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Shocking tinnitus therapy is music to the ears of sufferers

Do you suffer from tinnitus? We were surprised to learn that 15-20% of people have this condition, which is equivalent to a constant ringing in the ears. Science does not fully understand the ringing part, but one possible explanation is that the brain compensates for frequencies that it can no longer hear.

Causes of tinnitus. Image via Drugs.com
[Hubert Lim], a biomedical engineer from the University of Minnesota, found that the brain can be stimulated to the point of suppressing tinnitus for a year. [Lim] discovered this by accident while doing deep brain stimulation to a patient with tinnitus. The electrode deviated slightly, touching other areas of the brain, and the patient suddenly exclaimed that he could no longer hear his noise in his ears.

Then [Lim] and his team tested guinea pigs, looking here and there for the best place to suppress tinnitus. As it turns out, language is one of the best places when used in conjunction with a specific sound landscape. Then they did a human trial with 326 people. Each man had a small electrode with a paddle on his tongue and headphones on his ears.

As the electrodes sparkled like pop-rocks against their tongues, the participants listened to clear frequencies played against a sound resembling vapor music. The combination of the two overstimulates the brain, forcing it to suppress the reaction to tinnitus. This discovery certainly seems like a change of game for those suffering from tinnitus. If we had tinnitus, we would be the first in line to try it out, given a chance. Armed with the sound landscape, we are left wondering how many 9V batteries we will have to lick to bring the paddle closer.

Speaking of taste, have you ever experienced all five at once? Here is a device that simulates all of them.

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