A US study has revealed that a tiny box implanted in the chest could help reduce tinnitus, the persistent buzzing, roaring, hissing, clicking or ringing sensation in the ears that affects approximately 20% of Australians. The box, also used for epilepsy, depression, migraines and inflammatory bowel disease, uses low levels of electricity to stimulate a key nerve called the Vagus.
The researchers combined this stimulation with beeping sounds played through headphones, set at frequencies similar to each patient’s tinnitus. They hypothesised that by stimulating the brain through the Vagus nerve at the same time as it tunes into these sounds gradually teaches it to shut out tinnitus.
After a year of daily treatment, 50% of study participants saw significant improvement.
My Brisbane-based audiologist Ryan O Clair recently made a fascinating and informative video about tinnitus. Watch it on Youtube.
And if you experience tinnitus, I’d love to know what works best for you. Let me know in the comments below!