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Sound System Helps Brain Diminish Tinnitus Effects

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 01 Oct 2014
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Image: The Levo System includes an Apple iPad Air and an iPod (Photo courtesy of Otoharmonics).
Image: The Levo System includes an Apple iPad Air and an iPod (Photo courtesy of Otoharmonics).
A personalized sound therapy system leverages the brain's natural cognitive abilities for use in temporarily relieving the symptoms of tinnitus.

The Levo System includes an Apple iPad Air preinstalled with proprietary Manager software for the physician, an interactive tool that is used to first identify and map each individual’s tinnitus sounds, and then create a personalized, unique sound therapy; it also tracks the patient’s improvement over time. The patient side of the system includes an iPod with preinstalled Levo software and custom-fit ear buds, which are designed to ensure comfort during sleep, allow for optimal positioning and controlled delivery of sound therapy. The patients can share their individual progress with their hearing professional to determine needed improvements over time.

The sound therapy is a combination of individually selected sounds, which include pure sinusoidal amplitude modulated (SAM) tones; white noise tones (S-Tones); narrowband predefined white noises; and broadband SAM tones. The combination of tinnitus pitch matched tones, narrow-band noise centered at the tinnitus frequency, and broad-band noise help the brain mask the tinnitus. The Levo System is a product of Otoharmonics (Portland, OR, USA), and has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“With the ability to personalize therapy based on the individual needs of each person, we're now raising the bar in tinnitus management,” said Michael Baker, CEO of Otoharmonics.

Tinnitus is the perception of sound within the human ear when no actual sound is present. While it may be a result of sensorineural or congenital hearing loss, or a side effect of certain medications, the most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss. The condition can also result from a wide range of underlying causes, such as neurological damage, ear infections, oxidative stress, foreign objects, nasal allergies, and wax build-up. Tinnitus is common, with about 20% of people 55–65 years old reporting symptoms on a general health questionnaire, and 11.8% on more detailed tinnitus-specific questionnaires.

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