons, PTC patients also received the therapeutic intervention, but following the study period.
Resulting structural findings from this contrast were further used as spatial mask for general effects of music therapy.
The resulting contrast was subsequently considered as a mask for general effects of the therapy situation, comprising training tasks, relaxation sessions, and specific auditory exercises.
Mutual stimulation via both the thalamic and paralimbic pathways ultimately lead to tonotopic changes in the auditory cortex7 while reciprocal innervations of the medial temporal lobe system give rise to memory consolidation leading to a paradoxical "tinnitus memory"6. Therefore the Neuro-Music Therapy is indicated only if the patients indentify their tinnitus as "tonal" (sinus tones).
Any psychiatric disorder or ongoing medication with antidepressants or antipsychotic drugs yields to exclusion of the patients. Selection of the musical pieces was based on the individual musical taste and preferences as well as on the emotion evoking impact of the musical pieces. Therapy outcome as assessed by the TQ and the CPT were evaluated using univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA) for repeated measure procedures. This effect was independent of the patient"s treatment allocation to standard therapy or compact therapy. Additionally, a tinnitus-equivalent sound provides the possibility to deal with the symptoms in an immediate and direct way. Therefore an activation of cranio-cervical and cranio-facial muscles and nerves by means of the Resonance Training might correct the auditory pathway by means of indirect stimulation of the joint "relay-station" cochlear nucleus 36. Furthermore it is very important to ensure the training regime is intrinsically motivating.
Stress is considered to potentiate the severity of tinnitus due to the proposed accompanying reduction and alteration in auditory masking 6.
Simply place them under your existing pillow, plug into your music player and enjoy relaxing and falling asleep listening to your favorite music or sounds. In the current study, the therapy was applied to acute tinnitus patients (TG) and healthy active controls (AC).
However, many available therapies resulted in relatively small effects or lacked improvement in tinnitus load (Pichora-Fuller et al., 2013). The authors also reported the high clinical efficacy and long-term effects of this approach in chronic tinnitus patients. According to the results from the regression analysis, there was - apart from tinnitus masking level - no influence of tinnitus characteristics or otological co-symptoms on therapy success.
A deliberate regulation of emotional responses towards the tinnitus sounds might enhance gate control mechanisms and restore misdirected "filter functions" of thalamic and limbic areas. Whereas psychological strategies are intended to modulate attention and emotion toward tinnitus, noise maskers and hearing aids instead interact with acoustic sensation to suppress tinnitus perception.
Corresponding clinical therapeutic effects in patients with acute tinnitus have been previously reported by Grapp et al.
The latter criterion was chosen to exclude interaction between music therapy and hearing aids for the present. As predicted, the therapeutic intervention led to a significant decrease of tinnitus-related distress in TG compared to PTC.
Tinnitus sound masking was developed in the early 1970s (Coles et al., 1984) and is still being used in mild cases, because a lasting improvement can be achieved as long as the external noise is applied.
This step was implemented to separate tinnitus-related effects from general therapy-related effects. If you would like to try this product before purchasing, please contact us for a demonstration at our office. The devices led to reduced tinnitus distress, especially when combined with hearing aids amplifying the impaired frequency range (Oz et al., 2013). The authors of this study measured a decrease of tinnitus-related mental load in treated compared to untreated patients after 1 week of therapy. All obtained clusters of each comparison were corrected post-hoc by extent threshold of 125 contiguous voxels and reported after family-wise error (FWE) correction on cluster-level of 5% alpha error. Nevertheless, the relative reduction and the individual improvement (reliable change index) were independent from the basic TQ-value - therefore also patients with comparatively lower strains still benefit from the therapy in equal measure.
Assessment by repeated measures design for several groups (Two-Way ANOVA) revealed structural gray matter (GM) increase in TG compared to PTC, comprising clusters in precuneus, medial superior frontal areas, and in the auditory cortex.
Direct modulating of the tinnitus-related activity is intended in either Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) or rapid Transcranial Magnet Stimulation (rTMS), too (Langguth and De Ridder, 2013). This improvement on tinnitus distress by the aforementioned therapy concept formed the starting point of our research. This pattern was further applied as mask for general GM changes as induced by the therapy week. According to the authors, missing signals by sensory deafferentation cause high-frequency, gamma band, synchronized neuronal activity in the sensory cortex. In most of these studies the primary auditory cortex has been targeted for tinnitus treatment by cortical stimulation (Simon et al., 2012). We aimed to investigate the corresponding neural correlates of this distress-related improvement in tinnitus patients more thoroughly.
The therapy-like procedure in AC also elicited similar GM increases in precuneus and frontal regions. This activity only reaches awareness when it co-activates brain networks that are related to self-perception and salience (amygdala, anterior cingulated, anterior insula, and precuneus).
However, benefits from rTMS therapy have not been shown to persist over time (Theodoroff and Folmer, 2013).
Thus, we sought to gain a deeper insight into the complex brain etiology and into the possibility of cortical reorganization in tinnitus. In such way getting conscious, the phantom percept also activates a non-specific distress network that in turn overlaps with salience coding, resulting in an emotional coupling of tinnitus to the experience of distress.
AC was calculated within the mask for general GM changes to obtain specific effects in tinnitus patients, yielding GM increase in right Heschl's gyrus, right Rolandic operculum, and medial superior frontal regions.
Structural brain analysis observing neuronal plasticity has been found to be suitable for understanding correlations between such mental sensations and neural mechanisms (Valkanova et al., 2014).
In line with recent findings on the crucial role of the auditory cortex in maintaining tinnitus-related distress, a causative relation between the therapy-related GM alterations in auditory areas and the long-lasting therapy effects can be assumed.
Noteworthy, even though they all consistently report structural differences, their results largely differ regarding both the localization and the direction of changes.
However, there is growing consensus on the involvement of gray matter (GM) alterations in auditory brain areas when suffering from tinnitus distress. More precisely, tinnitus distress correlated negatively with GM volume in bilateral auditory areas, pointing to higher individual tinnitus distress with lower gray matter volume. The authors argued that the latter tinnitus-related alterations in dmPFC might not be related to distress, but to individual loudness of tinnitus sensation.

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