DIY Low-Level Laser Therapy for Tinnitus on a Budget — LLLT Under 100,-

Discussion in 'Alternative Treatments and Research' started by Cityjohn, May 14, 2016.

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    1. Cityjohn
      Studious

      Cityjohn Member Team Research

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      5:10 PM 03/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Food poisoning.
      I'm only a new member here and have read countless claims that LLLT does, or does not work.

      In examining the research done it seems clear that there is a legitimate reaction from the human cell to light.
      Everything is explained by the man himself on this website: http://photobiology.info/Hamblin.html

      Now here's the kicker. If all the above is true it would mean that you would need either a badly produced standard laser diode (badly produced means a much broader spectrum than advertised), or a very expensive custom one tuned specifically to the chromophores in the body. 635, 650, and 808 are all industry standards, that's why the home lasers use these frequencies.

      Since building a laser and using it myself is much cheaper than actually figuring out whether or not it works I've decided to do that. Anyone can do it and I've published the essential bill of essential materials and a place where you can buy them cheaply. I would have liked a much stronger 650/635 diode but they're not available here perhaps somebody could post a link with a website they trust.
      I've been ordering off this website for a full year now, parcels keep trickling in, I've saved hundreds if not thousands on the same crap re-branded locally.

      4x 808nm 300 mW Laser Diode 1.80 Euro's - LINK
      4x 650nm 5mW Laser Diode 1.71 Euro's - LINK
      1x LM317 stabilized voltage regulator 0-2A 1,25-28V (AKA special laser power source) 4.81 Euro's - LINK
      2x Optical cable to stick in ears 1.40 Euro's - LINK
      1x Multimeter for testing 7.79 Euro's - LINK
      1x Arduino circuit board for programming and timing - LINK

      That's it. 40,- Euro's in total. The rest like earplugs and the AC/DC power supplies you have laying around the house.
      Far be it from me to say whether or not LLLT is a scam based on the main components. The truth is that if you add a fancy box and medical earphones that price will reach a few hundred and that happens to be the same price for the Lucky Laser.

      To construct your laser you will have to mount the bits properly so that both the red and infrared laser are shining into one end of the cable at as shallow an angle as possible. The other side should be mounted to an earbud or placed into a foamy earplug. If that is done just turn it on, don't pulse it. The Arduino can be used to program a clock or pulses.
      To test if the right amount of light is shining through to your ears keep in mind that the LLLT works with a maximum of 100mW/cm^2 so don't overdo it, you're going to want to use the multimeter to check if the laser diodes are not hogging more than twice that (both ears)
      To check whether the infrared diode works point it straight at a webcam while on, it should light up quite brightly.

      P.S I still need a source for powerful 635nm and 650nm laser diodes.
       
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    2. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      One reason is that many people try it for the wrong causes, and have some kind of high expectations

      And sure it won't do anything.
      Do you have hearing loss ? Inner ear damage ?

      From your story you had some allergy to MSG or Chinese food I don't see how shining light into your ear is going to solve anything..

      Billion of people eat Chinese food in China all their life we but don't read stories of ear damages and hearing loss
       
    3. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      In terms of light sources - Powerful LED diodes will work too
      It's just photons does not have to come from lasers - but lasers are good at sending photos in a straight line so it does not get scattered too much

      But if course you don't want a focused narrow beam
      Hamblin said that cheap led will work too
      Provided they are powerful enough
      Hamblin also said that the main therapeutic effects are between 800 an 1200 nm but we have some studies that also shown that 650 or so helps ATP production so ideally you would cover 650 and 800- 1200
       
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    4. Cityjohn
      Studious

      Cityjohn Member Team Research

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      5:10 PM 03/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Food poisoning.
      You've left me wondering quite a bit @Bobby B

      It would help if you took the time to read my original thread carefully to determine what exactly happened and familiarize yourself with: the physical impossibility of MSG allergy, ototoxicity, cochlear synaptic apoptosis, and the general principle of sample bias.

      Good point but of course regular LED's are not being used by anyone because they can not be focused to shine into a fiber optic cable, so yes you do want a focused beam. Specifically one that passes through the tympanic membrane and then hits your cochlea to deliver the light.

      Actually Hamblin mentions:
      5.3 Nerve regeneration. Animal models have been employed to study LLLT effects in nerve repair [73, 74]. Byrnes et al. [56] used 1,600 J/cm2of 810-nm diode laser to improve healing and functionality in a T9 dorsal hemisection of the spinal cord in rats. Anders et al. [75] studied LLLT for regenerating crushed rat facial nerves; by comparing 361, 457, 514, 633, 720, and 1064 nm, and found the best response with 162.4 J/cm2 of 633 nm HeNe laser.

