The People's Perspective on Medicine

Will There Be Help for Tinnitus in the Future?

A new bimodal device may offer help for tinnitus. Stimulating touch-sensitive nerves with electrical pulses and acoustic nerves with sound seems to work.

Tinnitus, the perception of constant noise that no one else can hear, is a common affliction without a cure. But research offers hope that there will be help for tinnitus not too far in the future. That would be welcome news indeed for the millions who suffer with tinnitus. This condition can have a very negative effect on quality of life.

Help for Tinnitus:

Scientists are developing a device that may be able to quiet the sounds that many describe as ringing, humming, buzzing, chirping, crickets or static (Marks et al, Science Translational Medicine, Jan. 3, 2018). Tests have been conducted in guinea pigs and produced behavioral and physiological evidence of a reduction in tinnitus. A preliminary study in 20 patients with tinnitus also appears promising.

Bimodal Stimulation:

The new device uses two modalities: sounds and weak electrical pulses delivered through electrodes on the skin. The electrical pulses are aimed at touch-sensitive nerves. Precise coordination of both modalities is essential.

After four weeks of using the device for half an hour every day, many of the volunteers reported that their tinnitus sounds were not as loud and much less bothersome. Two of the 20 reported that their tinnitus had essentially disappeared.

The control treatment using sound alone did not effect any change in the symptoms. In conclusion, the treatment is not yet ready for clinical application, but researchers are recruiting for a clinical trial in 2018.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I was diagnosed with Tinnitus and read online that Vitamin D3 can be one of the causes. I was taking 5,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 daily. The problem went away three weeks after stopping Vitamin D3.

I have read that tinnitus has more to do with the brain than ears! Do you have any information on that?

I have this problem. It is mild and not constant.
I do one Yoga Asana (posture) which is called BHRAMARI. This reduces noise almost instantaneously.
It seems to me it has similar effect as this new electronic device.

I have a mild case of tinnitus from a severe cold that settled in my ears. I have the pounding type off and on and I find wearing earplugs in noisy places (concerts) helps a lot and also wear them at night.

This YouTube video from the UK is very helpful in explaining the basic neurological underpinnings of tinnitus and one promising treatment, similar to the one mentioned above.

I acquired Tinnitus in 1968 while shooting a box of .22 shells in 1968. I’m now nearly 72 and I hear the ringing all the time. I wish I had known about ear protection back then!

I have heard that marijuana (not smoked, but in concentrated form) is effective, but until I visit a state where I can get it …

I read that taking folic acid (400mg) per day will help relieve tinnitus. It definitely works for me. When I stop taking the folic acid, the tinnitus returns. Works within a few days.

How do I find out if I can participate in the trial for tinnitus treatment? I live in New Jersey.

My wife has been diagnosed with alzheimers and they put her on Namenda xr 21 mg and we have not seen a good result and she has been on the Med for 6 months. I was wondering if there was any thing new or different you could tell us about.

I have tinnitus and recently read that some people with low or insufficient B12 are more likely to have tinnitus. I am wondering if there is something that.

My tinnitus is better if i keep hydrated…

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