Got an Annoying Ringing In Your Ears? There’s Now an App for That

I’ve written about my poor mother and her tinnitus many times. She lives with a high-frequency squeal in her ears that never, ever goes away. She has to leave the radio on at night to drown out the ringing, the side effect of which is that she believes an alarming amount of what she hears on Coast-to-Coast. (Please don’t engage her in any conversations about the coming catastrophic polar shift; you’ll lose hours of your life.)

Like many people with tinnitus, she’s seen all sorts of specialists and tried all sorts of remedies with zero results. But this new app holds promise. From Engadget:

Tinnitus affects the ears but it originates in the brain. The condition, which causes ringing in the ears, is mainly triggered by age-related hearing loss and prolonged exposure to excessively loud noise. But neuroscientific studies reveal that tinnitus is a symptom of abnormal hyperactivity in the brain’s auditory cortex. While most people affected by it resign themselves to chronic pain, Tinnitracks, a new web-based app, claims to treat the cause of the problem through filtered audio therapy.

The premise of the app, from German startup Sonormed, is neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to adapt and constantly learn new things. The app analyzes individual tracks and filters the frequency that causes tinnitus for each user. On playback, the listener’s hearing adapts to the audible alteration (or notches) and over time the hyperactivity in the brain is toned down. Essentially, it takes three steps: select music files from personal collection, filter tinnitus frequency and upload a personalized track to an MP3 player to start therapy.

Time to get mom an iPod.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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