Epidemiology studies estimate that 10 to 15 percent of the adult population experiences chronic tinnitus.1 For the people that seek help for their tinnitus, hearing aids have long been considered an effective option for providing relief from tinnitus and it has been shown that tinnitus annoyance can be reduced when appropriate amplification is applied to any underlying hearing loss. However we also see that daily wear hearing aids are only worn on average for around 9 hours a day. So what happens for those with tinnitus for the other 15 hours?
Lyric is an extended wear hearing aid and remains the only hearing aid on the market designed to be worn 24 hours a day for months at time. But, does wearing a hearing aid continuously (24 hours a day) provide real benefits for those who suffer from tinnitus?
Lyric proven to be an effective option for tinnitus
Back in 2016, a study comparing Lyric to a daily wear hearing aid and a daily wear hearing aid with an active noise generator showed that Lyric was comparable to the daily wear options in the ability to improve the negative response (e.g., physical complaints, emotional distress) associated with tinnitus.2 In this study, the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) was used to evaluate the effectiveness of each as a tinnitus intervention. For Lyric, there was at least a 13 point reduction in the TFI score in 82% of the participants. For daily wear hearing aids, this was seen for 67% of participants and 79% of participants wearing the daily wear hearing aid plus noise generator.
The average improvement in the TFI score for Lyric was 31 points compared to 21 points for the daily wear group and 33 points for the daily wear plus noise generator.
Lyric wearers – quicker to benefit and a better night’s sleep
In 2017, a study conducted at the University of Melbourne looked specifically at the 24/7 benefits of the Lyric hearing aid for people with tinnitus compared to daily wear hearing aids.3 The hypothesis or thinking behind this was that the more consistently an amplified signal is applied to the auditory pathway, the more ‘normal’ this input is judged by the auditory pathway and the faster the rehabilitative effects of the amplification are on the hearing loss. This same benefit could potentially apply to the effects of amplification on tinnitus, in that the more hours a hearing aid is worn the greater the benefit of reduction on the user’s tinnitus. The study measured the TFI score reduction and the Sleep Quality Scale (SQS).
The results of the study showed that with Lyric a greater reduction in tinnitus severity was seen at one month compared to the daily wear group, which was both clinically and statistically significant. By 3 months those wearing daily wear hearing aids also showed a clinically significant reduction in TFI scores.
For the SQS, sleep disturbance did not reach statistical significance when the Lyric group was compared with the daily wear group. However, the results did show that the Lyric group displayed a greater (non-significant) reduction in sleep disturbance. This suggests Lyric is able to improve sleep quality for people with tinnitus.
From both of these studies the conclusion is that Lyric is a valid amplification option to be considered as part of a tinnitus management program. It also shows that the ability to wear Lyric 24 hours a day provides additional benefits, in that people will experience a significant reduction in the annoyance of their tinnitus faster with Lyric and possibly a better night’s sleep!
To find out more about Lyric benefits, please visit the Phonak Evidence page.
1Hoffman, H. and Reed, G. (2004) Epidemiology of tinnitus. In: Tinnitus: Theory and Management. Lewiston, NY: BC Decker Inc., 16–41.
2Henry, J. et al. (2016). Randomized control trial: Extended wear vs conventional vs combination devices for tinnitus. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. 00:1-16
3Power, D. (2018). Is Lyric an effective option for tinnitus? Investigating the benefits of a hearing aid that can be worn 24/7. Submitted for peer review publication.