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Does tinnitus notch therapy really work? Here is a report on my own experience.

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

I am an audiologist, a deaf one. I also have binaural tonal tinnitus, a hissing on both sides, all the time. I am trying tinnitus notch therapy on myself and here is the report. I am keen to try tinnitus notch therapy for solid 12 months. I'll be updating this page with the progress of the treatment, so visit this page regularly to get an update on my tinnitus notch therapy.


Please feel free to post your questions or comments at the bottom of this page.



Tinnitus can be in different forms of sounds. There is no definite cure for tinnitus but for tonal tinnitus (what type is your tinnitus?) the evidence-based reports show there is a 65% chance that tinnitus notch therapy could alleviate tinnitus to some extent (more in here).


How did my tinnitus start?

A few years ago, I experienced labyrinthitis which in simple words is an inner ear infection. It left me with binaural tonal tinnitus and a cookie bite shape hearing loss. Back then I had mild vertigo for about 3 days and that was the only symptom I had. After that people around noticed that I am missing their calls, especially in noisy environments. Also, I gradually noticed the hissing, about 2 months after the virus attack. At first, I only felt my tinnitus before going to bed, or when it was absolute silence, but now I can hear it almost all the time, anywhere.


Here is my audiogram. As you can see both sides have hearing loss down to around 50 to 60 dB range in mid-frequencies.


Does tinnitus notch therapy really work - koorosh nejad from HearingNow


What other treatments have I tried to alleviate my tinnitus?

I love music, so I usually listen to some music during the day that simply helps distract my mind from my tinnitus. I also use Resound Relief for tinnitus sound therapy. Resound Relief is one of the most sophisticated tinnitus sound therapy apps on the market and it is free to use.



What hearing aid am I using for my tinnitus treatment?

At the time of this experiment, there are only two brands of hearing aids that offer tinnitus notch therapy, Signia and Rexton. I used Rexton BiCore R-Li 80 for my tinnitus notch therapy. Please see this article to learn more about the best tinnitus hearing aids on the market.


I wanted the hearing aid to be rechargeable, and also to be able to connect to my iPhone through Bluetooth so I can do tinnitus sound therapy on the side.



Fitting Rexton BiCore R-Li 80 Rechargeable RIC

I have done a lot of experiments on the fitting of several types of hearing aids on myself. For the sake of allowing the hearing aids to do more sound processing and better noise reduction, I decided to fit them on a closed fitting. The disadvantage of this strategy is that I notice occlusion more than an open fitting, but the benefit of a closed fitting is that the hearing aids are able to help more in terms of speech intelligibility in a noisy environment.



tinnitus notch therapy by hearingnow



What is the characteristic of my tinnitus?

I did an assessment of the frequency and the loudness of my tinnitus on each side separately. My tinnitus was felt at around 1.5 kHz in terms of frequency and it felt about 50 dB. In sloping hearing loss due to ageing, tinnitus could often be felt at 2 to 7 kHz (more in here). Sometimes determining the frequency of the tinnitus can be tricky. In my case, I feel that I can also hear multiples of 1.5 kHz i.e. 3kHz and 6 kHz, but I feel that 1.5 kHz is the base frequency of my tinnitus.

The tinnitus notch therapy is activated on all programs on my hearing aids for maximum effectiveness.




tinnitus hearing aids and notch therapy on hearingnow



What are the timelines of my tinnitus notch therapy?

Scholars suggest that tinnitus notch therapy needs to be done at least 6-12 months before the subject notices some real change in the perception of tinnitus. My notch therapy started on the first of July 2023. I will be posting updates beginning of every month on the progress of my tinnitus notch therapy so feel free to follow this page for updates.



Where can I learn more about tinnitus notch therapy?


References:

  • dos Santos, Gisele Munhóes. "Signia Notch Therapy: A Novel Approach Clinically Proven to Reduce the Perception of Tonal Tinnitus."

  • Wang, Haiyan, et al. "The state of the art of sound therapy for subjective tinnitus in adults." Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease 11 (2020): 2040622320956426.

  • Marcrum, Steven C., et al. "Conventional versus notch filter amplification for the treatment of tinnitus in adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss." Progress in brain research 260 (2021): 235-252.



Updates:

August 2023 - I didn't feel much difference in the level of tinnitus I feel. However, I have to say that the feature of directional zooming on Rexton hearing aids is impressive. I tried zooming forward in a busy pub, coffee shop and restaurant and it definitely helped me hear better in a crowded and noisy space.

September 2023 - I am yet to feel a noticeable change in the intensity of the tinnitus. Nothing to report.

October 2023 - I didn't feel a tangible reduction in my tinnitus in October.

November 2023 - Since I didn't feel much reduction in my tinnitus I decided to change the approach and get back to managing my tinnitus. I set up 5 different tinnitus programs on my hearing aids that I could switch between through the rocker switch on the left side, and kept the right rocker switch to adjust the volume. Now I browse through the tinnitus programs when I feel tired (usually at the end of the day) to pick the best calming pre-set tinnitus noise (Pink noise works best for me).



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