The way it works is by re-wiring your brain by exposing it to sounds of a certain frequency and therefore of certain vibrations. Although some people’s tinnitus is a physical problem, such as the build-up of wax, many others’ is the result of the brain dialling up its sensitivity so that it interprets almost any stimulus as a constant sound. One theory suggests that we all have these sounds in our ears however, like when you live next to a busy road, we can normally tune it out. However, for whatever reason, those with tinnitus react differently to it and that is why it is experienced more often during times of stress or after a particularly stressful incident such as a mugging.
One of the reasons it has been so hard to find the fundamental cause of tinnitus is that we can’t study it in isolation since our hearing is so intrinsically linked to so many other parts of our bodies. Like when you are in a quiet room and you hear an unexpected noise – your body tenses up involuntarily. Well, that kind of response isn’t good for scientific tests and it has impeded progress in the area. Furthermore; this kind of physiological response can exacerbate tinnitus. Because our bodies are great at making us alert and aware in times of stress – the more stressed we get the more we notice our tinnitus and so a vicious circle is put into effect. Masking the sound temporarily helps but doesn’t last much after the sound has stopped.
The therapy is was only taken twice a week and the patients experienced promising early results.
While not on general release, its inventors will be looking to conduct larger trials soon and if released this really could be a wonderful breakthrough for those suffering from this annoying condition, me included.
Going back to the central premise of this invention; the idea behind the new treatment is that when people lose the ability to hear very high frequencies, the nerve cells in the brain that used to process such sounds begin responding to a lower frequencies instead. They also react when there isn’t any sound, which causes the tinnitus that people experience in the quiet. The researchers believe that this loss of high-frequency sound is one of the primary causes of tinnitus in some people. This could certainly be true in my case. I burst my eardrum trying to clear my ear after a flight and after that I started to get tinnitus. Perhaps the damage I did to it resulting in losing my ability to hear very high frequencies. I must endeavour to find out.
So this new therapy, named ‘Ultraquiet therapy’ reprograms the nerve cells to get them working again by exposing them to high-frequency vibrations. This reprogramming doesn’t last forever and treatment will have to be sustained but I think a few sessions a week with the device to be free from ‘the hum’ would be a price worth paying.
More information can be found here.