A clinical study of tinnitus maskers.Br J Audiol. 1985 May; 19(2):65-146.BJ
This report describes a three-centre study of the effectiveness of tinnitus maskers, combination instruments (masker plus hearing aid), and hearing aids in the management of tinnitus. Some 472 patients entered the study with 382 reaching the first evaluation session after a minimum period of 6 months from fitting, and 206 reaching the second evaluation not less than 6 months after the first. The study included two control groups, by which to assess the comparative benefit to be derived solely from the investigation and counselling of such patients. The principal results were as follows: thorough investigation and careful counselling do much to help the patient; much further benefit is given by tinnitus masking instruments of various kinds; maskers are more often effective than hearing aids, although the latter are frequently the most appropriate first treatment of those patients who have substantial (but not yet treated or insufficiently treated) hearing difficulties as well; there is no evidence of masking having any harmful effect on hearing. None of the audiometric or tinnitus tests currently employed can be regarded as predictive, either of tinnitus severity, or of the eventual outcome of masking therapy, however certain measurements may help as a guide to patient management.