Hearing with other brain circuits : good or bad for tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Itay, Aug 17, 2013.

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    1. Itay

      Itay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      You may heard that various implants that activate neurons are running on the research and development the recent years.
      For blind people, A small electrical stimulator placed on the tongue can transmit low resolution image from a wireless camera. This was developed recently.
      I don't know of anything similar for hearing : but it could be very similar. We know today that different regions in the brain can get various types of input and re-route the information so that the brain deals with it natively.
      Imagine a small electrical stimulator placed on the tongue or on the skin and transmitting audio sounds. This uses the somatosensory region for sound processing. How would it interact with an existing tinnitus?
      Would it subside the existing tinnitus? when people who are not able to hear the tinnitus frequencies (due to hearing loss) finally hear the sounds from another source?
      Will it worsen the tinnitus?
      Will it have any effect at all?
      And after you finish with the experiment, would passing with the finger on the skin cause a "whoosh" sound? how would you turn that off?
      Such an experiment is plausible even today in DIY home environment. All you need is a relatively expensive high resolution multiarray electrode, and a controller board, and some creativity. The sound that will be heard by the person will sound like a really bad mp3 compression, because the electrode resolution today is not yet good enough. However, I'm 100% sure that it's possible.
    2. Markku

      Markku Director Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

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    3. Itay

      Itay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Not at all. They say it's using the principle of bone conduction. I don't know a lot about how their instrument works, but from my understanding - they put faith that there are still hair cells left in the ear and that the bone conduction will nudge them better than the eardrum.
    4. Itay

      Itay Member

      Tinnitus Since:

      Here's some kind of longshot idea how to activate auditory neurons which are possibly dormant due to disabled hair-cells.
      If you stretch out the cochlea into a straight line, you see something like this :
      <-- high freqs --> <-- middle freqs --> <--- low freqs --->

      If you place a patch of high resolution electrode on the skin, you might be able to stimulate the same architecture :
      <-- high freqs --> <-- middle freqs --> <--- low freqs --->
      ======skin electrode patch============= =====

      Training :
      In order to be able to "use" the patch to activate dormant auditory sounds (remember : this is longshot idea), you have to train yourself first on sounds you CAN hear.
      A training exercise is when a tone is selected, and heard several times. on both times, the tone is heard simultaneously from the bad ear and at the same time the right place is stimulated at the patch on the skin.
      Obviously, some tones might not be heard by the bad ear. But what I'm counting on is that there will be a generalization process, an "expectation" for the neurons on the auditory cortex to be lit when the right area is stimulated at the patch, even if the bad ear can't hear it.

      You might say that you can do the same thing with the good ear. It's possible. And only this fact might cancel this entire idea. however, you have more direct control with the skin patch. and remember that the ears were trained all the lifetime to be independent of one another. also, there is less random interference on the skin patch.

      Soo.. who's gonna volunteer?

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