Hearing icon
Signia™ AX

60-day free trial

Hearing icon
Resound™ One

60-day free trial

Hearing icon
Phonak™ Paradise

60-day free trial

Hearing icon
Online Care

Online Free Hearing Test

Hearing icon
In-Office Care

In-Person Test - Orland

DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION MAY RELIEVE TINNITUS SYMPTOMS

Happy couple

Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) can make life miserable, but a brain implant may help, preliminary research suggests.

In a phase one trial of five patients whose severe tinnitus did not respond to other treatments, deep brain stimulation (DBS) diminished the ringing in four. The fifth patient received no relief, the researchers reported.

No serious side effects

In DBS, electrodes are implanted in the brain and attached to a device that sends a small electrical current to them.

Lots of us have felt that ringing in our ears after a rowdy rock concert … But how much more sound can our ears realistically withstand? We’re doubling up on decibels today, to explore the extremes of audiology and loudness. So, turn those speakers up – to a safe level, of course – and enjoy!

Five weeks after brain surgery, patients began receiving various levels of stimulation in search of the best setting for their device. Once it was found (after five to 13 months) constant stimulation was given for 24 weeks.

None of the patients had serious side effects of surgery or brain stimulation, according to lead author Dr. Steven Cheung, an otologist-neurotologist at the University of California, San Francisco. He and his colleagues published their report online recently in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Side effects included pain and headache after surgery. Effects of brain stimulation included worsening of tinnitus and, in one patient, visual phantoms as settings were being adjusted, according to the report.

Reduced sense of well-being

Based on these results, the researchers hope to do a phase two trial, which would refine the technique.

About 15% of people have ringing in the ears. For most, symptoms are bearable and don’t need treatment, the study authors said in a journal news release.

For others, however, tinnitus is intrusive. A variety of drug, acoustic, and behavioral therapies can diminish the ringing, which can cause mental fatigue and a reduced sense of well-being.

Related Articles

You might be interested in...

Hearing

BRIEF POSTNATAL BLINDNESS TRIGGERS LONG-LASTING REORGANIZATION IN THE BRAIN

Temporary visual deprivation shortly after birth induces permanent auditory responses in the visual area of the brain, highlighting a crossmodal competition for brain territories during […]

Read More →
Ear Grid

SAY WHAT? HOW THE BRAIN SEPARATES OUR ABILITY TO TALK AND WRITE

Out loud, someone says, “The man is catching a fish.” The same person then takes pen to paper and writes, “The men is catches a […]

Read More →

UB RESEARCHERS TAKE IMPORTANT STEPS TOWARD UNDERSTANDING HOW ANIMALS MAKE SENSE OF THE AUDITORY WORLD

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Sit down with a friend in a quiet restaurant and begin talking, just before the dinner crowd’s arrival. Business is slow at first, […]

Read More →