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EarPeace News: Nerve implant retrains your brain to stop tinnitus

November 21, 2014

People exposed to high volumes for long periods experience a common hearing disorder called tinnitus. It occurs in the form of a constant ringing – something we have all experienced after a night out. It usually goes away after a day but for some people it’s a permanent and serious condition. Whilst there is no known cure yet, here’s an update on science’s latest solution to tinnitus: a new device: a “MicroTransponder”.

“Nerve implant retrains your brain to stop tinnitus

Tinnitus, the debilitating condition that plagued Beethoven and Darwin, affects roughly 10 per cent of the world’s population, including 30 million people in the US alone. Now, a device based on vagus nerve stimulation promises to eliminate the sounds for good by retraining the brain.

At the moment, many chronic sufferers turn to state of the art hearing aids configured to play specific tones meant to cancel out the tinnitus. But these do not always work because they just mask the noise.

The new device, developed by MicroTransponder in Dallas, Texas, works in an entirely different way. The Serenity System uses a transmitter connected to the vagus nerve in the neck – the vagus nerve connects the brain to many of the body’s organs.

The thinking goes that most cases of chronic tinnitus result from changes in the signals sent from the ear to neurons in the brain’s auditory cortex. This device is meant to retrain those neurons to forget the annoying noise.”

However-  whilst this sounds like it could actually work in the most extreme case, the procedure is extremely invasive, so we say why not avoid tinnitus all together and keep those ears protected!

By Claudia Caruana

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