UltraQuiet Therapy

Discussion in 'Treatments' started by Tha_b_man, Feb 21, 2013.

    1. Blair14
      Tired

      Blair14 Member

      Location:
      New Brunswick, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
      @Markku Wow. is this for real?
       
    2. Markku
      Inspired

      Markku Founder Staff Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing
      Unfortunately yes.
       
    3. DebInAustralia
      Fine

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Advocate

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      30/12/13
    4. Alue
      No Mood

      Alue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      They're pulling our chain.
       
    5. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      The article is talking about a real device, for which a real small-group study was done: http://www.tinnitusjournal.com/detalhe_artigo.asp?id=20. This article is also at least a couple years old. (edit: it's from 2002!)

      I've been in touch with the inventor of this device; as far as I know he had some health issues last year. The commercial version of the device never saw any kind of mass market, I think there were a variety of reasons that I'm not completely privy too.

      In theory this would only be helpful for people with very high-frequency hearing loss causing T. Since I am in this category (unilateral notch from 13-15 khz) it's interesting to me. I've thought about trying to make my own version of this device, went as far as getting some piezo components at one point, but right now it is not at the top of my list of priorities, or even treatment ideas.

      I do have a suspicion that this might be helpful for some subset of people with tinnitus, though. People with tinnitus from hearing loss in ranges which can be improved by conventional hearing aids, sometimes report that the tinnitus reduces or vanishes with the aids. The technology mentioned in the article would theoretically apply the same idea to people with HF loss outside the range that hearing aids address.
       
    6. Alue
      No Mood

      Alue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Well it's worth a shot if it doesn't cost too much, one would think people would pick up on after more than a decade if it really helped.

      I have high frequency tinnitus too just like you described. Right around the frequency range my hearing threshold cuts off. I don't really get the theory behind why it would help, though.
       
    7. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      As I recall, the story is something like this: the people involved with pioneering this device discovered or verified from previous research that bone-conduction exposure to inaudible ultrasound frequencies (very, very high -- above 20kHZ, up into 100 kHZ range) causes activation of auditory nerve neurons at a frequency which is lower than the ultrasound itself (and not just randomly lower, but lower in a mathematically predictable way). This mechanism is bypassing the normal ear drum/cilia perception of sound. So the theory goes, if you have tinnitus at 14 kHZ and you can't hear at 14 kHZ, you can force the brain to perceive sound at 14 kHZ and this will disrupt the tinnitus.

      Two things I don't know:
      * Is this actually true?
      * If it is, if someone has well-established, long-standing tinnitus which has caused systemic brain changes, will this still work?

      The only evidence, afaik, is the single 10-person study they did. It appeared to show good results, but 10 people is rinky-dink and I don't think it was a controlled study. So, I don't think it's impossible that this could be a thing, but I am also not saying "oh yeah, they were right, bummer that they ran out of gas".

      The technology involved here isn't extremely complex; basically you need an ultrasound transducer with a variable frequency response in the range that the paper suggests, and then you need a software or hardware solution which outputs sound in that range. The device they made was just a CD player which would frequency-shift normal music into the ultrasound range.

      Ultrasound transducers aren't a super sophisticated thing; for instance, here's a 20 khz transducer for $10: https://www.bjultrasonic.com/20khz-...JerfAdYVkOJD9bxjZquBhVtINybLTSrZ5QxoC_SXw_wcB

      However (and this is where I may be starting to get less accurate, because I'm not an audio / digital signal processing guy and DSP is hard stuff) -- I don't think a 20 kHZ transducer will cut it, I think what you need is a transducer which is capable of producing a broad spectrum of ultrasound frequencies. "Ultrasound" just means "sound above the range of human hearing", there's nothing magical about it. Think about a speaker, here's a graph someone made of the frequency response of a few high-end hi-fi rigs:
      upload_2016-1-16_11-24-26.png

      so, normal speakers have a solid output up to ~20K or whatever and then it plummets. What you need for this device is an ultrasonic speaker with a good output across the whole range of frequencies that the research used. The little $10 thing probably outputs 20 kHz perfectly, and not much which is higher than that.

