Health & Technology

Emerging Technology that Will Help Tinnitus

 

There is no doubt that suffering from tinnitus can cause problems for people. By itself, tinnitus is very disturbing, and it makes it harder to hear what is going on around you. Not only that, but it also makes it extremely difficult to concentrate, to think, to sleep, and so much more.

By all means, tinnitus can be downright debilitating. The problem is that as of now, there is no real cure for tinnitus. However, this might all soon change for the better. There is a lot of new emerging technology that will help tinnitus, so let’s talk about this new tech right now.

Notch Therapy

One of the newest and most interesting emerging technologies which can help deal with tinnitus is notch therapy. This is a combination of new and old technology, as well as some new methods of treatment. The actual devices used here are not really new, but they are being used in a new way to help deal with tinnitus.

Notch therapy is increasingly being studied, and it is best used for tonal tinnitus, which is the constant perception of noise, usually a ringing or buzzing noise which does not have any outside origins.

People who suffer from tinnitus are often provided with hearing aids and undergo some kind of auditory and sound therapy to help deal with the condition. However, the problem here is that these types of therapy are still audible, or in other words, they combat the noise caused by tinnitus with other forms of noise.

Of course, for many people this is not really ideal because the whole point is to get rid of noise. This is where notch therapy comes into play.

Notch therapy is a little bit complicated to explain, but at its most basic form, it is the practice of using inaudible sound therapy that is used within hearing aids. Hearing aids worn by people who suffer from tinnitus emit a certain frequency which helps to counteract the noise caused by the tinnitus.

Professionals have to identify the pitch or frequency of the sound caused by the tinnitus, and they can then match the output frequency of the hearing aids to that same level, thus counteracting the noise heard by tinnitus sufferers.

Now, the really interesting thing here is that these new hearing aids emit the same frequency as the tinnitus noise heard by the patient. The treatment uses something called cortical lateral inhibition, which is a neural process of reducing the activity in the over-stimulated region of the brain that is causing the tinnitus.

What is also interesting is that notch therapy does not appear to affect hearing and speech comprehension, something which many other tinnitus treatments do not seem to manage.

At its most basic, notch therapy trains the brain to totally disregard the sound caused by tinnitus. By no means is this technology yet perfect, with one of the biggest challenges being to actually identity the pitch of the sound being heard by the tinnitus patient. However, this is one of the biggest emerging technologies that has very real potential to seriously help people suffering from tinnitus.

Levo System

The Levo System is also a relatively new technological development and promising treatment option for people suffering from tinnitus. This system is very similar to the notch therapy we discussed above, but there is one key difference. When it comes to the Levo System, the treatment takes place during the night as you sleep, whereas notch therapy is done mostly during the day when you are awake.

The emerging technology being used here is quite similar to be honest. The Levo System involves the same process of identifying the sound and frequency of the sound heard by tinnitus sufferers. The tinnitus victims are then provided with specialized hearing aids that mimic the sound heard as closely as possible.

In other words, these hearing aids output the same sound into your ears as the tinnitus causes you to hear. Of course, the Levo System works during the night, which many people probably find to be more convenient.

The idea here is that the brain is the most receptive to auditory input during the night when you are sleeping. The basic idea is to keep playing the same sound into your ears when you are sleeping as you hear during the day, the same sound caused by your tinnitus. The hope is that you can retrain your brain to completely ignore and block out the tinnitus noise during the day by having your brain grow totally accustomed to it during the night.

It is a very interesting approach no doubt, and it actually has some merit to it. Some people have mentioned how this could make it hard to sleep in the beginning, but the noise being played into your ears is the same as the one you would hear anyway, so it really should not make a huge difference in terms of getting sleep.

At any rate, this new process of getting your brain accustomed to the noise by playing it for you all night long so that you won’t hear it during the day is quite interesting. It is something that people who suffer from tinnitus should keep an eye on as it could just be the next big tinnitus treatment option.

Keep in mind that the Levo System, is still a long way from being perfect, but in a couple years it might just be the best choice around. Once again, the main challenge is to identify the frequency and sound heard by the patient, in order to perfectly mimic it with the hearing aids/ear buds, but the technology is getting better by the day. Soon, this should not be a problem anymore.

Conclusion

While these new technologies for tinnitus treatment are still in the development and research phases, they do show some very promising signs indeed.

Of course, these are the technologies of today; who knows what might emerge in the next few years with enough research and development of the existing and new technologies?

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