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Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 2006 Dec;(556):59-63.

Use of bedside sound generators by patients with tinnitus-related sleeping difficulty: which sounds are preferred and why?

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  • 1Audiology Department, St Mary's Hospital, London, UK.



Most tinnitus patients who have difficulty sleeping experience some improvement in sleep after short-term use of bedside sound generators (BSSGs), although this study does not allow conclusions to be drawn as to how much other factors contribute. Many patients seem to find BSSGs helpful in reducing autonomic arousal. Further research is needed, but these findings raise the possibility that the emotional effects of sound enrichment have an important role to play in improving sleep among tinnitus patients.


This study investigated which sounds out of the options available on BSSGs are commonly chosen by patients and the reasons behind these choices. It also aimed to provide an indication as to whether BSSGs improve sleep quality in the short term.


A consecutive series of 39 tinnitus clinic patients who made a subjective complaint of sleep disturbance took part in the study. All participants were given a Naturecare BSSG to use at night. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and a semi-structured interview were used as outcome measures.


Among the 35 participants who attended for follow-up there was a significant improvement in PSQI scores (p=0.001). 'Brook' and 'birds' were the most popular sounds, while 'white noise' proved the least popular. Most BSSG users listened to one sound only and most said that they chose their sound because of a pleasant emotional effect. A minority gave the quality of sound or its perceived effect on tinnitus as a reason for their choice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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