Exploring innovative hearing aid techniques for tinnitus treatment

Mie Lærkegård Jørgensen

Currently no routine treatment exists for tinnitus patients, despite the fact that an estimated 10-15 % of the adult population suffer from the perception of phantom sounds. The difficulties in implementing a routine treatment, is in part due to large individual variabilities and in part due to the many tinnitus comorbidities seen in patients such as stress, insomnia and depression.

The current project investigates the use of sound therapy as a treatment for tinnitus. The aim is to develop improved methods for the management of tinnitus by means of combination hearing aids that provide both standard hearing aid and sound therapy. Certain forms of sound therapy have shown long-term improvements in tinnitus patients, but there are still large intra-individual variabilities in treatment outcomes. The project addresses this issue by investigating acute sound therapy induced changes in tinnitus-related distress using psycho- and electrophysiological markers. These acute changes will also be related to the long-term tinnitus improvement, which in the future will allow us to optimize the individual treatment parameters based on the acute response. Furthermore, it has been hypothesized that more advanced hearing aid processing approaches based on more complex features of the hearing profile, can be more successful in normalizing the cause of tinnitus. Therefore, it will be investigated whether these more complex hearing aid settings can provide long-term tinnitus improvements to patients, that otherwise don’t benefit from the treatment.  

To be completed in 2021
Supervisors: Torsten Dau (DTU), Petteri Hyvärinen (DTU), Sueli Caporali (Widex)

DTU Orbit

This project is supported by the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research project TIN-ACT (Tinnitus Assessment Causes Treatment) which aims to understand how basic neural mechanisms of tinnitus can be studied in animal models and human tinnitus patients, and how complementary research techniques can be used towards curing tinnitus.

Contact

Mie Lærkegård Jørgensen
PhD student
DTU Health Tech