Pulse-emitting device helps those suffering from ringing in their ears
Researchers at the University of Michigan have created a device that hits brain with electrical pulses and drowns out the ever-present ringing noise many who suffer from tinnitus hear.
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN — A new device may hold the key to silencing the persistent ringing sufferers of tinnitus often hear.
Tinnitus is characterized as a persistent ringing, or similar noise, that can heard in the ears. It affects around 25 million Americans, according to U.S. government information from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
It isn't a disease, but a symptom of something wrong in the auditory system. This can be anything from ear wax in the canal, hearing loss to more serious conditions such as diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
The device, designed by University of Michigan researchers, works by emitting timed sounds and low-strength electrical pulses that direct damaged nerve cells back toward normal functionality.
According to a University of Michigan news release, researchers tested the device on animals and 20 human patients for four weeks. The human patients were divided into two groups, one with a real device and one that only produced sounds.
After four weeks the group with the real device reported an improved life quality with the sound usually generated by tinnitus having decreased.
Details of the device and research were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
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