Auditory games for tinnitus benefit: interactive versus reactive auditory discrimination games

Chief investigator

Professor Deborah Hall

Study team

Dr Derek Hoare

Professor Mike Sharples (Open University),
Dr Nicholas Van Labeke (University of Nottingham)

Funder

NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU programme

Study period

2011-2012

Recent advances in the understanding of changes in the hearing brain and their relation to tinnitus perception has led to a focus on forms of active auditory training that might provide effective techniques for tinnitus management. Our recently published trial of auditory training provided evidence that training using sounds where there is no hearing loss beneficially reduces tinnitus intrusiveness more effectively than training where there is some level of hearing loss. Our next challenge was to build on this finding in ways that might maximise the benefits we observe.


The training software we first used previously (STAR2) was developed for use with children (Barry et al., 2010). Adult participants have given mixed reviews of this software. While some enjoyed the training, others found it too monotonous and unmotivating. In this follow-up study therefore we explored the impact of different game mechanics for use in auditory training and have designed two different interactive games for training for tinnitus benefit (submarine and treasure hunter). These games will deliver the same type of auditory training as STAR2, but should be more intrinsically motivating. This may have additional benefit for tinnitus.  This project is now complete and published.

The registered study protocol: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/results/NCT02095262

The published study findings: Hoare et al, 2014

"I think the benefits are that I have more understanding of the condition. I feel more in control of it. I think that at least there is some research happening that may have a positive effect for myself and others in the future."

Gail A participant