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Br J Audiol. 1987 Feb;21(1):37-44.

Treatment of tinnitus: a controlled comparison of masking and placebo.


Seventeen out of 21 patients with severe tinnitus rated their tinnitus intensity during a baseline period, during treatment with a portable masker, and during a period with a comparable placebo apparatus. Group analyses showed no significant differences between any of the three periods. Seven patients showed significantly reduced tinnitus intensity ratings during the masker period; five of them also did so during the placebo treatment. After each of the treatment periods, the 21 patients answered a questionnaire about specific (tinnitus related) and general beneficial effects experienced during treatment. Specific, but not general, effects were more pronounced during masker than during placebo treatment. In conclusion, masker treatment is not unequivocally superior to placebo; there is some evidence, however, for the placebo treatment effects to be more 'nonspecific' than effects observed during masker treatment.

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