Mission Hills, Ca. (PRWEB) April 24, 2013
Thanks to the efforts of the American Tinnitus Association, various research projects have been funded seeking a cure for tinnitus. But, there are barriers to this research:
a. Research in animals is hampered. Mice can’t tell you if they have ringing in the ears.
b. The MRI or the blood tests can’t identify tinnitus
c. Even the most respected therapies depend on the patient reporting subjective symptoms.
Because doctors can’t objectify tinnitus, they use various questionnaires to gauge the symptoms. One is the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory. Another is called the Tinnitus Outcomes Assessment. These ask about sleep problems, impairment of social and work activities, and the need for medications. Unfortunately, this is like diagnosing a toothache by the number of days someone is absent from school
In the publication Trends in Amplification, 2008, the authors stress the need to report on the actual tinnitus. The audiologist examines the hearing and tinnitus using an audiometer. This device presents sounds to the patient and they indicate if they hear the sound and at what volume. The audiologist measures the pitch, volume, masking and inhibition of the tinnitus.
What is the pitch of the tinnitus? Various sounds of human hearing are presented to the patient. They are asked to “match” or tell which test sound resembles or matches their own tinnitus. That pitch is recorded.
What is the loudness of the tinnitus? Is it faint or loud? The audiologist suggests various volumes to record that volume.
What does it take to mask the tinnitus? At a certain volume from the audiologist’s audiometer, the patient no longer hears his or her own tinnitus. It is masked by the outside sound from the audiometer. This is similar to hearing a loud ticking of a clock, but when the TV is turned on, the ticking is no longer heard.
The audiologist tests for residual inhibition. After hearing the tinnitus sound for one minute, most patients report they no longer hear their own tinnitus; it is inhibited. Various tests determine if listening for longer periods is better for longer residual inhibition.
Ideally these four measurements: pitch, loudness, masking, and inhibition are done for any therapy at each visit. However the availability of these tests and their cost limits their use.
Dr Murray Grossan, president of Hydro Med has developed an app, Ear Ringing Relief, which allows even daily measurements of the effects of therapy for tinnitus.
The app is in two parts: the first part consists of sound and text used to reduce symptoms. The second part presents the same sounds as the audiometer, the volume is measured, and the degree of masking is tested. Then the residual inhibition can be gauged by hearing the sound for one minute and measuring how long the inhibition lasts.
With the Ear Ringing Relief app the patient can determine the pitch and volume of their tinnitus, and demonstrate it to the therapist to aid diagnosis and treatment.
The app is used for masking for symptomatic relief.
Residual inhibition can be improved. Initially a patient may not hear their tinnitus for 50 seconds after hearing the app sound for a minute. With daily practice, often those 50 seconds of inhibition becomes longer. This is particularly ideal for inhibiting the tinnitus for sleep.
A therapy called nerve enhancement, consists of listening to the Ear Ringing Relief app tinnitus sound at a lower volume than the subjective symptoms. With practice, the patient lowers their tinnitus sound to match the app volume.
Dr Grossan reports: ” By having my patients demonstrate their tinnitus tone and volume each time they visit, I am able to prescribe more effectively; just like taking the blood pressure for treating hypertension. I believe the ability to demonstrate tinnitus will speed a patient’s healing.”
The Ear Ringing Relief app is available for IPhone,Pod and Pad from iTunes or the app Store. Dr Grossan is author of Ear Ringing – Tinnitus Relief c 2012 from Portrait Publishers. It is on Amazon.