March 23, 2010
Relief for tinnitus sufferers
Manipulated music bringing relief from symptoms of tinnitus, according to study published by the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Munster, Germany.
Who wouldn't like it if listening to their favourite music could bring relief from their tinnitus? This may soon be more than just a dream. German researchers have produced excellent results in experiments with a new type of music therapy to treat tinnitus.
The new therapy employs manipulated music tailored to the individual tinnitus patient. All sounds falling inside the sound spectrum of the tinnitus sufferer's tinnitus are removed.
Manipulated or dummy music
Thirty-nine individuals with tinnitus as their sole hearing problem took part in the study. Some listened to manipulated music while others listened to un-edited music for 12 hours a week for at year. Those who were provided the tailored music reported a significant drop in the level of the ringing they heard in their ears compared with those listening to the dummy version. This was seen as an indication that removing the spectrum of noise associated with tinnitus from the music reduces activity in the brain relating to that frequency, alleviating the condition.
Christo Pantev of the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Munster, Germany, the leader of the study, said the approach specifically targeted the part of the brain responsible for tinnitus.
"The altered music approach can be considered as enjoyable, low cost, and presumably causal treatment that is capable of specifically reducing tinnitus loudness”, he added.
Common condition with no cure
World-wide, almost one in every three people suffer from tinnitus, for many so severe that they are more or less disabled. No specific cure has been discovered, although research into the condition is advancing. The cause of tinnitus remains unknown, but it has been shown that the part of the brain that processes sounds is frequently disrupted in people with the condition.