Headphone technology that can sense early indications of tinnitus

Headphone technology that can sense early indications of tinnitus

Have you ever experienced continuous buzzing, whistling, or ringing in your ear? It is known as Tinnitus, also referred as the “ringing in the ears,” is a common health ailment experienced by 1 in 5 people. The individual with tinnitus never gets a break. Except him, no one else can hear the voice as it comes from within the body and not an external source. Tinnitus is caused by several reasons and varies from person to person. The most ordinary cause of the condition is exposure to noise but also be caused by, for instance, disease, head injuries, stress, and drugs. Even though it is not a severe health condition, it may result in insomnia and stress in sufferers.

Hearing damage is not always certain if you do not belong to the high-risk surroundings such as that in the military. However, due to the major transformations in the lifestyle, noise pollution and loud music have become common, which has resulted in many people suffering from hearing issues. With the access to an easy detection technology just like other consumer products, people can regularly self-monitor and thus, can rapidly act on ailments such as tinnitus, which can result in life-changing consequence on the sufferers.

Plextek, Cambridge-based, a product development consultancy has developed equipment that may enable everyone to identify early indications of tinnitus. If an individual could recognize the condition to be in its initial stage, it can be helpful for him/her to take a precautionary step and avoid it from developing into something more devastating. At present, people go to the audiologist and utilize expensive devices to validate the development of tinnitus, but Plextek claims its technology with the use of a smartphone app and pair of headphones can do the same.

The technology function by precisely observing fine alterations to the Auditory Evoked Potentials,’ which are electrical signals generated by the cochlea that passes through an intricate pathway to the brain. In an individual suffering from tinnitus, these can produce without an exterior audio stimulant, so sensing them when there is no noise can be suggestive of the tinnitus onset. With the use of a standard USB audio card and laptop, the trials demonstrated it to possible to capture ABR waveforms by means of in-ear headphones, with everyday brands such as Sony and Sennheiser, to effectively exhibit its mass audience appeal.

What is your opinion regarding this innovative headphone technology?