      Since I have hearing damage due to ototoxicity, my damage is superficial, easily reached with light, and I have hearing damage clearly not due to hair cell loss.

      Thanks for helping me clarify this further.
       
    5. Cityjohn
      Studious

      Cityjohn Member Team Research

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      5:10 PM 03/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Food poisoning.
      Bill of materials update:

      Light source 1 2x TO 18 808nm 300mW Laser Diode 3.60 E - LINK
      To focus/mount 2x TO 18 Laser diode module 135mm lens 5.30 E - LINK (replace the internals for 808nm)
      Light source 2 2x TO 18 650nm 80mW Laser Diode 23.36 E - LINK
      To mount lasers 4x Mount 11.12 E - LINK
      To power lasers 1x LM317 stabilized voltage regulator 4.81 E - LINK
      To send light into ears 2x Optical cable 2.80 E - LINK
      To test while constructing 1x Multimeter 7.79 E - LINK
      To program buttons or LCD's 1x Arduino board 3.59 E - LINK
      To mount project 1x project case 7.19 - LINK

      Total: 69.56 E
      excluding bits and bobs needed to mount the lasers in the ears, probably some old earplugs laying around. And the wiring to connect everything.

      I've seen now that Konftec mounts their lasers on the ear directly which seems like a big benefit, it's much easier to do and cheaper as you wouldn't need the mounting capability yet the loss is that you cannot use multiple light sources at the same time. With ear mounting you wouldn't need any focusing gear and there is no power loss which I estimate around could be around 65% using an optical cable due to interface losses and optical elements.
      The bill of materials includes the materials needed for both methods.
       
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    6. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      good links these parts are really cheap.

      Keep in mind that the final light beam that hits the ear would have to be unfocused and spreading out like a flashlight, in my device for each cm distance the beam diameter increases by about the same and starts at 5 mm diameter- if not you can burn cells and heat up the cochlea which can be dangerous at these high powers
       
    7. Cityjohn
      Studious

      Cityjohn Member Team Research

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      5:10 PM 03/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Food poisoning.
      Good point.
      I'll have to see how coherent the beams are, I think it's likely to find that they fan out on their own since the semiconductor chip is only half a mm long and thus the light can start moving apart quickly without using focusing optics. The lasers in the list all come with a focusing lens for that reason.
      If they don't scatter I'll have to fashion a diffuser.
       
    8. Pumpkinate
      Alone

      Pumpkinate Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      I agree and had been thinking of a DIY unit myself. I think the diodes sitting in the opening of the ear canal should function similar to the professional units. I also agree that it's so cheap and easy that it's not worth debating whether LLLT works or not, just go DIY and have a go.
       
    9. Cityjohn
      Studious

      Cityjohn Member Team Research

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      5:10 PM 03/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Food poisoning.
      I'm positive they will achieve exactly the same. I may not look like much but I'm an astrophysics major, building lasers is what we do. It's even better than professional, it's an academic laser :)

      I really hope that people here, especially those investing money in LLLT, can look past the low price and realize there is only an aesthetic difference between this and what we can buy for 3000,- Euro's.
      Most purchases in life come down to either paying attention, or paying money.
       
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    10. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      you don't even need to stick diodes inside the ear canal - i think the best DIY set would be something that gives a wide coverage - like a 1 or 2 cm radius and high power such as 600mw for 808nm or even more and has a pulsed (simple on/off) that way you get better coverage and don't miss the spots.
      Pulsed on/off is the way to go more power reaches deeper and pulses avoid heat
       
    11. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      And the lucky laser cost 1600 USD that's not 3000 euro more like under 1500 - if you are a student with more time than money then of course DIY is great but for me time was the issue I just wanted something fast that works right away out of the box and has enough power
      Plus you have some special knowledge about lasers but most don't want to spend time learning all this just for one occasion
       
    12. Pumpkinate
      Alone

      Pumpkinate Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      I'm thinking it might be better to go more powerful, I'll see what I can find.
       
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    13. Cityjohn
      Studious

      Cityjohn Member Team Research

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      5:10 PM 03/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Food poisoning.
      After I've built it I will ask an engineer to CNC mill a few cases and assemble these for a price much lower than is currently on offer. Perhaps we could sell these under TinnitusHub with the express disclaimer that it has not been proven to work but if people want to try it it's available cheaper.

