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Using Noise Cancellation Technology For Tinnitus


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#1 wpcoe

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Posted 2009-07-09 15:36:34

I've wondered why noise cancellation technology (like used in Bose QuietComfort noise-cancelling headsets), where an "anti-noise" wave is generated to negate a environmental noise, couldn't be used to mask the noise of tinnitus. The best reason why it supposedly can't/won't work seems to be explained in a 2005 paper by the British Tinnitis Association.

However, the underlying assumption in that paper is that a noise-cancellation device itself would need to be able to measure the frequency of the tinnitus noise before being able to negate it by generating an opposite sine wave.

I've had tinnitus for a number of years (15+) and it *seems* like it's a constant frequency. Why couldn't that frequency be determined by testing in an audiology lab, and once that frequency identified, then have a device manufactured with a constant-frequency anti-noise wave?

For example, the general range of my tinnitus noise could be easily found by the audiology test where they put you in a sound proof room with headsets and you raise your hand when you hear a tone. The part of the resultant chart where it shows I can't hear ... that's the range of frequency where my tinnitus is.

Couldn't a laboratory device be invented which would send out various "anti-noise" frequencies and be used similarly to the one currently used in hearing tests? Wouldn't the machine be able to produce the right sine-wave to counteract the tinnitus noise? i.e. I sit in the booth listening to my ever-present tinnitus. The audiologist sends various signals at different anti-noise (sorry for that term, but it's the best one I know of) frequencies until I can't hear the tinnitus noise any more.

The only reason I can think of that such a testing system and anti-tinnitus-noise device wouldn't work is if the tinnitus noise is NOT a constant frequency, as it unscientifically appears to me.

I know there's at least one audiologist who participates here, and I'd be interested to hear (no pun intended) from anyone about my "theory".

#2 skipvice

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Posted 2009-07-09 15:51:44

copied from your link

The most common forms of tinnitus have no measurable acoustic representation and are widely believed to arise from internal states in the brain.

as I have also been told countless times from Doctors

#3 Crossy

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Posted 2009-07-09 16:19:29

Unfortunately it's not just the frequency that needs to be correct :)

In order to cancel the offending signal you also need to match the phase (actually anti-phase). Unless you get EXACTLY the right frequency (within <1Hz or so) then the cancelling wave will constantly drift in and out of phase producing a (likely) even more annoying effect :D

Yes, I get tinnitus too, dashed annoying at times.

#4 Rimmer

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Posted 2009-07-09 17:07:27

Nothing to do with noise cancellation but everything to do with tinnitus. I have tried to extract the salient points from a scanned jpeg sent to me this morning.

A friend sent me a newspaper cutting this morning about a drug called AM10 which is being used experimentally in clinical trials for the treatment of Tinnitus in Germany.
The patient is given a local anesthetic injection in the eardrum and the AM10 is administered by intrympanic injection through a tiny hole in the ear drum.
The drug is injected into the middle ear. During the process the patient has to lie on their side for thirty minutes with the ear facing upwards to allow maximum penetration of the drug into the ear.
The treatment appears to be effective for noise induced tinnitus that is linked to excessive amounts of glutamate. When hearing problems develop this can lead to excessive amounts of glutamate being produced and the excess is thought to trigger a misfiring of signals to the brain causing tinnitus.
The article says the results of the clinical trial may lead to the first ever drug treatment for noise induced tinnitus.

Edited by Rimmer, 2009-07-09 17:08:33.


#5 wpcoe

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Posted 2009-07-10 09:01:35

The most common forms of tinnitus have no measurable acoustic representation and are widely believed to arise from internal states in the brain.

Darn. IF that's true, I guess I had a misguided hope.

Am I correct now in thinking that noise-cancellation technology only works on cancelling out an actual physical sound wave before it hits the ear drum?

Yes, I get tinnitus too, dashed annoying at times.

To me, it's most annoying in quiet times at home. I would have been willing to have to wear something as clunky as the Bose headsets to have the tinnitis be silenced only at home. Oh, well.

A friend sent me a newspaper cutting this morning about a drug called AM10 which is being used experimentally in clinical trials for the treatment of Tinnitus in Germany.

