Acoustic Therapies for Tinnitus Treatment: An EEG Database
Tecnologico de Monterrey School of Engineering and Sciences Neuroengineering and Neuroacoustics Research Group Context: Refractory and chronic tinnitus is a disease where the affected patient tends to feel phantom sounds in a bilateral or unilateral way. This uncontrolled buzz affects the quality life of patients in both directions: personal and professional. It does not exist yet a cure towards this condition; however, different types of treatment have been tested. In this research, five different acoustic therapies were tested in order to determine how effective this sound-based treatment is to reduce the tinnitus perception. Objective: To determine the effectiveness of five different therapies: (1) relaxing music as placebo, (2) tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), (3) therapy for enriched acoustic environment (TEAE), (4) binaural beats therapy (TBB), and (5) auditory discrimination therapy (ADT) for reducing the tinnitus perception in patients suffering from refractory and chronic tinnitus by analyzing their electroencephalographic (EEG) activity. Main Outcome Measure: The main outcome measure in this research was the monitoring of EEG signals of each acoustic therapy in each patient at the beginning of the experiment, during the process of the experiment and at the end of the experiment in order to analyze the treatment effect on tinnitus. Additionally, perception, stress and anxiety levels were also monitored (note that this information is provided as an Excel-file). The whole process took 8 weeks to be completed in each case. Limitations: The bigger limitation beneath the research was the lack of a guarantee towards the correct application of the acoustic therapy, mainly because the recruited participants would receive the daily therapy session at their home places without any professional taking care of the proper usage. One way to intend a reduction of the risk towards a mistaken application of the acoustic therapy was to recruit patients with a commitment over the experiment. This selection of patients was developed thanks to a previous filtering process undertaken in the National Institute of Rehabilitation. Also, it is important to mention that the patients that became our participants must sign a compromise statement under the acceptance that they agree to be part of the analysis and program. Another limitation that became part of the experimental process was that in this case we had only used 17 out of the 19 electrodes of the 10/20 system, so the limitation was over the number of EEG channels. However, we consider that the estimation of EEG measures is still feasible and reliable invariably the number of electrodes. Generalizability: As most of experimental studies, the present one consisted of a no random sample with a random assignment. Namely, the results of this study can be causal but not generalizable. Funding: The present study attracted L’Oréal-UNESCO-CONACYT-AMC Organization as a sponsor on October 16th, 2017.
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Design, Setting, Participants: Volunteers were patients coming from the National Institute of Rehabilitation (NIR) where they were receiving homeopathic therapy in order to treat their tinnitus condition, with no effective results. The test was conducted with 89 patients who were semi-randomly grouped into five different acoustic therapies: (1) Placebo, (2) TRT, (3) TEAE, (4) TBB, and (5) ADT. Trials took place at Tecnologico de Monterrey, Campi Monterrey and Mexico City. In addition, 14 healthy volunteers were recruited as a control group, who followed the same procedure as the music group. In total, the database provides EEG recordings of 103 participants. Interventions: The acoustic therapies were applied on a daily basis during a period of 8 weeks, and patients received the treatment at their homes using the reproduction device of their preference. During week 1, week 5 and week 8, patients attended a follow-up treatment where they responded to the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) questionnaires, and an Electroencephalographic (EEG) evaluation was undertaken as well. EEG recordings were taken at four different conditions: (1) rest, (2) listening to the acoustic therapy, (3) auditory stimulation based on the acoustic therapy (passive mode), and (4) identification of common auditory stimuli, e.g., cell phone ringing (active mode). The data is available as .set (with its .fdt) and .gdf; the Matlab package, EEGlab, can open both formats after unzipping.