      Once you've got that, then you need a way to drive it. That's not super sophisticated; UltraQuiet just had a little box that sat between the output of the CD player and the ultrasonic bone-conduction speaker, and what that box did was remap the music sound (which is all going to be in the 100-2000khz range) up into the ultrasonic frequencies. But, doing that is the definition of DSP -- someone who has worked with audio signal data would have a good idea how to do it; I don't, because my day job is web software which is, in my opinion, nearly as far from hard mathy science as you can get and still have "Engineer" in your job title :-D That said, I bet I could hack together a bad little application that could do some rudimentary version of this given enough time, because there are a lot of well-documented, open-source software libraries available for working with DSP.
       
      • Informative Informative x 3
    8. Jahhsoul
      Curious

      Jahhsoul Member

      Location:
      Spain
      Tinnitus Since:
      9/24/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unkown (not acute acoustic trauma).
      Anyone have tried this succesfully?
       
    9. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      No, it's not really a thing. The product was never marketed commercially.
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    10. Jahhsoul
      Curious

      Jahhsoul Member

      Location:
      Spain
      Tinnitus Since:
      9/24/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unkown (not acute acoustic trauma).
      Will it be marketed?
       
    11. Ears Hurt

      Ears Hurt Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Whiplash or Buzzer (abuse from ex)
      Has anyone heard about this treatment?

      A sound of hope for tinnitus victims

      by ROBER DOBSON, Daily Mail

      A new treatment for tinnitus using vibrations created by synthesised music, improved symptoms in almost all patients during its first trial.

      The sonic brain reprogramming treatment, based on sound vibrations that pass through a bone behind the ear, helped eight out of ten of the patients who had twice-weekly sessions of the therapy.

      Its inventors, who are planning larger trials, say the technology could be a real breakthrough for the one in ten people who suffer with the debilitating condition at some time.

      Tinnitus is the sensation of a sound in the ear, usually a hissing, whooshing or ringing noise.

      Once, it was thought tinnitus was caused by a physical problem, but one new theory is that in some people it's the result of the brain turning up its sensitivity, while in others it's a consequence of a change or loss in hearing.

      Although it can be triggered by underlying problems, including earwax, respiratory and ear infections, exposure to loud noise, and high blood pressure, the cause is often unknown.

      In some cases it is linked to ageing and deteriorating hearing, but it can occur where there is no hearing loss.

      'A third of people I see have some hearing loss and tinnitus is strongly associated with that. In another third of cases, the tinnitus appears to have started at a time of great stress, bereavement, redundancy, mugging, or some other kind of a big life event.

      'In another third we don't know,' says David Baguley, head of audiology at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.

      One theory to explain some cases of tinnitus is that we all have these sounds in our ears, but that we are conditioned to them, in much the same way that people who live next to a road become oblivious to traffic noise. The problem in some cases of tinnitus can be not so much the noise itself, as our body's reaction to it.

      'Biochemical research suggests the inner ear changes during stress so it is not possible to look at hearing in isolation. If you are lying in bed at night and you hear a creak on the stairs, you have an immediate response in your muscles, breathing, alertness and so on.

      'All that begins 12-thousandth of a second after the start of the creak,' says Mr Baguley. The first sound of tinnitus can have the same kind of effect. The more the patient worries about and concentrates on the sound, the greater and more persistent it becomes.

      The goal of therapy is to get the brain to ignore it. Masking with noise has been used, but in most cases the relief is shortterm, usually only while the masking noise is present. Long-term habituation or retraining therapy also helps many people, but its effects can take time to kick-in, sometimes a year or two.

      The idea behind the new therapy, which is expected to go on trial in the UK at the end of the year, is that when people lose the ability to hear very high frequencies, the nerve cells in the brain that processed those sounds start to respond to a lower frequency instead.

      At the same time, they also begin to react when there is no sound, causing the phantom ringing of tinnitus. Researchers say this loss of high-frequency sound is one of the causes of tinnitus in some people.

      The Ultraquiet therapy developed by researchers in New York and Virginia University works by reprogramming the nerve cells to get them working properly by exposing them to high-frequency vibrations.

      In the therapy, the processed sound is conducted down the bone rather than through the ear. In that way, the highfrequency sound by-passes the middle ear and restores highfrequency signals to the cochlea which are then processed by the brain.

      The Ultraquiet equipment includes a music player and amplifier and a headpiece. The headpiece has an aluminum ceramic transducer, a tiny disc that is held against the mastoid bone behind the patient's ear.

