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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 13, 2005

UI Audiologist Leads Largest Clinical Trial Of Tinnitus Treatment

Researchers in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine are investigating the effectiveness of treatments for tinnitus, commonly referred to as ringing in the ears.

The study, led by Richard Tyler, Ph.D., professor of otolaryngology and speech pathology and audiology, is the largest clinical trial for tinnitus ever funded by the government and is supported by a five-year, $1.7 million grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The UI researchers are comparing different versions of treatments that have been reported to help 80 percent of those with tinnitus. The study examines the effectiveness of approaches that combine low-level background sounds, including music, with a new, extensive counseling protocol.

The low-level background sound decreases the prominence of the tinnitus, but is not too loud to be annoying. The counseling is designed to help with concentration, hearing and sleep problems caused by the ringing.

Tinnitus affects about one in every 100 people and there is no cure for the disorder, so knowing the most effective treatment is very important. The results of the UI study will help people with tinnitus and audiologists and physicians who treat them.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, (319) 335-9917