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New Device to Ease Symptoms of Tinnitus

Hearing aid

A new device called ‘Mutebutton’ has been invented to help to ease the symptoms of tinnitus.  This consists of headphones and a little device, shaped like a lollipop, which you place on your tongue.  Calming music and nature sounds emanate from the headphones, while the tongue is being stimulated by the device at the same time.  Scientific studies have revealed that it has reduced the symptoms of tinnitus in people, by up to 40 percent.  Tinnitus affects about 45,000 people in Ireland.  It can cause disruptions in both the sufferer’s work life and relationships.  It can cause depression in some people and sometimes antidepressants and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) are prescribed for this problem.


Causes of Tinnitus


Hearing loss

Exposure to loud noise

Earwax blockage

Ear bone changes

Head or neck problems

Some Medications can cause Tinnitus


Some cancer medications



Some antidepressants



The Mutebutton re-trains the brain, through the nerve endings in the tongue, and this reduces the noise levels of tinnitus. After the patient receives a hearing test with an audiologist, a device is specifically tailored to meet their individual needs.  A study at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth, tested 60 people who suffered from tinnitus, over a period of six months.  The patients were asked to use the devices for half an hour daily for ten weeks.  After the ten weeks, 42 percent of the volunteers noticed a reduction in their symptoms.  Louise Hart, a Senior Audiologist said: ‘We welcome all new research as the mechanisms behind this debilitating condition are still not fully understood, and more progress is needed to improve the chances of effective treatments in the future.  More evidence is needed on the effectiveness of this device, before it can offer real hope to the millions of tinnitus sufferers’.

Scientists at the University of Iowa in the U.S have discovered that there are different areas of the brain which cause tinnitus, not just the auditory cortex.  Most treatments in the past focused on the auditory cortex ,which now explains why tinnitus has been difficult to treat.

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