      The disc turns the music sound from the amplifier into vibrations which are sent through the skin and into the bone of the skull. The vibrations stimulate the nerve cells, which respond as if they were hearing high-pitched sounds coming from the ear itself.

      Although the vibrations are delivered only to one side of the head, the brain 'hears' them as if they were coming from both sides.

      During the preliminary trial, patients aged 35 to 72 with severe disabling tinnitus had two half-hour sessions for four weeks. All the patients, men and women, had mild to moderate highfrequency hearing loss.

      Patients who completed the study said they had improvements in their symptoms during the course of treatment. The duration of the improvement- - known as residual inhibition - varied up to several weeks. That, say the researchers, is much longer than the relief provided by conventional forms of masking which last for only a few second or minutes.

      Symptoms in the patients returned after two weeks, but repeated treatments can keep the nerve cells in the brain behaving properly.

      Pennie Kidd, 59, from Kent, who developed tinnitus about five years ago, had tried a number of different treatments. 'I don't know what the trigger was. I had no loss of hearing that could have caused it, it was suddenly just there one day and has stayed,' she says. 'I did try a number of things. Counseling was helpful, and then I had a noise generator, a device a little bit like a hearing aid that makes a sound that you concentrate on rather than thinking about the tinnitus. That gave me some sense of control. 'I have tinnitus in my head. I wouldn't describe it as being in one ear or the other. Mine is a high-pitched whistling noise. It is continuous, but it also seems to fluctuate, getting worse when you are tired and lessening when you are distracted. 'The problem with getting stressed about your tinnitus is that you dwell on it and it gets magnified.

      'Your brain will learn to accommodate the tinnitus. The initial reaction can be very profound and distressing, so the news of these new trials is very welcome, indeed.'

      British Tinnitus Association, tel. 0800 0180527.

      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-139867/A-sound-hope-tinnitus-victims.html#ixzz45FUHQq90
       
    12. Silvio Sabo
      Pooptoast

      Silvio Sabo Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Gothenburg, Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise - I think
      Jesus f*ing Christ can we ever get rid of all these snake oil sound therapies!?

      "Passing through a bone behind the ear" is the same thing as putting it through an earbud from an iPhone. It's the same thing as normal sound. The only difference is it's being transferred to your eardrum through the bone of the skull instead of the ear canal. The result is the same. There is nothing magical about it! There are headphones that use this technique. In fact on my latest audiogram they used these kind of headphones. It was kind of cool listening to music with headphones that are not even touching your ears.
       
    13. Ears Hurt

      Ears Hurt Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Whiplash or Buzzer (abuse from ex)
      Thanks for the check. I guess one gets so desperate for relief of any sort a belief comes from anything to hope on.
       
    14. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      Hi,

      I haven't tried this therapy, but I did spend a fair amount of time reading the research behind it, and the observation was that the result was not the same. IIRC, what they observed was that when the auditory system was stimulated through bone-conduction of ultrasound, there was a corresponding activation of perception in the usual-sound frequencies. I am not remembering the math or the interval right, but the idea was something like, "Bone conduction at 25,000 khz, causes perception of 5,000 hz. Bone conduction of 25,500 hz, causes perception of 5,050hz".

      So, the theory here, if I understood it correctly was that if tinnitus was being caused because of a loss of perception at frequencies that the ear was no longer able to perceive from real sound stimulation, you could stimulate the auditory system with ultrasound to "hear" those frequencies, and then doing that over a long period of time might calm or reverse the hyperactivity.

      Based on the (spotty) communication I had with the primary researcher, there were obstacles in bringing this to market, and he is older, and has some health problems.

      The thing that I remember questioning was why the specs of the device refer to ultrasound transducers in the 20 kHZ range; I believe the experimental data was using much higher frequencies.

      I have seen some anecdotal reports of people having temporary reductions in tinnitus following ultrasound stimulation in the upper back/neck.

      I am not trying to imply I think this is a real treatment; there is very little data available. But, the hypothesis was that there is, indeed, a difference between ultrasonic bone conduction and usual hearing. ("Listening" to ultrasonic noise in the 20+ kHZ range in the normal way, with the eardrum, doesn't stimulate the auditory system at all because it doesn't vibrate the drum).
       
    15. Ears Hurt

      Ears Hurt Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Whiplash or Buzzer (abuse from ex)
      So there is a possibility that this could in fact offer some relief?
       

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