Masking has been widely used as a tinnitus therapy, with large individual differences in its effectiveness. The basis of this variation is unknown. We examined individual tinnitus and psychological responses to three masking types, energetic masking (bilateral broadband static or rain noise [BBN]), informational masking (BBN with a notch at tinnitus pitch and 3-dimensional cues) and a masker combining both effects (BBN with spatial cues). Eleven participants with chronic tinnitus were followed for 12 months, each person used each masking approach for 3 months with a 1 month washout-baseline. The Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI), Tinnitus Rating Scales, Positive and Negative Affect Scale and Depression Anxiety Stress Scales, were measured every month of treatment. Electroencephalography (EEG) and psychoacoustic assessment was undertaken at baseline and following 3 months of each masking sound. The computational modeling of EEG data was based on the framework of brain-inspired Spiking Neural Network (SNN) architecture called NeuCube, designed for this study for mapping, learning, visualizing and classifying of brain activity patterns. EEG was related to clinically significant change in the TFI using the SNN model. The SNN framework was able to predict sound therapy responders (93% accuracy) from non-responders (100% accuracy) using baseline EEG recordings. The combination of energetic and informational masking was an effective treatment sound in more individuals than the other sounds used. Although the findings are promising, they are preliminary and require confirmation in independent and larger samples.
- Spiking Neural Network