Tinnitracks: People who suffer from tinnitus - a constant ringing in the ears - can now treat their condition by listening to their favourite music.
You may well know the shrill ringing that hijacks your ears after visiting a particularly loud concert. Annoying right?
Now imagine hearing that tone intensely, all the time – when you’re trying to work, when you’re trying to sleep, when you’re trying to spend quality time with friends and family.
This is the experience of more than 70m people across Europe who suffer from a debilitating hearing condition called Tinnitus.
Now an increasing number of people are able to access a revolutionary new musical treatment through a special app called Tinnitracks.
While there are other researchers trying to treat tinnitus – either with therapy in clinics, or physically with hearing aids – Tinnitracks is unique in its musical cure, co-founder Joerg Land explained at last week’s EIT Digital conference in Brussels.
“We are treating Tinnitus directly in the human brain – you don’t have to go to a clinic, you don’t need special hardware or a hearing aid,” he told The Memo.
“Tinnitracks is just listening to music: it’s convenient, it’s easy to integrate into your daily life.”
Tinnitracks works by filtering the tinnitus tones out of the music that the patient listens to, says Land. You need to make sure you are prescribed the correct frequency for your tinnitus (everyone is different), and that you use the app for 90 minutes a day, over at least 4 months
“The auditory cortex in human brain is like a piano,” he explains.
“Every frequency sits next to the other, and we just cut out the tones that are the tones of the patient’s tinnitus to have silence in this area.”
“Due to the cross linkage of the cells in the human brain, over time the neighbouring nerve cells will lower the hyperactivity of the tinnitus frequencies, and the perceived loudness of the disturbing sound.”
Founded in 2012, the rising German company became the first digital app available on prescription in Germany last year, making it available to tens of thousands of patients in the country.
The business is now on a mission to expand to provide an “international tinnitus solution”.
Just last week the company announced a new partnership with private healthcare company AXA PPP Healthcare, and it’s now taking on the FDA in a bid to become available in the US. Land says Tinnitracks plan to branch into the UK as soon as the NHS approves them for reimbursed prescriptions, and that it has similar plans for France and the Netherlands.
But challenges lie ahead. “Getting into the health system, it’s a nightmare,” said Land.
“The market is not made for digital solutions, there are a lot of regulations around data and security,” he explained. “What keeps me moving is changing the health market, pushing to build a framework for the market.”
“Helping improve quality life that’s what matters at the end of the day.”