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Tinnitracks treats tinnitus by playing your favourite music to you

Tinnitracks is a website and smartphone-application that treats tinnitus by getting you to listen to specially-crafted music over a period of time.

A number of studies (see below) have shown that tinnitus sufferers who listen to filtered (or "notched") music see some considerable improvement in their tinnitus after several months. The music used in the treatment is filtered to remove sounds at the specific frequency of the person's tinnitus - so music used in the treatment is tailored specificlly for the individual. Luckily, almost any music can be filtered and used, so you probably won't have to spend months listening to something you really can't stand.

There are two types of tinnitus: subjective and objective. Objective tinnitus can be detected by other people and is usually caused by myoclonus or a vascular condition. In some cases, it is generated by a self-sustained oscillation within the ear, which can arise from muscle spasms around the middle ear. Subjective tinnitus is the most frequent type, it can have many possible causes but, most commonly, results from hearing loss and noise exposure which damages hair cells in the inner ear. Subjective tinnitus can only be heard by the affected person.

Tinnitraks works for subjective tinnitus sufferers and those who are aged 18-60 and have a hearing loss of less than 65 dB are likely to see the best results.

The core idea indicated in the research, and the key to Tinnitracks' treatment is that subjective tinnitus sufferers have increased activity in their brain's auditory cortex that relates specifically to the frequency of their tinnitus - and so by exposing the brain to sounds (the music) with that frequency removed it will re-balance that increased activity and reduce tinnitus symptoms. 

Tinnitracks is currently only available in Germany but hopes to gain approval from the relevant medical boards and offer its treatment in other countries.

Study sources

  • 1 Okamoto, H., & Stracke, H., Stoll, W., & Pantev, C. (2010). Listening to tailor-made notched music reduces tinnitus loudness and tinnitus-related auditory cortex activity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(3), 1207–1210.
  • 2 Pantev, C., Okamoto, H., & Teismann, H. (2012a). Music-induced cortical plasticity and lateral inhibition in the human auditory cortex as foundations for tonal tinnitus treatment. Frontiers in systems neuroscience, 6(June), 50.
  • 3 Pantev, C., Okamoto, H., & Teismann, H. (2012b). Tinnitus: the dark side of the auditory cortex plasticity. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1252(1), 253–8.
  • 4 Stracke, H. , Okamoto, H., Pantev, C.( 2010). Customized notched music training reduces tinnitus loudness. Communicative integrative biology, 3(3), 274–277.

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