This article is from the Tinnitus FAQ, by firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Bixby) with numerous contributions by others.
Sound therapy originates from the work of Dr. Alfred Tomatis. The
following is quoted from a flyer entitled "Tinnitus, Vertigo, and
Sound Therapy", published by Sound Therapy Australia, P.O. Box E237,
St. James, N.S.W. 2000 (this organization sells books and cassette
tapes for this therapy):
How can Sound Therapy help?
The middle ear contains two tiny muscles, tensor tympani and
stapedius, which play an active role in the functioning of
the ear. Lack of tone in these muscles means that the ear
loses its ability to recognise certain frequencies of sound,
so these sounds never reach the inner ear. The ear's ability
to adjust and balance the fluid pressure in the inner
chambers is also impeded if the stapedius muscle is not
The electronic ear used in the recording of Sound Therapy
challenges the ear with constantly alternating sounds of
high and low tone. At the same time, low frequency sounds
are progressively removed from the music so the ear is
introduced to higher and higher frequencies. The result is a
complete rehabilitation of the ear, improving the tone and
responsiveness of the middle ear muscles. Once the ear is
able to recognise and admit high frequency sounds to the
inner ear, this creates the opportunity for the sensory
cells in the inner ear to be stimulated and restored to
their upright, receptive position.
Dr. Tomatis has proposed that Menieres vertigo which
produces attacks of dizziness is also due to an anomaly in
the tension of the stirrup muscle. This muscle may be
subject to involuntary twitches, like any other muscle in
the body. Such twitching would radically alter the fluid
pressure in the inner ear chambers, thus causing havoc with
the balance mechanism. The re-toning of the stirrup muscle
achieved by Sound Therapy frequently resolves this
Does it really work?
The length of time it takes to achieve results varies from
twenty four hours to fourteen months. Usually more severe
cases take longer, so it is advisable to persist with the
therapy for at least six months.
The initial results of a listener survey conducted by Sound
Therapy Australia [Ed. note: not exactly unbiased] indicate
that 96% of tinnitus sufferers who perservered with the
listening felt they benefited from the therapy. Of these,
20% said the tinnitus stopped completely, and 36%
experienced a reduction in the sound. The other 44%
experienced other benefits such as improved sleep and
reduced stress, which made the tinnitus easier to bear.