Evaluating the efficacy of hearing aids for tinnitus therapy – A Positron emission tomography study

Patricia Simonetti, Carla Rachel Ono, Camila de Godoi Carneiro, Rafay Ali Khan, Somayeh Shahsavarani, Fatima T. Husain, Jeanne Oiticica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brain imaging studies have revealed neural changes in chronic tinnitus patients that are not restricted to auditory brain areas; rather, the engagement of limbic system structures, attention and memory networks are has been noted. Hearing aids (HA) provide compensation for comorbid hearing loss and may decrease tinnitus-related perception and annoyance. Using resting state positron emission tomography our goal was to analyze metabolic and functional brain changes after six months of effective HA use by patients with chronic tinnitus and associated sensorineural hearing loss. 33 age and hearing loss matched participants with mild/moderate hearing loss were enrolled in this study: 19 with tinnitus, and 14 without tinnitus. Participants with tinnitus of more than 6 months with moderate/severe Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores composed the tinnitus group. A full factorial 2X2 ANOVA was conducted for imaging analysis, with group (tinnitus and controls) and time point (pre-intervention and post-intervention) as factors. Six months after HA fitting, tinnitus scores reduced statistically and clinically. Analysis revealed increased glycolytic metabolism in the left orbitofrontal cortex, right temporal lobe and right hippocampus, and reduced glycolytic metabolism in the left cerebellum and inferior parietal lobe within the tinnitus group. The hearing loss control group showed no significant metabolic changes in the analysis. Parsing out the contribution of tinnitus independent of hearing loss, allowed us to identify areas implicated in declines in tinnitus handicap as a result of the intervention. Brain regions implicated in the present study may be part of chronic tinnitus-specific network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number147728
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - Jan 15 2022


  • Bilateral sensorineural hearing loss
  • Hearing aids
  • Neuroimaging
  • Positron emission tomography imaging
  • Tinnitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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