ENT Center of Austin - Doctor's Blog

Good News for Tinnitus Sufferers

What do Pete Townshend from The Who, Chris Martin from Coldplay and former U.S. President, Bill Clinton have in common?

They all have a ringing in their ears occasionally. It's known as temporary tinnitus. This type of momentary madness in your hearing hole is caused by music that's turned up to 12 or machines way above the level your ears can take. We at the ENT Center of Austin have some good stuff for you to listen to.


There Once Was A Company ...

A group of students, specializing in physics the University of Edinburgh and University College Dublin, managed a breakthrough when it comes to this momentary wallop from the ringing.

Their business is called Restored Hearing. The eggheads have come-up with a form of therapy that can fix temp tinnitus in nearly 100% of those they treat. Not stopping there, these academic folks are now launching a series of clinical trials at the University of Edinburgh to see if they can give relief to the chronic sufferers of this disease.

How do they do it for the folks that periodically experience the medical condition? Pretty simple, really. They play low-frequency sounds into the ear. That make the tiny hairs stand-up.

One of the Geniuses Explains

Eimear O'Carroll puts it this way, "Using sound, our therapy stimulates the inner ear to promote the re-straightening of the cochlear hairs that get bent or even broken when they are subjected to high intensity sound. When the cochlear hairs are bent over they interfere with each other and this interference is interpreted by the brain as sound, often in the complete absence of any sound. In 99% of cases the tinnitus of the sufferer was gone after one minute of our sound therapy."

She's a fourth year physics student in the University of Edinburgh alongside Rhona Togher and Physics teacher, Anthony Carolan, who developed this treatment.

Eimear goes on to say, "While investigating funding options for further research, it was suggested that we commercialize our therapy and set up a business. Being three scientists with no prior experience in business, setting up a company was a completely foreign thing. In the course of establishing Restored Hearing we have faced, but overcome, challenges in securing funding, getting insurance and making the public aware of our product and its benefits."

You may have experience with temporary tinnitus sometime in your life. It hits 92% of the population. It's caused when decibel levels are over-the-top. Not only that, it can bug you for a couple of days at a time. The near dog-whistle sound is caused when loud noises flatten those itsy-bitsy hairs inside the ear. The hairs interfere with each other. The brain tries to figure it out, and logs the chaos as a phantom noise.

Those who perceive this phantom noise may also be depressed. Antidepressant drugs can cause tinnitus occasionally. Another form of therapy that's been used since 2009 is called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This one sends short pulses of magnetic fields to the brain.

No need for knock-out pills when undergoing the treatment. And once the procedure is finished, the patient can drive home without any side-effects. No memory loss or seizures, either. You might get a headache, but that can be relieved with acetaminophen.

We can figure-out why Pete Townshend and Chris Martin got it. We can only speculate that the former President came down with the issue by playing his sax too loud in the White House.

Original Source: http://austinentmd.com

Image Source: cbsjackontheweb.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/listening-to-loud-music-or-videos.jpg?w=620

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