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Saturday November 27, 2021

Device developed to treat tinnitus treatment

October 12, 2021
Device developed to treat tinnitus treatment

KARACHI: Tinnitus is not a disease in itself, but rather a symptom of some other underlying health condition. It has no cure, but if an underlying medical problem like an ear infection is diagnosed and treated, it can be alleviated.

In most cases, tinnitus is a sensorineural (senses and nerves) reaction in the brain to damage in the ear and auditory system, eventually leading to hearing loss in 90 per cent patients. While tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, there are roughly 200 different health disorders that can generate tinnitus as a symptom.

Recently a non-invasive medical device — Lenire — that uses bimodal neuromodulation to treat tinnitus symptoms has been introduced in Europe, while talks are under way for approval by the Federal Drug Authority in the US for its launch there.

The device reduces the symptoms of tinnitus. It combines mild electrical pulses to the tongue with sound stimulation to treat tinnitus. Lenire delivers mild electrical pulses to the tongue combined with sound played through headphones to drive long-term changes or neuroplasticity in the brain. The device is fitted and used in accordance with a tailored treatment plan prescribed by an audiologist or ENT surgeon to alleviate tinnitus.

Lenire consists of a controller which is a lightweight handheld device that controls the timing and intensity of the treatment. You can start, pause and resume the treatment session, adjust the volume of the sound, and adjust the level of the tongue stimulation.

Lenire has a “tonguetip” which is an intra-oral device, ergonomically designed to sit comfortably in the closed mouth. Tiny electrodes on the tonguetip deliver mild and safe energy pulses to the surface of the tip of the tongue.

Lenire must be used with the set of wireless, Bluetooth headphones, which are provided as part of the package. The headphones are paired to the controller and deliver customised sounds to activate the auditory nerve to the brain.

Around 2 billion people across the world and 15 per cent American population suffer from tinnitus. Soldiers suffer it the most as 20 to 40 per cent of them are afflicted with this condition. Those attached with music have 57 per cent higher risk factor as compared to others. People used to enjoying music over cellphones also are at risk to develop this condition.

Former US president Ronald Reagan, and celibreities, including William Shatner, Eric Clapton, Barbra Streisand, Pete Townshend, Ayumi Hamasaki, Chris Martin, Sylvester Stallone, Keanu Reeves, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Martin etc, have been afflicted with this condition.

Tinnitus is most often described as a ringing in the ears, even though no external sound is present. However, tinnitus can also cause other types of phantom noises in your ears, including buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing, humming etc. Hearing loss, ear infection or ear canal blockage, head or neck injuries, Meniere’s disease, medication side effects, are among the many causes of tinnitus.