Many people around the world, especially those in the music industry, suffer from tinnitus or ringing in the ears. Tinnitus isn't a standalone medical condition or disease you can catch, but rather a symptom from conditions like hearing loss. While there are a variety of treatments out there, a simple cure that fixes the problem for everyone does not exist.
Ireland's Neuromod Devices has been testing a new device that hopes to help those experiencing the symptom. Interestingly enough, while loud electronic music can bring on tinnitus, the Irish researchers are using electronic music to help patients.
Their device—named Lenire—is a peripheral fitted with electrodes that the patient places on their tongue while listening to tones through headphones. The user will hear what sounds like ambient electronic music and white noise while using the device. During the audio exposure, the electrodes on the peripheral will provide electronic stimulation to the tongue and researchers say this combination can help treat the symptoms.
According to science news publication ScienceAlert, the device can "heighten the sensitivity of the brain, effectively crowding out the overactive parts of the brain that would otherwise cause tinnitus symptoms," and therefore will potentially provide relief to sufferers. They also go on to share results from the study, which revealed that a large majority of those using the device had the intensity of their symptoms reduced.
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"The combined treatment caused an improvement in symptoms for 86 percent of the participants, with an average drop of around 14 points on a tinnitus severity ranking scored from 1 to 100," according to ScienceAlert.
Tinnitus can be a tough condition to manage and can affect anyone. If you frequent concerts or nightclubs, it's wise to invest in a pair of high fidelity earplugs. They're oftentimes quite cheap and can do wonders to protect your hearing.
The full study has been published in the Science Translational Medicine medical journal. You can read its abstract or purchase the full text here.