People afflicted with tinnitus, which causes ringing in the ears, have just received some of the best news about understanding the causes and potential treatments for this chronic condition. Recent studies conducted at the University of Arizona have shown a connection between tinnitus and inflammation of the brain around the auditory regions through the use of bimodal neuromodulation. This breakthrough in our understanding is being hailed as a milestone that will lead to better treatments and more effective solutions in the future.
It is estimated that 10% to 15% of adults suffer from tinnitus worldwide. This condition has been known to severely affect some patients more than others, and for many people, it can vastly reduce the quality of life. Biomedical researchers at the University of Minnesota and the University of Michigan have been experimenting with a technique called bimodal neuromodulation, where tiny electrical impulses are placed at various points on the body to stimulate the brain. Combined with auditory stimulation, these scientists have been able to reprogram those parts of the brain and have been able to reduce and sometimes eliminate the intensity of the condition.
While the FDA is waiting for the conclusion of double-blind peer-reviewed trials, some companies are already moving forward on the information and creating products based on the new research. Medical devices for bimodal neuromodulation are already available in Germany and Ireland. While this news is both extraordinary and exciting, these are still only preliminary studies, and more research still needs to be done to prove its effectiveness for a broad range of patients. However, many doctors have expressed hope in the research being done, and many more are starting tests and experiments of their own. Nonetheless, most agree that it is still too early to call anything a potential cure. However, the initial findings have given hope to sufferers of tinnitus worldwide.