Another Paper from the Pioneers of Notched Music Therapy for Tinnitus
The original discoverers of Notched Music therapy have released another paper that provides an excellent theoretical overview of the conceptual underpinnings of the therapy. Rather than rehash what the authors have already done a great job of writing about, I’ll post the abstract below:
Over the past 15 years, we have studied plasticity in the human auditory cortex by means
of magnetoencephalography (MEG). Two main topics nurtured our curiosity: the effects of
musical training on plasticity in the auditory system, and the effects of lateral inhibition.
One of our plasticity studies found that listening to notched music for 3 h inhibited the
neuronal activity in the auditory cortex that corresponded to the center-frequency of
the notch, suggesting suppression of neural activity by lateral inhibition. Subsequent
research on this topic found that suppression was notably dependent upon the notch width
employed, that the lower notch-edge induced stronger attenuation of neural activity than
the higher notch-edge, and that auditory focused attention strengthened the inhibitory
networks. Crucially, the overall effects of lateral inhibition on human auditory cortical
activity were stronger than the habituation effects. Based on these results we developed a
novel treatment strategy for tonal tinnitus—tailor-made notched music training (TMNMT).
By notching the music energy spectrum around the individual tinnitus frequency, we
intended to attract lateral inhibition to auditory neurons involved in tinnitus perception.
So far, the training strategy has been evaluated in two studies. The results of the initial
long-term controlled study (12 months) supported the validity of the treatment concept:
subjective tinnitus loudness and annoyance were signiﬁcantly reduced after TMNMT
but not when notching spared the tinnitus frequencies. Correspondingly, tinnitus-related
auditory evoked ﬁelds (AEFs) were signiﬁcantly reduced after training. The subsequent
short-term (5 days) training study indicated that training was more effective in the case
of tinnitus frequencies ≤8 kHz compared to tinnitus frequencies >8 kHz, and that training
should be employed over a long-term in order to induce more persistent effects. Further
development and evaluation of TMNMT therapy are planned. A goal is to transfer this
novel, completely non-invasive and low-cost treatment approach for tonal tinnitus into
routine clinical practice.