A series of case studies of tinnitus suppression with mixed background stimuli in a cochlear implant

Richard S. Tyler*, A. J. Keiner, Kurt Walker, Aniruddha K. Deshpande, Shelley Witt, Matthijs Killian, Helena Ji, Jim Patrick, Norbert Dillier, Pim Van Dijk, Wai Kong Lai, Marlan R. Hansen, Bruce Gantz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Background sounds provided by a wearable sound playback device were mixed with the acoustical input picked up by a cochlear implant speech processor in an attempt to suppress tinnitus. Method: First, patients were allowed to listen to several sounds and to select up to 4 sounds that they thought might be effective. These stimuli were programmed to loop continuously in the wearable playback device. Second, subjects were instructed to use 1 background sound each day on the wearable device, and they sequenced the selected background sounds during a 28-day trial. Patients were instructed to go to a website at the end of each day and rate the loudness and annoyance of the tinnitus as well as the acceptability of the background sound. Patients completed the Tinnitus Primary Function Questionnaire (Tyler, Stocking, Secor, & Slattery, 2014) at the beginning of the trial. Results: Results indicated that background sounds were very effective at suppressing tinnitus. There was considerable variability in sounds preferred by the subjects. Conclusion: The study shows that a background sound mixed with the microphone input can be effective for suppressing tinnitus during daily use of the sound processor in selected cochlear implant users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-410
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Audiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


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