Thanks for the glimmer of hope, Rimmer! (But, OUCH! A needle through the ear drum?)

Thanks for all the well-reasoned replies.

#6 Lopburi99

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Posted 2009-07-10 09:24:33

As I type this my tinnitus is screaming away in my ears, mostly my left one. However, here is something to ponder: My tinnitus has worsened since returning to the States last month. I had remarked to my family before that while in Thailand my ringing has been lessening, and was even absent on some days. Now upon leaving Thailand, the connection maybe is proving true (for me anyway).

I will be tracking my tinnitus after I return to LOS in two weeks . My hope, if not expectation, is to notice my tinnitus lessening once again. My guess is it may be diet related. Now being in the States, I am back to eating all the unhealthy food I'd eaten most of my life. In Thailand, my wife makes me eat fresh fish almost every day, with loads of fruit and veggies. Also, because it is so hot I drink volumes of water.

Anybody else experience a tinnitus improvement in LOS?

#7 Chinavet

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Posted 2009-07-10 09:26:17

For what it's worth, I seem to have progressive success as I get older and more practiced at simply 'tuning' my Tinnitus out. Hard to explain but it's along the lines of relax, accept, ignore. Paying mental attention to the little siren in the head seems to guarantee the switch stays on. Knowing I can reduce it to a short lived minor annoyance seems to return success that feeds on itself.

Hope it helps and works for others.

#8 wpcoe

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Posted 2009-07-10 09:40:40

I first heard about tinnitus maskers in a short article in a Pattaya newspaper saying they were available at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya. I went there and the first couple nurses (? at least they were wearing what I thought was a nurse's uniform) at the audiology desk had no idea what I was talking about. Finally someone came out who was not in a nurse's uniform (so either a doctor or audiologist?) and knew what I was referring to, but her overall opinion seemed to be that they were very expensive and probably not worth it.

I did some internet searches about tinnitus maskers, and downloaded a variety of white-noise type of recordings to see if they worked, and none did. Through all but one (a dishwasher noise that was so loud and abrasive, I'd prefer the tinnitus) I could still hear the ringing, even when the volume was turned up.

For those not familiar with tinnitus maskers, this seems to be the best synopsis I read. It summarizes many ideas I found on other pages:

2 – Tinnitus maskers. Tinnitus maskers are prescribed to patients who do not have significant hearing loss. The devices are similar to hearing aids except that they do not amplify sound; they produce a sound which masks tinnitus. The sound is designed to be more acceptable to the patient than the sound of the tinnitus. The brain can very easily learn to ignore external sound, especially if it’s at a constant level and frequency, though it has much more difficulty ignoring internal sound such as tinnitus. Therefore, if you mask the tinnitus externally, your brain will learn to ignore it and therefore ignore the tinnitus itself.

Recently, maskers have been developed that can be individually tuned to match the tinnitus frequency. These new maskers give more flexibility to the patient because the frequency can be tuned to be both more effective at masking and more acceptable to the patient.

One important side effect that occurs in a small number of people who have tinnitus maskers is after the maskers are turned off, the tinnitus continues at the reduced level for a period of time. This is referred to as Residual Inhibition. For most people this lasts a very short time but for others it can last a considerable amount of time.

http://www.tinnitusf...ments/mask.aspx

I struggle with the concept that when the brain learns to ignore the external sound, the tinnitus is ignored as well, but apparently this is tried and true science.

Anybody here have any actual experience with a tinnitus masker?

#9 bdenner

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Posted 2009-07-10 10:37:16

Had tinnitus in both ears for at least 5 years where it's been annoying but levelled out. Started many years before steadily increasing in intensity.

Searched hi and lo for some relief without success. AND been told that none will be coming in the foreseeable future. Some quacks have tried to sell me this so called phase reversal sound technology but specialists have warned me off it.

Right now I've learned to live with it and blank it out. Only comes to the front of my psychic when someone mentions it, a loud noise or music or I see it in writing as in this thread. My ears are screaming as I type this --- time to go!

#10 wpcoe

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Posted 2009-07-10 11:38:21

Some quacks have tried to sell me this so called phase reversal sound technology but specialists have warned me off it.

