The study, carried out by doctors at three hospitals and ENT clinics in Japan, looked at the effectiveness of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), which uses music with sounds resembling organ music or wind chimes. The music is predictable without being monotonous and is fractal - meaning that it follows a series of small patterns. According to the study, these patterns create a soothing effect for people with tinnitus.
“The cycle of the treatment with fractal music leads people to become conscious of the tinnitus first, and then conscious of the fractal music, which makes them feel relaxed, relieved and comfortable in the end,” says Dr. Yoshimasa Sekiya, one of the study’s lead investigators.
In the study, patients were given a sound therapy device, like a hearing aid, and asked to record their daily usage and report their satisfaction. The devices had broadband sound, fractal music, and standard amplification options. After six months of use, researchers found improvements in 92 percent of participants who used fractal music.
The study cites a case where a 70-year-old woman with severe hearing loss and tinnitus reported that she had reduced work performance, decreased appetite, and anxiety due to her tinnitus. She previously tried various tinnitus therapies at several clinics, but did not experience improvement. She was given a hearing aid/fractal tone combination device and counseling during the trial period and after only a month said her anxiety was reduced. “After three months, she was coping well with her tinnitus even without the device,” the study states.
Sekiya says he is surprised at how positively fractal music was received by study participants.
"At first I expected that people would become easily bored with the fractal music, but contrary to my expectation, most continue to choose and listen to the same music. Most of the people with tinnitus who had difficulty with traditional treatment have improved their tinnitus by using fractal music"
- DR. YOSHIMASA SEKIYA