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Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a buzz, or bells, or even hissing and chirping sounds where none exist. A number of different types of therapies are available to help manage the symptoms of Tinnitus.
One of the key ways that people who suffer from Tinnitus are able to cope with the symptoms is through distraction and sound techniques. A number of natural herbal and alternative medicines are thought to work well for relieving the symptoms of Tinnitus.
It was very interesting to hear the two individuals who had ‘mild’ tinnitus describe what it meant to bring their tinnitus under control. Three of these four patients also vividly described improvements in listening and language abilities, in their attentional control, and in memory and other cognitive abilities resulting from Brain Fitness Program training. It was interesting to see that strong benefits appeared to have been retained in these individuals for at least many weeks after they had completed training. We are excited by these results at Posit because we believe that we can augment these effects — and likely still further reduce both the intrusiveness, and the magnitude of the ringing in the ears itself.
In the meantime, with this preliminary evidence of strong benefits, if tinnitus plagues YOUR life, you might think about initiating Brain Fitness Program training, because there would appear to be a good likelihood that it may be a source of real help for you.
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About Brain PlasticityBrain plasticity is a term that sounds odd to the average person, for whom the word “plastic” brings up images of tupperware and Saran Wrap.
The trial was undertaken at Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) and the Ear Institute at University College London and was sponsored by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. This study systematically evaluated a new, targeted, sound-based device for tinnitus using a two-centre randomised controlled trial conducted at NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU and UCL Ear Institute, London.
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and The Tinnitus Clinic were discussing a new trial on Acoustic CR Neuromodulation. University of Texas Dallas researchers have demonstrated that treating tinnitus or ringing in the ears, using vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)-tone therapy is safe and brought significant improvement to some of the participants in a small clinical trial.
Sven Vanneste, PhD, and Michael Kilgard, PhD, of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences used a new method pairing VNS with auditory tones to alleviate the symptoms of chronic tinnitus. The study, which took place in Antwerp, Belgium, involved implanting 10 tinnitus sufferers with a stimulation electrode directly on the vagus nerve.
Half of the participants demonstrated large decreases in their tinnitus symptoms, with three of them showing a 44% reduction in the impact of tinnitus on their daily lives. According to Vanneste, more than 12 million Americans have tinnitus severe enough to seek medical attention, of which 2 million are so disabled that they cannot function normally. Researchers at Antwerp University Hospital and MicroTransponder Inc also contributed to the study.
There are several reasons behind the cause of it- it can be due to the excessive amounts of earwax which may lead to an ear infection causing the condition, or even the aftermath of a loud bang or explosion. It is an auditory condition whereby the sufferer hears noises such as ringing, buzzing, whistling or even music which does not come from an external source. At night time the symptoms of Tinnitus can be worse as the sounds seem much louder, making it difficult to mentally switch off and relax enough to sleep. People respond differently to these treatments but some people have found them extremely useful. However, as Tinnitus is a condition caused by something else, rather than a disorder in itself, this section looks at treating the underlying cause of Tinnitus.
Piccirillo measured the amplitude of the ringing or clattering sounds that these patients heard, and explained that he did not believe that this the tinnitus loudness had been consistently altered by Brain Fitness Program training.


