New Technology Offers New Hope for Tinnitus
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that there are approximately 45 million people currently suffering from some form of tinnitus in this country, and that almost half of these cases are chronic in nature. Somewhere around two million of these individuals are forced to suffer through cases so extreme that they are debilitating and interfere with all aspects of life for the sufferers.
Tinnitus is commonly referred to as ‘ringing in the ears’, and it’s usually characterized by a ringing, buzzing, clicking, or whooshing sound, and all of these are sounds that only someone afflicted can hear. While there is no known cure at present for tinnitus, there are some promising new technological advances which can help to reduce or minimize the impact of tinnitus on someone afflicted by it.
Multi-flex Tinnitus Technology
This solution for tinnitus operates by generating a broadband white noise signal which plays right through a person’s hearing aid. Based on the type of hearing loss a patient has, as well as the degree of loss, the software is programmed to accommodate the patient’s circumstances.
If anything changes over time, the program can be modified either by the patient or by a professional, to match the new situation with the patient’s hearing. The customized sound treatment plan it generates will help to minimize the steady buzzing or clicking which the patient would otherwise hear.
The Levo System
The approach taken by this technology is to mimic whatever sounds a patient might hear as a result of their tinnitus. While sleeping at night, the patient listens to the sounds generated by the Levo System, because the brain is much more responsive during the hours of sleep to any kind of sensory input. After several months of treatment, the brain becomes accustomed to the sounds, and develops a tendency to ignore them.
That means whatever sounds a patient might hear as a result of tinnitus would also be ignored by the brain, because it has been conditioned to overlook them. When used in wide testing, patients taking advantage of the Levo System reported the biggest improvement in their tinnitus symptoms, and the greatest enjoyment of social activities, as well as real-life relationships.
All those indicators of quality of life were improved by patients who were treated with the technology provided by the Levo System.
There are several mobile applications which have been designed that can mask the sounds a tinnitus sufferer might be hearing. The mobile apps are used either in conjunction with hearing aids or conventional wireless earbuds. Here are some of the most popular mobile tinnitus sound therapy apps currently in use:
- Audio Cardio – this app provides sound therapy which is designed to stimulate the cells of your ear, thus strengthening your hearing.
- Beltone Tinnitus Calmer – provides a distraction for tinnitus sufferers by delivering sound therapy and relaxation exercises.
- MyNoise – uses a mixture of rain noise, white noise, and binaural beats to overcome tinnitus sounds.
- Relax Melodies – sounds and melodies selected by the user are used to help them sleep better at night.
- Relax Noise 3 – the buzzing or ringing sound you might hear from tinnitus is disguised by providing white noise, pink noise, or read noise.
- Tinnitus Therapy Lite – this uses customizable sounds as therapy, and as a sound-masking device, so that the effects of tinnitus are not so apparent.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
During the past five years, a significant number of digitized treatments have been developed which would ordinarily have been administered by a professional therapist or a doctor in years past. Some of these digitized treatments are delivered through mobile apps which you can access from your smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device. Many of these treatments are fairly well established and have achieved significant results for sufferers of tinnitus.
More and more patients have availed themselves of these types of treatments, because of the pandemic which was in effect for all of the past year, and which required fewer face-to-face encounters. This made it necessary for patients to experiment with home remedies and solutions which they could attempt on their own, as opposed to being administered by a skilled practitioner in an office setting.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be a program of treatment which is consistently effective in managing tinnitus. This program works by interrupting negative thought cycles and by helping to alter the way that a patient thinks about tinnitus.
There are currently two companies which are involved in research and development in this area, the first of them being Oto. The approach taken by Oto is to treat tinnitus by using mindfulness, sound therapy, action-centered therapy, and relaxation.
The second program being developed is by a company called Hearing Power, which has created a product called Tinnibot. This is a chatbot which permits the access of CBT through your smartphone.
The program then uses CBT techniques to guide you through scenarios which are frequently encountered by tinnitus sufferers. Tinnibot specializes in using mindfulness therapy through several recorded meditations, to gradually bring a patient to a calmer and more stress-free state.