The Tinnitus Specialist Blog
Thoughts and inspiration from a Harley Street tinnitus specialist.
The Closest Yet To A Cure For Tinnitus?
The London Tinnitus Treatment Clinic are proud to announce that we are now a SoundCure Certified Provider, and can assess and fit patients at our Harley Street consulting rooms. The recommended schedule includes an assessment & fitting, a follow-up after one week, a further follow-up after one month, and then every six months or as the patient requires.
To book an assessment and fitting appointment, please call us on 020 7467 8473.
So, who are SoundCure and what is different about their new device? Other tinnitus sound therapy devices were inspired by theories and then research was formulated to try to demonstrate their effectiveness. The Serenade® on the other hand is a medical device that was born out of research that started in 2006, when researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) began working with a patient with a cochlear implant who was suffering from tinnitus. Traditional treatment approaches were attempted, but failed to provide relief. They then applied a pitch-matched amplitude modulated sound, at a comfortable loudness via the patient’s cochlear implant and discovered that this relieved the patient’s tinnitus–for the first time in two years, all he heard was a calming, pleasant tone produced by the low-rate stimulus. Transferring this technology from a cochlear implant to sounds anyone could hear led to the creation of S-Tones®, the foundation of the SoundCure Serenade® technology.
So is SoundCure Serenade® a cure for tinnitus? Well, not quite, but with it being four times more likely to provide relief than white noise, it's the closest thing yet, and a significant number of tinnitus sufferers experience at least 70% suppression of their tinnitus.
Tinnitus Suppression Research
According to a UCI researcher, “The mechanisms underlying tinnitus suppression are different from those in tinnitus masking. Masking attempts to divert a patient’s attention away from the tinnitus. Suppression is a physiologic process where sounds—in this case, patterned sounds—may likely be modulating the activity of the auditory cortex and interrupting tinnitus generation."
Further, synchronized neural activity is described this way in a research paper:
“Within 30 seconds, the subject started to experience some tinnitus suppression and by 120 seconds reported being unable to hear his tinnitus. This is an example of 100% suppression.”
S-Tones® do not need to be loud to be effective, researchers have discovered: “A sound is presented that is softer than the level of the tinnitus, which may completely eliminate the perception of the tinnitus. The overall level of the sound environment is less than the tinnitus alone.”
Our Sound Therapy Suite
Tinnitus is not a simple condition that can be addressed with a one-size-fits-all approach. Therefore the Serenade® offers a variety of sound therapy tracks from which we can choose to treat your unique condition. SoundCure’s unique S-Tones®, custom narrowband stimuli, and broadband sounds are all provided to enable us to find the most effective solution for you. The device includes a SleepAssist setting, for tinnitus relief while sleeping.
In April 2012, the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (JARO) published the results of a clinical study done at UCI. Kelly M. Reavis and her colleagues published an article entitled "Temporary Suppression of Tinnitus by Modulated Sounds".
Based on a previous observation that “tinnitus can be temporarily abolished by low-rate electric stimulation from a cochlear implant” (Zeng et al. 2011), Kelly and her colleagues wanted to find out whether a corresponding sound would suppress tinnitus in subjects without cochlear implants. They write, “We concentrated on a low-rate amplitude and frequency-modulated sounds...We hypothesized that the externally driven synchronized neural activity generated by these low-rate modulated stimuli will reduce tinnitus-related neural hyperactivity in the central auditory pathways, thereby providing temporary suppression of tinnitus.”
- 20 subjects with chronic tinnitus listened to 5 types of sound comprising 17 individual external sounds, presented randomly, for a total of 340 trials.
- Sounds included both traditional, unmodulated and dynamically modulated stimuli.
- Sounds were presented to the patient at a volume that was lower than the patient’s tinnitus perception volume.
- 90% of subjects experienced at least some suppression (reduced loudness with a sound presented at a lower volume than the patient’s tinnitus perception) with at least one of the stimuli.
- Greatest suppression was achieved with amplitude modulated tones with frequencies near the tinnitus pitch (S-Tones®).
- S-Tones® were four times more likely to provide relief than white noise.
- 35% of patients experienced 70% or better reduction in tinnitus perception; 35% of patients experienced 30-50% reduction; 30% of patients saw less than 30% reduction.
No adverse events were reported.
Study results “provided evidence that modulated sounds, particularly low-rate amplitude-modulated tones with a high carrier frequency in the tinnitus pitch range, are the most effective in reducing tinnitus".
A summary of the research can be found here: http://www.springerlink.com/content/fk1126x5l228051h/
The SoundCure company website can be found here: http://www.soundcure.com/for-patients/