Positive developments for tinnitus sufferers
By Matthew Staff
There has finally been a breakthrough in removing the symptoms of tinnitus with a treatment now on the market for the 600,000 sufferers.
The therapy known as Acoustic Co-ordinated Reset (CR) Neuromodulation has been available in Germany since 2010, thanks to the discovery at the Julich Research Centre led by Peter Tass.
After this successful two year period of using the therapy in Germany, in which 75 percent of sufferers experienced dramatic improvements or a complete recovery, Tass will now present the findings in front the British Medical Association.
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The treatment involves special earphones that transmit specific tunes down the recipient’s ears in an attempt to reset the auditory nerve cells in their brain.
The procedure currently costs £4,500 but it is now hoped that the success of the trial and the subsequent presentation going ahead this week, will speed up the process of getting the therapy free on the NHS.
This will literally be music to many people’s ears, with around 10 percent of the population currently suffering from the illness.
There are currently no cures available, with treatment restricted to helping people deal with the condition, rather than being able to reduce the symptoms. However, the trial in Germany saw that after just 12 weeks of wearing the headphones for a few hours each day, 10 months of peace was achieved.
In the simultaneous ‘dummy’ test using placebos, no such results were accomplished, making this new therapy the most comprehensive development in coping with and possibly curing tinnitus.
“This is the first in-man trial for the CR concept, and its results are extremely encouraging,” Mark Williams, an audiologist at the Tinnitus Clinic has stated.
“As the first treatment for tinnitus to remove rather than mask symptoms, clinical evidence of safety and efficacy will hopefully open up this treatment to a wider range of patients.”
The therapy being implemented on the NHS is now dependent on the continued development within the UK on two levels.
While the Tinnitus Clinic is funding a similar trial to take place at Nottingham University with a larger sample, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) will be mulling over an official appraisal application.
Success on both of these fronts is likely to be enough to convince the NHS to jump on board, and end the misery for thousands of tinnitus patients, who often experience depression as a side-effect to the condition.