      I see, good point. Yes heat is my major concern, the maximum power I'll be willing to use is one that can not heat up tissue. The hardest thing for me has been finding out what power level to use. Dr Hamblin mentions the following:

      He also mentions that the highest power level may not give the best result for some reason in tests.

      632.8 nm has been researched to provide the cytokine c oxidase with electrons. 670nm has been shown to help best in one studies where it was the lowest frequency used.
      What I'm not sure about is whether these are the exact frequency that reached the mitochondria or just the lasers being used, and whether 650nm could through fluorescence produce photons of the required wavelength for the same effect.
      I suppose this can be tested quite easily at my campus lab with the light coming out of my tissue and a spectrograph. I'll do it once I have the device.

      There is a lot to examine, every single day a new study on light therapy is published.
       
    14. Cityjohn
      Studious

      Cityjohn Member Team Research

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      5:10 PM 03/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Food poisoning.
      Yeah, and the Konftec one is available for 800,- which makes more sense since I would expect around 400-500 for design and assembly of a similar device. But the 3000,- one that Dr Wilden sells is a big harsh. I'm sure Germans put more development into it but still.
       
    15. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      In the video Hamblin gives very conservative numbers so that he cannot be held responsible if something goes wrong but he also mentionned he got a lot more results wiht the very powerful device he used on his brain
      The study I posted on the other thread shows that light has issues passing though tissues , a bit of heat at the surface isn't a big issue since it will be far weaker once it gets inside
      You don't want to concentrate too much energy at the same spot for long but a wide probe wiht a lot of power is good I think
      Like the one they use in the brain study
       
    16. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      You should read that study this is very good info especially for nerves healing
       
    17. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      The conclusion is that the miliwatts devices are pretty much useless at giving sufficent energy inside the skull and though the skin layers
      That's the Most recent study we have
      That's why I tried a 10w device yesterday and today I can feel my t to be softer than usual after the initial spike and slight ear pain

      Before you start spending time with your laser you may want to review this study

      https://www.dovepress.com/near-infr...therapy-ef-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-NDT
       
    18. Pumpkinate
      Alone

      Pumpkinate Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      I agree we need to look at higher powered sources (like 10 or 20W). Partly from the above article showing low tissue penetration when you are talking centimetres of tissue, but also from my own experience. I am an eye surgeon and I am familiar with using lasers on tissue on a daily basis. Certainly, my use is not the same as LLLT because I use lasers to heat/burn/cut, but it gives me a feel for what are plausible powers. And a few hundred mW over the ear would seem off the scale for doing anything at the level of the cochlea, just not physiologically plausible if you understand what I mean (it takes that sort of power to produce a retinal burn when it's all focused in a spot size of just 300 microns diameter). However, using 10+ watts would be more plausible. You can get 10+W laser diodes in 808nm and you can get 10W LEDs in 650-670nm.
       
    19. Cityjohn
      Studious

      Cityjohn Member Team Research

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      5:10 PM 03/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Food poisoning.
      I agree but we are not trying to reach inside the skull, shining through the eardrum into the middle ear we are limited to that which does not heat the eardrum, the eardrum itself allows red light to pass quite easily. Right behind the eardrum photons will be bouncing all over the place, easily going through the final 0.4 mm wall of the cochlea and even bouncing around through the oval and round windows into it.
      It total no more than 1.2 mm of tissue will have to be penetrated in my case since both my hearing damage and tinnitus are in the 16+ kHz.

      My intended use of the ear laser is to concentrate it to 1 square centimeter in total onto the cochlea, shining it coherently through the eardrum, the required penetration of this laser only has to be a mm for me. If someone has tinnitus in the hard to reach area it would be at a depth of 10mm, the cochlea is quite small.

      I agree we need to find the maximum safe exposure, and try that first. For me the upper limit is 1W. I'm pretty sure it's a marginally bad idea to stick a 10W laser up my ear.


      PMC2952813_IJOL2010-237521.001.png


      That's quite interesting, could you share a little more details? How was the 10W spread out and what was the targeted area?
       
    20. Pumpkinate
      Alone

      Pumpkinate Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      I don't mean a full 10+W on the cochlea alone at close range, I mean externally applied like Bobby B described. How are you going to apply your LLLT direct to the cochlea as you describe? Have you ever looked in someone's ear at the eardrum? The external ear canal is not straight, and it can be surprisingly hard to see the eardrum, even with a narrow otoscope. If you just place your LLLT source in the external ear canal as a plug type arrangement, you likely won't be directly irradiating the middle and inner ear structures, you may either be not pointing at it or you may be doing so through some bone. I highly recommend you look in someone's ear before you go ahead, then you will know how to line things up.
       
