The always excellent Science Podcast introduced me to a new treatment for tinnitus. Approximately 10-15% of the population suffers from some form of tinnitus (chronic ringing in the ears). Hubert Lim has developed a device that pairs aural stimulation through headphones with electrical stimulation through the tongue. In a recent study they were able to diminish the perception of ringing in a large clinical trial.
Treatment pairs a wide variety of sounds with tongue stimulation leading to increased activity in the neurons associated with these sounds thereby distracting the brain from the neurons which are responsible for tinnitus.
Interview with Hubert Lim starts at 8:50
Visiting a once-watery asteroid, and how buzzing the tongue can treat tinnitus
See also: New research could help millions who suffer from ‘ringing in the ears’ from UMN.
This treatment is available now at some European clinics. See Lenire.com.
The Lenire device comes from a Dublin company called Neuromod of which Dr. Lim is a partner. Here Dr. Lim describes the device.
Read the paper associated with the research: Noninvasive Bimodal Neuromodulation for the Treatment of Tinnitus: Protocol for a Second Large-Scale Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial to Optimize Stimulation Parameters