Electro-mechanical stimulation for the treatment of tinnitus disorder
The system comprises a proximal element contacting bone processes close to a user’s ear, and an input element. The proximal element generates vibrations at adjustable frequency, intensity and wavelength to reduce tinnitus in the user. The input element relies to the proximal element instructions from the user as to which frequency, intensity and/or wavelength perception of tinnitus is significantly reduced.
Tinnitus is an extremely frequent disorder, characterised by aberrant auditory perception, which interferes with the normal daily activities of patients, particularly on the correct perception of sounds and speech, as well as sleep alterations, to the point of debilitating cognitive-behavioural problems. Tinnitus is currently treated by masking the typical perceived frequency, through an external or surgically implanted audio device; these often-invasive treatments also create an occlusion of the auditory canal and a restricted perception of sounds. To overcome these difficulties, the present invention consists of an electromechanical stimulation system, and related wearable device, generating and transmitting mechanical vibrations to the bone processes near a user’s ear. A transceiver element receives control signals from a transmitter element of the input interface which, via a microcontroller, allows the user to generate vibrations at frequencies varying from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The user instructs the input element to stop the scanning of frequencies where the tinnitus symptoms are significantly reduced. The information is relayed back to the microcontroller, which signals the electromechanical device in the proximal unit to maintain stimulation of the bone process at that frequency.
- ICT applied to medicine;
- Treatment of tinnitus disorder.
- Surgery not required for device positioning;
- Proximal element outside of ear canal, avoiding sound isolation;
- Minimal background noise;
- User friendly, enables independence from therapist;
- Compatible with hearing aid devices.