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Clinical Trial to Test Electronic Tinnitus Treatment

Hearing loss (VA.gov)

(VA.gov)

A clinical trial in the U.K. will test a miniature electronic device that aims to reset neurological patterns causing tinnitus, a debilitating hearing disorder. The Acoustic CR Neuroodulation device to be tested was developed by Adaptive Neuromodulation GmbH in Cologne, Germany.

Tinnitus is a condition characterized by a constant sound pattern in the ears, like ringing, buzzing, or even roaring. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at NIH says tinnitus can be a symptom of a minor disorder, like an ear infection, or of more serious conditions, such as noise-induced hearing loss or a brain tumor. NIDCD cites statistics estimating that 22.7 million Americans, or about 10 percent of the adult population, experienced tinnitus for more than three months in the past year.

With tinnitus, the neurons in the brain fire in a synchronous rather than normal random pattern, causing an overload of circuits that leads to the ringing or buzzing sounds in the ears.  The Acoustic CR Neuromodulation device is a matchbook-sized unit connected to earbuds that targets the hyperactive, synchronous nerve cells in the auditory cortex to disrupt the overloaded synchronous nerve signals and thus desynchronize those signals.

The clinical study of the device will take place at University College London Ear Institute and the National Biomedical Research Unit in Hearing (NBRUH) at University of Nottingham. Researchers plan to recruit patients who have suffered from tinnitus for at least three months but are not currently receiving any treatment for the condition. One group of patients will wear the Acoustic CR Neuroodulation device configured to deliver the therapeutic signals, while another group will wear a similar device, but without the delivery of programmed signals.

The trial is funded by a £345,000 ($552,000) grant from the Tinnitus Clinic in London, a provider of the Acoustic CR Neuroodulation technology. Adaptive Neuromodulation says the device has undergone a successful exploratory study, and has received both a European CE mark and FDA pre-market notification in the U.S.

Derek Hoare, a research fellow with NBRUH and principal investigator of the study says about five million people in the U.K. suffer from tinnitus, many of whom “have tried a number of different treatments including hearing aids, sound therapies, counseling and other alternative medicines such as acupuncture but to no avail.” Hoare adds, “We want to scientifically establish whether this new method of sound simulation could offer patients a new hope for treating tinnitus, which can have such a distressing impact on people’s day-to-day lives.”

Read more: Implanted Device Treats Balance Disorder

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2 comments to Clinical Trial to Test Electronic Tinnitus Treatment

  • geoffrey rosenberg

    I would very much like to be a participent in this trial

  • Thank you Geoffrey for your question and visiting Science Business. The trial is currently recruiting participants at University of Nottingham in the U.K. The principal investigator is Derek Hoare, who you can reach at +44 (0) 115 823 2630 or derek [dot] hoare [at] nottingham [dot] ac [dot] uk . Good luck.