Protocol for a multi-centre randomised controlled stand-alone feasibility trial to assess potential effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of digital hearing aids in patients with tinnitus and hearing loss (the HUSH trial)

Rachel H. Haines, Jennifer White, Garry Meakin, Wei Tan, Trish Hepburn, Paul Leighton, Chloi Theriou, David Stockdale, Christine Almey, Richard Nicholson, Deborah A. Hall, Magdalena Sereda*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: The most common management strategy for tinnitus provided in the UK audiology clinics is education and advice. This may also be combined with some form of sound therapy (e.g. digital hearing aids). While education and advice is generally provided by all clinics, there is a marked variability in provision of hearing aids that depends very much on clinical decisions. A recent Cochrane review concluded a lack of evidence to support or refute hearing aid use as a routine intervention for people with tinnitus and hearing loss. This lack of evidence is reflected in the inconsistency of tinnitus management in the UK. The aim of the HUSH trial is to determine the feasibility of conducting a definitive randomised controlled trial (RCT) of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of hearing aids for adults with tinnitus and hearing loss. Methods: This is a multicentre randomised controlled feasibility trial. Up to 100 adults, aged 18 and over, presenting to 5 UK audiology clinics with a complaint of tinnitus and measurable hearing loss are being randomised to receive either (i) education and advice (treatment as usual) or (ii) education and advice with digital hearing aids. Feasibility outcomes are being collected around recruitment, retention, patient and healthcare professional acceptability and clinical outcome assessment. Outcomes are being collected via postal questionnaire at 12 weeks post baseline. A nested interview study will supplement clinical and other outcome data, providing a detailed understanding of participants' and audiologists' experience of both tinnitus management and the research processes. Discussion: This feasibility trial will help us to (i) determine if it is feasible to conduct a multicentre RCT comparing treatment as usual and treatment as usual plus digital hearing aids; (ii) optimise the design of a future definitive, multicentre RCT; and (iii) inform which outcome(s) is/are relevant for patients. This work presents an important first step in determining the effectiveness of hearing aids as a tinnitus management strategy. Trial registration: ISRCTN, ISRCTN14218416. Registered on 30 July 2018.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number41
    JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
    Volume6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2020

    Keywords

    • Feasibility
    • Hearing aids
    • Hearing loss
    • Outcomes
    • Protocol
    • Randomised controlled trial
    • Tinnitus

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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