Excessive noise is often the cause of tinnitus
Experts at the University Hospital Münster (UKM) warn of the dangers of constant noise pollution on the occasion of the worldwide Noise Day event. Possible consequences may range from "lack of concentration and increased stress levels to burdensome tinnitus (ringing in the ears)," the note in the latest press release from the UKM. In the long term, excessive noise pollution also threatens noise deafness and other health problems.
Hearing is exposed to many levels of noise in everyday life. Listening to loud music on the in-ear headphones and the noise in the workplace are typical examples of excessive noise levels. In some cases up to 100 decibels (dB) are achieved, which represent "an immense strain on the ear", remarks Professor Dr. med. Christo Pantev, Director of the Institute for Biomagnetism and Biosignal Analysis at the Medical Faculty of Münster. Tinnitus is then a common consequence.Ottering is a typical consequence of high noise pollution. (Image: psdesign1 / fotolia.com)
Tinnitus as a constant companion
According to the experts of the UKM, the burdensome ringing of the ear begins in the inner ear and only leads to a partial hearing loss, which is compensated by the brain. However, it comes "over time to a completely independent of the ear controlled sound sensation," explains Professor Pantev. For example, the hyperactive neurons in the brain permanently send out signals that only those affected can hear. The tinnitus is enormously limited to the constant companions of the patients and their quality of life through the tinnitus perception. To help these people, the scientists in Münster have developed according to their own specification "an electrophysiological music therapy". It is designed to alleviate tinnitus and reduce stress in everyday life.
App for the relief of tinnitus
Based on neuroscientific studies with more than 250 participants, the researchers were able to identify "a positive-alleviating effect of the so-called physiological effect of lateral inhibition," reports the UKM. "We are virtually setting a score in the music spectrum around the frequency of tinnitus and thus adapt the music individually," explains Professor Pantev the process. By omitting the respective frequencies in the music spectrum further irritation of the neurons responsible for the tinnitus is avoided and by mobilizing the neighboring neurons tinnitus can be permanently alleviated. In the course of their studies, the subjects had the average tinnitus loudness decreased by about 25 percent, the researchers report. An app is currently being developed in cooperation with an Australian company, with the help of which affected persons can first reliably determine their tinnitus frequency and then adjust their favorite music accordingly. The app is expected to be available in the summer of 2016 and by a sufficiently long use, they could lead to a lasting reduction of the ears.
However, according to the experts, tinnitus can sometimes be a side effect of drugs such as antidepressants or antihypertensives. Therefore, a consultation with the attending physician is urgently required. (Fp)