I was struck, once again, by the cavalier way that a doctor can use of the word “mild” to describe something that I’m just damn glad that I do not have to endure.
We are now working hard to evaluate the effectiveness of these new-and-improved strategies.
Among neuroscientists, though, brain plasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change—for better or worse—throughout life.
Enter your email and we will keep you up to date with the latest information, solutions and tips. In 2012, The Tinnitus Clinic Ltd contracted a 100 participant clinical trial (randomised controlled double blind) to establish whether or not this treatment works under properly controlled conditions.
We quantified patient benefit using a range of different validated outcome measures, but the main outcome was a change in self-reported tinnitus distress measured by a questionnaire. Review of the trial by independent auditors, however, concluded that there had been deviations from trial protocol and lack of compliance with the manufacturer’s fitting instructions.
All the results have been uploaded onto ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01541969) and will soon be publicly available.
Independent tinnitus clinical trials of this kind are currently relatively uncommon within the UK. Why did it take nearly a year from when the results were expected to decide that the results were not reliable?
The independent audit and an internal review by the Sponsor, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, both agreed that there was a lack of scientific robustness across trial results.
Their results were published last month in the journal Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface. Four people demonstrated clinically meaningful reductions in the perceived loudness of their tinnitus by 26 dB.
There are about 50 million adults and children in the United States alone who face this problem. Here are some key examples of the types of therapies available: Tinnitus re-training therapy - Tinnitus-retraining therapy is a therapeutic approach which effectively retrains the way your brain responds to tinnitus.
Tinnitus caused by a build-up of earwax can be alleviated through the use of eardrops or ear irrigation. Harold Burton have conducted very important studies in tinnitus patients in their Wash U laboratories. What changes is 1) the frequency with which tinnitus rose to consciousness in ways that disrupt an individual’s effective operations at work or in their personal life and 2) the intrusive, disturbing power of the tinnitus. Just as for more severely affected individuals, these ‘mild tinnitus’ sufferers described major life-improvement consequences of completing Brain Fitness Program training. It’s an incredibly important and personal process: by defining our brain development, it shapes each of our distinct personalities.
None of these factors were individually critical, but, when considered together, there was concern that the results of the study could not be regarded as scientifically robust. A number of articles are in various stages of submission to peer-reviewed journals and these report information gathered during the study that will inform the design of future trials.
There has been significant learning both from this trial and the auditors’ findings that will be taken into future trials for tinnitus devices. Our experience from the trial has led the Nottingham Hearing BRU and Nottingham University Hospitals Trust to make changes in how our clinical trials are set up, conducted and monitored and we have also increased levels of staff training and supervision.
The device could be made available on the NHS if Clinical Commissioning Groups or Hospitals chose to commission it. Such reviews also inevitably take some time to complete a detailed investigation of the trial.


VNS is an FDA-approved method for treating various illnesses, including depression and epilepsy. The participants had lived with tinnitus for at least a year prior to participating in the study, and showed no benefit from previous audiological, drug, or neuromodulation treatments.
This works by redirecting the brains attention from the tinnitus signal, the sufferer becoming habituated to the sounds of Tinnitus and gradually begins able to tune them out. After documenting the tinnitus and the neurological differences between normal individuals and patients with more tolerable (“mild”) or intolerable (“severe”) tinnitus, they sent 20 patients to the ‘brain gym’ to be trained in more accurate listening using Posit Science’s Brain Fitness Program. After training, it was far easier for these patients to willfully ignore their tinnitus when it did arise, putting it in its proper place as meaningless noise, not to be attended to.
Piccirillo’s studies of the brains of these patients document clear evidence of tinnitus-induced brain changes that translate into accelerated cognitive loss. It is therefore with regret that all the parties have concluded that the results of the trial cannot be published with confidence. The limitations of the study set out in the above reports include inadequate specification of the Clinical Trial Protocol, particularly with regard to (i) device fitting, (ii) tolerance for pitch matching shifts and (iii) monitoring of research audiologists after training. We are confident that future trials in tinnitus in Nottingham will conducted to a very high standard and that there will be no repetition of the difficulties experienced during the trial of Acoustic CR® Neuromodulation. Electrical pulses were generated from an external device for this study, but future work could involve using internal generators, eliminating the need for clinical visits. Tinnitus re-training combines periods of listening to low levels of specially created sounds with counselling sessions. For about 4 million of them, the tinnitus is identified as “severe” – which means that it is continuously disturbing and intrusive, makes normal sleep very difficult or impossible, has extended cognitive impacts, and grossly degrades the sufferer’s quality of life.
Regrettably, these shortcomings in the trial set-up mean that the device was not tested according to manufacturer’s protocol.
Also, some of the data collected during the recruitment phase for the trial will provide useful information and this will be published to inform the design of future trials. Their tinnitus was continuously annoying and destructive, and with them all through their waking hours. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has disclosed to the Brook Henderson Group a set of recommended actions relating to what additional knowledge one would need prior to developing a new trial including feasibility research necessary to inform trial design , irrespective of whether Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust sponsors that trial or not.
The results of the trial cannot therefore be regarded as a robust test of the efficacy of Acoustic CR Neuromodulation as currently used, and do not contribute to the scientific literature and debate in the way we, and our patients, would have wished. They were perpetually tired and disconnected because they could only sleep when they reached a state of exhaustion and near-collapse.
It was wonderful to see that both anti-tinnitus benefits and cognitive recovery were both recorded after BFP training. Nottingham Hearing BRU, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and The Tinnitus Clinic are very grateful for the time and effort of the participants of the original trial.
The study did not meet the criteria for publication as a clinical trial, but has provided important information on the scientific basis of clinical trials in tinnitus which will be published shortly. Both “severe” and “mild” sufferers said that tinnitus bouts were substantially less frequent after training. All said that they had more control over their tinnitus, and could now ‘put it out of their mind’ at will.



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