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Logistic regression analysis of factors influencing the effectiveness of intensive sound masking therapy in patients with tinnitus
  1. Yuexin Cai1,2,
  2. Qian Zhou3,
  3. Haidi Yang1,2,
  4. Jiajia Jiang1,2,
  5. Fei Zhao4,5,
  6. Xiayin Huang1,2,
  7. Hanjie Mo1,2,
  8. Xiaoting Chen1,2,
  9. Hao Xiong1,2,
  10. Suijun Chen1,
  11. Xueyuan Zhang1,2,
  12. Yiqing Zheng1,2
  1. 1 Department of Otolaryngology, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
  2. 2 Institute of Hearing and Speech-Language Science, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
  3. 3 Clinical Research Center, The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
  4. 4 Department of Speech Language Therapy and Hearing Science, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, Wales, UK
  5. 5 Department of Hearing and Speech Science, Xinhua College, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Yiqing Zheng; yiqingzheng{at}


Objectives To investigate factors influencing the effectiveness of intensive sound masking therapy on tinnitus using logistic regression analysis.

Design The study used a retrospective cross-section analysis.

Participants 102 patients with tinnitus were recruited at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, China.

Intervention Intensive sound masking therapy was used as an intervention approach for patients with tinnitus.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Participants underwent audiological investigations and tinnitus pitch and loudness matching measurements, followed by intensive sound masking therapy. The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) was used as the outcome measure pre and post treatment. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to investigate the association of demographic and audiological factors with effective therapy.

Results According to the THI score changes pre and post sound masking intervention, 51 participants were categorised into an effective group, the remaining 51 participants were placed in a non-effective group. Those in the effective group were significantly younger than those in the non-effective group (P=0.012). Significantly more participants had flat audiogram configurations in the effective group (P=0.04). Multivariable logistic regression analysis showed that age (OR=0.96, 95% CI 0.93 to 0.99, P=0.007), audiometric configuration (P=0.027) and THI score pre treatment (OR=1.04, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.07, P<0.001) were significantly associated with therapeutic effectiveness. Further analysis showed that patients with flat audiometric configurations were 5.45 times more likely to respond to intervention than those with high-frequency steeply sloping audiograms (OR=5.45, 95% CI 1.67 to 17.86, P=0.005).

Conclusion Audiometric configuration, age and THI scores appear to be predictive of the effectiveness of sound masking treatment. Gender, tinnitus characteristics and hearing threshold measures do not seem to be related to treatment effectiveness. A further randomised control study is needed to provide evidence of the effectiveness of prognostic factors in tinnitus interventions.

  • sound masking
  • tinnitus
  • audiometric configuration
  • prognostic factors

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  • YC and QZ contributed equally.

  • Contributors YXC and YQZ contributed to the study design. HDY, JJJ, XYH and XYZ collected the data. QZ and HDY designed the plan of analysis. QZ, HX and SJC performed the final analyses. YXC, FZ, HJM and XTC drafted the manuscript and interpreted the results. All authors made substantive editorial contributions at all stages of manuscript preparation.

  • Funding This work was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81600808 and 81570935), Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (Grant No. 2016A030313318 and 2015A030310134) and National University Student Innovation Training Scheme (Grant No. 201601133).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics committee of Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Extra data can be accessed via the Dryad data repository at with the doi:10.5061/dryad.6c1s4.