Scientists develop a breakthrough tinnitus treatment

A prototype ‘digital polytherapeutic’

In the study, the subjects were randomly assigned to two treatment methods. The first was a prototype of the new “digital polytherapeutic” while the second was a popular self-help app producing white noise. The results demonstrated that the 31 people who went through the polytherapeutic treatment showed noteworthy improvements in 12 weeks while the other group of 30 did not.

The new therapy is an initial evaluation by an audiologist who develops a personalized treatment plan using a variety of digital tools based on the patient’s tinnitus experience. “This is more significant than some of our earlier work and is likely to have a direct impact on future treatment of tinnitus,” said Grant Searchfield, an Associate Professor in Audiology.

“Earlier trials have found white noise, goal-based counseling, goal-oriented games and other technology-based therapies are effective for some people some of the time,” said Dr. Searchfield. “This is quicker and more effective, taking 12 weeks rather than 12 months for more individuals to gain some control.”

As explained in the press release, this therapy rewires the brain so that the tinnitus sound is reduced to a background noise with no significance or importance to the patient.

Exciting results

“Sixty-five percent of participants reported an improvement. For some people, it was life-changing – where tinnitus was taking over their lives and attention,” said Audiology research fellow Dr. Phil Sanders. He further states that seeing his patients’ distress and having no effective treatment was what inspired his research. “I wanted to make a difference.”

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