Sounds like either noise-cancellation technology or tinnitus masking.

And, of course, you (and others) are correct that most of the time the ringing is able to be ignored, especially during the daytime for me, but as I read/post on this thread it screams at full volume because it's in my conscious attention.

The main time I'm looking for relief is relaxing at home in the evening and when I try to go to sleep.

#11 offset

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Posted 2009-07-10 12:20:38

The main time I'm looking for relief is relaxing at home in the evening and when I try to go to sleep.
[/quote]

When I told a doctor that in the UK all the advice I got was to turn the radio on I gave up on a cure then

#12 autonomous_unit

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Posted 2009-07-12 07:22:59

Maybe you just notice the tinnitus more in the states since there is less noise masking it? I notice my notebook computer fan is also "louder" in the states than in Thailand. But I've come to realize that Thailand abhors silence, so all the equipment, workers, children, vehicles, weather, birds, and even insects coordinate to make sure it never gets quiet there.

Oh great, now I've gotten wistful about the many different kinds of quiet in California...

#13 Lopburi99

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Posted 2009-07-12 07:49:20

Maybe you just notice the tinnitus more in the states since there is less noise masking it? I notice my notebook computer fan is also "louder" in the states than in Thailand. But I've come to realize that Thailand abhors silence, so all the equipment, workers, children, vehicles, weather, birds, and even insects coordinate to make sure it never gets quiet there.

Oh great, now I've gotten wistful about the many different kinds of quiet in California...

A_u, you started me thinking. Actually, maybe I notice my tinnitus more in the states because the ringing is in English, not Thai as when I am in Thailand. And I learned to tune out Thai long ago.

I think that explains it! :)

Edited by Lopburi99, 2009-07-12 07:55:46.


#14 Lopburi99

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Posted 2009-07-12 07:55:01

Maybe you just notice the tinnitus more in the states since there is less noise masking it? I notice my notebook computer fan is also "louder" in the states than in Thailand. But I've come to realize that Thailand abhors silence, so all the equipment, workers, children, vehicles, weather, birds, and even insects coordinate to make sure it never gets quiet there.

Oh great, now I've gotten wistful about the many different kinds of quiet in California...


But to your point, there may some truth there I think. It is dead quiet where I stay in the States, lovely I might add. In Thailand frigging countless motorcycles blasting out revs, topped only by the usual sans muffler 50 year old trucks (do they ever retire these beasts?). Then of course there is the chorus of barking dogs, ever assuring an uninterrupted good night sleep never occurs. Our new house will be in the a farming area where there is some semblance of peace (I hope).

#15 tutone

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Posted 2009-07-12 13:56:00

I have had tinnitus for well over 20 years. I really can't remember how long. I started wearing hearing aids about 4 years ago and immediately noticed my tinnitus had diminished but not disappeared. For me the quieter the environment the more likely I am to notice the ringing in my ears. So any situation that introduces sound to the ears seems to help me. If you have tinnitus you probably have a hearing loss as well and though expensive, getting hearing aids was one of the best investments I ever made. It opened up the world and cut down the inner buzz as well.

#16 Old Man River

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Posted 2009-07-12 20:05:19

I have had tinnitus for well over 20 years. I really can't remember how long. I started wearing hearing aids about 4 years ago and immediately noticed my tinnitus had diminished but not disappeared. For me the quieter the environment the more likely I am to notice the ringing in my ears. So any situation that introduces sound to the ears seems to help me. If you have tinnitus you probably have a hearing loss as well and though expensive, getting hearing aids was one of the best investments I ever made. It opened up the world and cut down the inner buzz as well.

That has been my mom's experience as well. I now also suffer from tinnitus and asked a specialist in Thailand about hearing aids and tinnitus and she also agreed, saying that hearing aids mask the sound.

#17 wpcoe

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Posted 2009-07-13 14:11:34

A_u, you started me thinking. Actually, maybe I notice my tinnitus more in the states because the ringing is in English, not Thai as when I am in Thailand. And I learned to tune out Thai long ago.