    21. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      Yes precisely - the view from the front of the face that is used most of the time for illustration purposes shows a cochlea which is fairly straight placed behind the ear drum but looking in 3 dimension drom the top of the skull it seems that it is hidden behind a turn and cast in some bone material - so light won't reach it well - unless you aim from the hole and keep on rotating the probe all the time perhaps.
       
    22. Cityjohn
      Studious

      Cityjohn Member Team Research

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      5:10 PM 03/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Food poisoning.
      Thank you but I don't share your concern. I'm familiar with the shape of the ear canal and although I had not mentioned it explicitly I agree completely that the hardest part of this is to direct the light properly. I will be positioning the lasers onto the cochlea with the help of my partner and if needed a fiber optics or otoscope head attachment. An otoscope is available to us and can be bought for pocket change too.

      Otoscope 3.81 E LINK

      I don't believe it is possible to shine the light onto the cochlea without the aid of another person familiar with the anatomy.
       
    23. Beste
      Disappointed

      Beste Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/16/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo/Clonazepam, Stress
      Hi @Cityjohn
      Can we ask how is your study going? Any updates?
       
    24. Cityjohn
      Studious

      Cityjohn Member Team Research

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      5:10 PM 03/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Food poisoning.
      Tomorrow morning I'll be going to the optical laboratory at my campus to reserve some materials and do some experiments. The idea is to get a pigs head and remove it's brain to look at the spectral space of the tissues and how to penetrate the tissues into the part where it is believed light would help.
      Then I will perform some spectral emission experiments on my own skull. With this data I will be able to discern how deep light will be able to go and what wavelength we should really be using, instead of using what is available on the market. With a spectrograph I'll also analyse the quality of the laser diodes I have ordered cheaply, and I'll stick a spectrograph in my mouth to see how much external light will be able to penetrate.
      So plenty of things left to do.

      As for my device, I'm eager to build it but still awaiting a few parts, perhaps they have them in the laser lab and are willing to give them to me or at least loan them.
      For the last couple of weeks my parts have been coming in, I also ordered some more things so I'll have to adjust the bill of materials when I've completed my setup. The only things I still don't have is the otoscope, some laser drivers, and powerful 650nm 200mW laser diodes. Damn Chinese sent me a ceiling lamp instead of that last laser...
      On the suggestion of Bobby B, I've decided to also order two 10W red LED floodlights and some cooling, perhaps this will offer a much easier delivery method, and even lower cost.

      At the moment I'm right in a final exam period, so that's taking up a little more time than usual.
       
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    25. Aussie Lea
      Dramaqueen

      Aussie Lea Member

      Location:
      Melbourne Yarra Valley
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/09/2013
      Is pig's anatomy in that area the same as human's?
       
    26. Beste
      Disappointed

      Beste Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/16/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo/Clonazepam, Stress
      I appreciate your hard working John. God bless.

      But I wonder if I can help you in any way like findind some laser drivers here in Turkey. Let me know if I can be a help.

      Thank you again
       
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    27. Cityjohn
      Studious

      Cityjohn Member Team Research

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      5:10 PM 03/02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Food poisoning.
      In physics we'd say the order of approximation is close enough, and that got us to the moon so I think we're good (y)
      I'll be doing comparisons and calibrations using my own tissue.
       
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    28. Beste
      Disappointed

      Beste Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/16/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo/Clonazepam, Stress
      Just thought we need a schematic explanation of this study to understand its difference from other LLLT. Not many people like me know science unfortunately.
       
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    29. Marlino
      Cowboy

      Marlino Member Team Research

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Hi guys,

      I'm now also into questionable alternative treatments. Just spent 30€ on laser modules 650nm & 808nm, 100mW each.

      I will skip the programming part. No PWM for power adjusting, no pulsing. Just very simple to begin with.

      Well well, if somebody told me 6 month ago that now I will try laser light to cure myself...last thing I would have believed.

      bests!
       
    30. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      based on your post your T is due to stress, depression etc.. , no clear and recent acoustic trauma - no inner ear injury or measurable hearing loss either , I can assure you that shining some light inside your ears is going to do nothing at all besides wasting your time..at least you only spent 30 Euro..

      Not to mention the risk of getting eye damage with DIY laser if it shines into the eye by accident

      Its not even a cure for tinnitus at all, even with acoustic trauma
       
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