Tinnitus and sound therapy | British Tinnitus Association

Name of treatment

Sound therapy (sound enrichment)

Type of treatment Physical intervention/device
Claims for treatment Reduces the perception of tinnitus. This may be via reducing intrusiveness, aiding habituation, distracting attention or triggering neuroplasticity within the brain.
How treatment is delivered Via device (either hearing aid, sound generator or combination hearing aid) – treatment patterns vary as to number of sessions, duration of sessions and to type of sound used.
Potential negative consequences Adverse effects were not assessed in the clinical trials included in the Cochrane review but none were reported.1

Evidence offered:

Papers available

8 (as in Cochrane review)[1]

Conclusions drawn

‘… we did not find evidence to support or refute the provision of sound therapy as the primary intervention for people with tinnitus. We did not find evidence to suggest that one type of sound therapy device (i.e. hearing aid, sound generator or combination hearing aid) is better than others.’1

Quality of evidence[2]


Does the BTA recommend this treatment?

Current tinnitus management guidelines do not make strong recommendations regarding use of sound therapy, and patient preferences should play a part in the choice of this management option.

BTA opinion on this treatment:

There is very limited evidence to support the use of sound therapy, but some patients may find it useful, especially for acute tinnitus relief.

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment?

Yes. Studies would need to be of the highest quality with rigorous methodology

Verdict: Safety – is this treatment harmful?


Regarded as safe

Verdict: Efficacy – does this treatment work?


No evidence of an effect

[1] Sereda M, Xia  J, El Refaie  A, Hall  DA, Hoare  DJ. Sound therapy (using amplification devices and/or sound generators) for tinnitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD013094. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD013094.pub2…

[2] A = Systematic review/meta analysis. B = Randomised control studies. C = Cohort studies. D = Case control studies. E = case studies/reports. +/- to be used to indicate quality within bands

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Updated 15 April 2019

Information currently under review April 2022

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