A new publication: The Prevalence of Tinnitus and Efficacy of Treatments (November, 2011 HR) This study was co-authored by Dr. Richard Tyler (University of Iowa) and Jennifer Born (American Tinnitus Association). The key findings are as follows:
Prevalence: Approximately 10% of the population have persistent tinnitus while 50% of people with hearing loss experience tinnitus. We found people who reported they have tinnitus but they were not aware of their hearing loss; it is generally recognized that most people with tinnitus have hearing loss. Thus, the hearing loss population is much larger than previously thought.
Efficacy of treatments: In assessing the efficacy of nine treatments no one method was tried by more than 7% of people with tinnitus. The most effective methods for mitigating tinnitus were (median mitigation): hearing aids (34%), music (30%), and relaxation techniques (10%).
Impact of hearing aids: In directly querying hearing aid users on the impact of their hearing aids on tinnitus 46% reported mild to moderate mitigation of their tinnitus with hearing aids, 3 out of 10 report moderate-substantial relief; 67% of those who use hearing aids and report mitigation of tinnitus indicated that their tinnitus was lessened “most of the time” to “all of the time” and 3 out of 10 reported their tinnitus was completely mitigated while wearing their hearing aid and a small minority (3.4%) even when they took their hearing aid off.
Best practices: hearing healthcare professionals with “best practices” in fitting hearing aids can nearly double the rate of efficacy of hearing aids in mitigating the effects of tinnitus.