Tinnitis is one of those ailmentsthat will never kill you, but degrade your enjoyment of life to the point ofextremis. Victims struggle to conduct anormal life and rarely share the ailment with anyone. This shows us the real numbers and it ishuge.
The take home today is that itappears to be outright solved. A deviceis been made to work with the problem and full clinical trials will be underwayshortly.
There are many worse problems,but getting rid of this one is a major advance. We will take it.
How high-pitched music could cure tinnitus by 're-booting' the brain
Last updated at 8:48 AM on 13th January 2011
Scientists may have developed a cure for tinnitus, the persistentringing in the ears that blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of Britons.
In tests, researchers were able to stop the irritating noises bystimulating a nerve in the neck while playing a high-pitched tone into theears.
The technique – which ‘reboots’ the brain – has been successfullytested on rats. Clinical trials on humans are due to start in the next fewmonths.
Around one in ten adults in the
suffers from permanent tinnitusand around 600,000 have it badly enough to affect their quality of life. UK
It can affect one or both ears and is usually described as a ringingnoise, although it can also take the form of high pitched whines, rattling, lowbeeps or a rushing sound.
Tinnitus is often triggered by exposure to loud noise, which destroyscells in the inner ear that transmit sound signals to the brain.
Scientists believe the brain tries to compensate for the missingsignals, leading to phantom sounds. Other causes of tinnitus include injury andnormal ageing.
The American researchers carried out experiments on tinnitus-affectedrats designed to trigger changes in the ‘auditory cortex’ – the part of thebrain that responds to sound.
By electrically stimulating the vagus nerve – a large nerve runningfrom the head and neck to the abdomen – with a small electrode at the same timeas playing a high-pitched sound, they banished tinnitus from the rats.
Treated rats showed responses that indicated the ringing in their earshad stopped, the journal Nature reported yesterday. Animals that did notreceive the therapy continued to display signs of tinnitus.
Did you hear that? Tinnitus can affect one or both ears and is usuallydescribed as a ringing noise, although it can also take the form of highpitched whines, rattling, low beeps or a rushing sound
Study leader Dr Michael Kilgard, from the
Universityof Texas at , said: ‘The key is that, unlikeprevious treatments, we’re not masking tinnitus, we’re not hiding the tinnitus. Dallas
We are retuning the brain from a state where it generates tinnitus to astate that does not generate tinnitus. We are eliminating the source of thetinnitus.’
When the vagus nerve is stimulated it releases chemicals that can alterbrain circuitry.
Patients taking part in the human trial in
Europewill undergo vagus nerve stimulation paired with sounds at daily treatment sessionsover several weeks.
The stimulation will be delivered by a wireless electrode surgicallyattached to the left vagus nerve. The device was developed by MicroTransponder,a
biotech firm. U.S.