Be very careful. Those voices are not tinnitis at all, and they are *not* your Friend. :)

#18 Livinginexile

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Posted 2009-07-14 10:48:56

For what it's worth, I seem to have progressive success as I get older and more practiced at simply 'tuning' my Tinnitus out. Hard to explain but it's along the lines of relax, accept, ignore. Paying mental attention to the little siren in the head seems to guarantee the switch stays on. Knowing I can reduce it to a short lived minor annoyance seems to return success that feeds on itself.

Hope it helps and works for others.


Yes,

I use the same method.
When it is bad I use a bit of background noice to drown it out, a radio on low volume for example.
I've had it for over 15 years, I think I've grown used to it now.

#19 Dakhar

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Posted 2009-07-26 08:01:21

There has been some development in the use of tinnitis maskers, and cancelation technology.

MicroDSP developed an audiometer that is specifically designed to locate the specific frequency that the tinnitis "ringing" at, and the audiometer can burn a CD that you can play back at a continious loop at your house to cancel out the Tinnitis.

They have also developed ear level worn tinnitis maskers that can be programmed to your specific tinnitis frequencies....

Fairly fancy technology....

Trouble is NO ONE in Thailand has this audiometer.... and I am probably the only Audiologist in Thailand even aware of this particular machine.

Of course when you considers there is only one audiology program in the nation, and it only offers a Bachelors degree in the field.... one should not be surprised. (in the states you must have a doctorate degree to be an audiologist)

My advice:

90+% of those that suffer from tinnitus also have a sensory neural hearing loss. For these people, simply using hearing aids resolves the tinnitis, and the hearing loss at the same time.... "Two birds with one stone" kind of thing.

If you are worried about the cosmetics of a hearing aid, you should check out the GnResound DOT, it doesn't get much better than than that....



#20 fishhooks

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Posted 2009-08-02 19:53:45

I had a repeat dose of intermittent Tinnitus just today.
Went shopping with TW to "The Mall" in Korat.
In nearly all areas of this shopping centre, the loudest sounds imaginable were evident from promotions and various forms of entertainment, some in close proximity to each other and obviously trying to win the decibal war.
I don't think in any other country in the modern world you would hear the sound levels that appear to be the 'norm' here.
Wonder if they will ever wake up to the fact that permanent damage will result!

#21 RitchieIngram

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Posted 2009-08-04 19:05:02

The BTA has received an increasing number of enquiries about claims for a new method for alleviating tinnitus sensations. This method is known as active noise cancellation or active noise control (ANC for short). ANC is the name for a general technique which can be used to attenuate offending background sounds in the external environment. Many readers of Quiet may already have heard about this technique since headphone systems incorporating ANC technology have been widely advertised in the popular press and are available from a number of commercial outlets. These systems have proved to be highly successful in reducing unwanted ambient sounds that are typically generated in noisy enclosed spaces.

#22 Dakhar

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Posted 2009-08-05 07:43:19

The BTA has received an increasing number of enquiries about claims for a new method for alleviating tinnitus sensations. This method is known as active noise cancellation or active noise control (ANC for short). ANC is the name for a general technique which can be used to attenuate offending background sounds in the external environment. Many readers of Quiet may already have heard about this technique since headphone systems incorporating ANC technology have been widely advertised in the popular press and are available from a number of commercial outlets. These systems have proved to be highly successful in reducing unwanted ambient sounds that are typically generated in noisy enclosed spaces.



The topic is "tinnitis" not "unwanted ambient sounds" which is vastly different.

#23 skipvice

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Posted 2009-08-05 08:33:24

The BTA has received an increasing number of enquiries about claims for a new method for alleviating tinnitus sensations. This method is known as active noise cancellation or active noise control (ANC for short). ANC is the name for a general technique which can be used to attenuate offending background sounds in the external environment. Many readers of Quiet may already have heard about this technique since headphone systems incorporating ANC technology have been widely advertised in the popular press and are available from a number of commercial outlets. These systems have proved to be highly successful in reducing unwanted ambient sounds that are typically generated in noisy enclosed spaces.



The topic is "tinnitis" not "unwanted ambient sounds" which is vastly different.




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