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Int Tinnitus J. 2017 Dec 1;21(2):139-143. doi: 10.5935/0946-5448.20170026.

Effects of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy with Different Colours of Sound.

Author information

Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Pace, Milano, Italy.
Fondazione Ascolta e Vivi, Via Foppa Milano, Italy.
Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano, Italy.
Centre for Applied Audiology Research, Oticon A/S, Kongebakken, Smørum, Denmark.



In Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) sound stimulation is conventionally performed with low-level broadband sound generators; since the patient has to receive it for many hours in a day, it is important that the sound is tolerable and agreeable to the patient. A clinical trial was undertaken to evaluate the effect of different colour sound generators on tinnitus. The colour of a sound refers to the power spectrum of the signal. The sound generators used in this study provide the option to choose the preferred or most acceptable sound among white, red and pink noise.


Changes in Tinnitus Handicap Inventory and Numeric Rating Scales were measured in 20 patients after 3 and 6 months following the fitting of ear-level multi-colour sound generators. The outcomes were compared to a similar group of 20 participants receiving the same management except through conventional white noise sound generators. Significant improvements were obtained in both groups following 3 and 6 months after fitting. No significant difference was found between the two groups using one or the other type of sound. Two thirds of the patient preferred white noise, making it the most appealing amongst the options. The rest of the patients indicated red noise as the preferred sound given that it reminded them of soothing noises like shower or rainfall. No one chose pink noise.


TRT with different colour sound generators is effective in reducing the discomfort caused by tinnitus in normal hearing patients. Enabling the patients to choose their preferred sound after short trial periods achieved higher patient satisfaction. This practice could help tailor individualized treatment for each patient.


sound therapy; tinnitus; tinnitus retraining therapy; treatment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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