Tinnitus is a condition that generally affects people who are regularly exposed to loud noises, such as musicians, people who work with heavy machinery, and military veterans. Recent statistics suggest that it affects about one out of 10 adults, and while it is generally distinguished by ringing in the ears, it can also result in more serious consequences, such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. The condition still has no known cure, but a new form of technology known as the Levo System could offer hope to patients who have long suffered from tinnitus and its symptoms.
According to a report from CBS News, the idea behind the new technology is to accustom tinnitus sufferers to the sounds associated with their condition. The system produces a simulated version of how a patient's tinnitus sounds like, upon which they are asked to listen to the sounds on an iPod while sleeping, over a span of 90 consecutive nights. As a person's brain is more flexible while they're asleep, the researchers behind the technology believe that patients who use Levo will eventually be used to the ringing noises.
"It's very difficult to say you are going to be able to make the sound disappear completely," said Dr. Yu-Ting Wong of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in an interview with CBS News.
"What you're trying to do with most tinnitus therapies is make the sound more tolerable."