Music therapy for tinnitus relieves symptoms

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Treat tinnitus with music therapy. The German Center for Music Therapy Research draws a positive balance: In around 80 percent of patients, noticeably annoying ear tones and noise were reduced.

Many people suffer from a loud monotonous whistle or constant noise in the ear. Especially when it is otherwise calm and quiet, tinnitus patients hear the subjectively experienced disturbing noises. There is still no uniform therapy, because the actual reasons for this nerve-wracking delusion have not yet been fully clarified. A study by the German Center for Music Therapy Research (DZM) shows that, for example, music therapy can help alleviate symptoms.

80 percent treatment success of music therapy

Over time, many people learn to come to terms with the ringing in the ears. One goal is to virtually ignore the noises. For some years now, patients with chronic tinnitus have been treated with the Heidelberg music therapy manua. Within five days, patients learn various active options in the form of continuous compact therapy to actively influence the sounds. According to the Center for Music Therapy Research, about 80 percent of the participants achieved a significant relief from symptoms using this method. Some even reported that the sounds in the ear disappeared 100 percent after the therapy.

A total of 189 former music therapy participants were interviewed for the evaluation of the data, whose therapy time was about three years ago. For the survey, all study participants received a questionnaire that was already part of the compact therapy week. Around 50 percent of the former patients took part in the survey.

After the evaluation, the researchers found an overall improvement in tinnitus symptoms. After about three years after the end of therapy, the symptoms decreased on average by 20 percent. If those affected were affected by severe and chronic ringing in the ears, the symptoms reduced by 12 percent based on severity. If the severity was less pronounced, the complaint improvement was about 20 percent.

Course of tinnitus music therapy
During music therapy, the sounds and noises in the ear are picked up and processed musically. The tones are adapted to the sequences of the tinnitus tone according to the concept. This creates a controllable hearing process for the patient. At the beginning of the treatment program, an individual, similar sound or noise is produced for each participant with the help of a synthesizer. This tone is then used actively or receptively musically. Through various exercises, those affected are able to control the disturbing tone in order to regulate it cognitively. In addition, targeted acoustic stimulations reactivate brain areas positively. If successful, this method leads to a normalization of the changed regions in the brain.

Almost 20 percent of Germans are affected

More than a million people in Germany are considered patients in need of treatment. However, far more people suffer from tinnitus noises without going into therapy. Estimates assume that around 10 to 20 percent of the German population suffer from chronic tinnitus. Almost half of all Germans (40 percent) have noticed ear noises before. Two thirds of all people over the age of 50 complain of sustained subjectively experienced tones or are affected from time to time. Typically, suffering usually begins at this age. Women and men are equally affected. According to some studies, many researchers believe that tinnitus has increased significantly in western industrialized nations in recent years. For this reason, some scientists already speak of a real "widespread disease". It is still controversial whether a total of more patients see an ear, nose and throat doctor because of ear tones, or whether the number of people affected has actually increased.

Causes of tinnitus
Many researchers assume that the ever faster moving society with its ever increasing demands in private and professional life can be a co-trigger for the syndrome. Over the course of the day, people are exposed to ever louder sounds, stress and pressure to perform. If the organism comes to rest, it is difficult for many to process the numerous noise disturbances and information. There are typical noises in the ear. In this context, doctors also repeatedly point out that tinnitus cannot be considered apart from basic causes, which is why tinnitus is not counted as an independent disease. For this reason, an overall picture of the patient must always be created for sensible therapy.

In addition to the psychological components, organic underlying diseases and infections are also possible. Possible causes can be, for example, bacterial or viral infections of the middle ear, middle ear diseases with impaired sound transmission or a previous hearing loss. If there is a chronic tinnitus, those affected suffer severe impairments in everyday life. This, in turn, can lead to further complications such as depression, which feed on sleep disorders, phobias and impairments of general attention. (sb)

Also read:
New tinnitus therapy developed
Psychotherapy to treat tinnitus

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