"We want to understand how people cope with tinnitus”

Brain imaging

Read here your new AWN print special issue (free flipbook)

ENT World Congress Audiology Worldnews special

Get the latest news of the profession: sign up for our newsletter!

Audiology Worldnews newsletter

Market forecast for hearing implants: 2015-2025

Cochlear Implants Market Forecast

Interested in Audiology-related events?

Audiology Worldnews agenda

TINNET as the next step in tinnitus research: Towards evidence-based medicine

The Tinnitus Research Initiative (TRI) has come a long way to bring tinnitus research from several scientific fields together. The European funded TINNET, 'Better Understanding the Heterogeneity of Tinnitus to Improve and Develop New Treatments', can be regarded as the next step. It aims at coordination and standardization in tinnitus research and the enlargement of an already existing database with results from clinical trials. This should lead to a statistically relevant basis for tinnitus research. It promises the opportunity of standardized processes to enable tailor-made assessment for individual patients.

“At the start of the TRI in 2006 as a private initiative, there was only little tinnitus research compared to the number of people suffering from it. This research was isolated and results remained within the separated domains of ENT, audiology, psychology, psychiatry, and etcetera”, Dr. Berthold Langguth, head of the tinnitus center of Regensburg University concludes. TRI had the vision to bring disciplines together and to share results and insights. “Back then”, Langguth remembers, “the general assumption and conclusion were: 'Tinnitus cannot be cured, so learn to live with it'. The people involved in TRI, however, shared the belief that tinnitus should be treatable in principle – for instance with brain stimulation– although this treatment nor any other treatment was not proven yet. Their motto was and still is: 'Together for a cure'.” Since then, a lot has been achieved. For many patients, the suffering from tinnitus has been reduced.

Evidence base

“But tinnitus still is a very heterogeneous illness. It is difficult to treat”, says Langguth, “treatment is for a large part still mainly pioneering, the domain of pilot studies.” As yet, there are no clearly evidence based treatment methods except cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – which comes in several forms. Langguth: “But this doesn't affect the tinnitus percept itself, CBT has the goal to facilitate coping with it. While this provides important relief in many cases, it is not yet the solution for every patient suffering from tinnitus. Apart from that, there are many, many approaches with different rationales. Hearing loss compensation, optionally combined with forms of auditory stimulation, is widely accepted, but large controlled studies demonstrating the efficacy of these approaches are needed. Various innovative forms of individualized auditory stimulation offer sounds or music in frequency areas in the neighborhood of the tinnitus frequency. These forms of individualized auditory stimulation can interact with the neuronal mechanisms that generate tinnitus and have shown promising results in pilot studies.” But there is still a lot unclear, Langguth emphasizes: “How large are the clinical effects? Which variant works best with which type(s) of patients? What can we expect from pharmacological treatment or magnetic and electric brain stimulation? Before these newly developed treatments can be implemented in clinical routine, a conclusive statistical basis from large studies would be needed.”

New knowledge

The TINNET initiative was initiated to change this. It has now been approved by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Committee of Senior Officials, thus ensuring European funding. “With that, we get the opportunity to lift tinnitus research to the next level. We still largely depend on the outcomes of isolated trials with a couple of dozens of heterogeneous patients, which causes results to partly depend on group configuration. When data from similar trials from dozens of centers or more can henceforth be introduced in the database, this opens a lot of opportunities.” Once detailed data from many persons is gathered, it will allow us to derive new knowledge, says Langguth: “We could understand in more detail what forms of tinnitus do exist and what the differences between the various forms are. The goal would be to create a data-based expert system, which would provide guidance of which treatment has the best chances for success in a given patient: So hopefully in some years, we can ask the database what would be the recommendation for a 56 years old male, who suffers from a tonal tinnitus since a noise trauma two years ago, and the database would tell us, that a combination of drug X and auditory stimulation Y is the most promising first-line treatment for this individual.”

Dr. Berthold Langguth held a speech on the TINNET initiative during the 8th TRI international Conference from 10-13 March in Auckland, New Zealand. COST invites tinnitus researchers from as many European countries as possible to participate in the project.

Leendert van der Ent


Photo: Lasse Designen - Fotolia
Cognitive hearing aids to filter out noise
Cognitive hearing aids to filter out noise

© Itestro

Future trends

Researchers from Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science, New York (USA), have used deep neural network models to study auditory attention decoding methods and have come closer to making cognitively controlled hearing aids a reality.

Dentists suffer long-term hearing problems in high frequencies
Dentists suffer long-term hearing problems in high frequencies

Working conditions

Carlos Gejo and Sylvester Feijoo (Photo: Otometrics).

Dental professionals suffer long-term hearing problems, according to a thesis sponsored by Otometrics on "Hearing loss in dentists"

20th Oticon Audiology Summer Camp
20th Oticon Audiology Summer Camp

Training

This year, the Oticon Audiology Summer Camp celebrates 20 years of providing graduate students in audiology with a unique opportunity to gain relevant, practical professional world knowledge and insights.

Bone conduction devices market expected to grow
Bone conduction devices market expected to grow

© Andrés Rodriguez

BAHS

RnR Market Research has released a new market research and competitive analysis report on the global bone conduction devices market which it reports is expected to grow at an annual rate of 14.23%.

Dr. Héctor Ruiz: “Implant indications on the increase”
Dr. Héctor Ruiz: “Implant indications on the increase”

Associations

"Undoubtedly, one of the best ever fusions has been that of hearing aid technology with implants, because they complement each other" © K.H.M.

Cochlear implants have made a tremendous contribution since they were brought in for the only sense-related organ that can be replaced. This has proved a major revolution.

In vivo manipulation of inner ear gene expression in mice
In vivo manipulation of inner ear gene expression in mice

C. Luchschen

Genetics

An international team of researchers from several institutes and universities, led by a group at the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine, Foundation for Advanced Biomedical Research in Padua, Italy, recently published findings of their study to control gene expression in mice in vivo using viral vectors.

Company Directory

New products

VANISH brings new color blending process to BTE or RICVANISH brings new color blending process to BTE or RIC

Every behind-the-ear hearing aid manufactured in the world today has a bright and shiny plastic hearing aid tube.  [ ... ]

Oticon Opn upgraded with customizable tinnitus supportOticon Opn upgraded with customizable tinnitus support

© Oticon Opn

With the launch of Tinnitus SoundSupport™ Oticon has announced a significant upgrade to the Oticon Opn family. [ ... ]

New EXPRESSfit® Pro Fine-tunes Fittings on Sonic SoundDNA PlatformNew EXPRESSfit® Pro Fine-tunes Fittings on Sonic SoundDNA Platform

New EXPRESSfit® Pro is an easy-to-use, robust system with all the tools needed to fine-tune settings on the Sonic SoundDNA platform.  [ ... ]