R&D Blog

The R&D Blog is a forum for manufacturers to share their latest research and news, but more importantly is a place for readers to comment and discuss new developments with them. Above all, it is a forum for opinions, questions, and discussions about hearing aid technology between manufacturers and hearing healthcare professionals. Submit an article for the R&D Blog by sending it to the editor at HJ@wolterskluwer.com. Articles should be no more than 1,500 words, and will be reviewed and edited before posting. Readers may submit comments, which will be moderated, by clicking the link below.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What’s That Buzz? Finding a Solution for Tinnitus
By Lindsay Prusick, AuD
Education & Training Audiologist, Starkey Hearing Technologies
It affects 10 percent of Americans, no one has the same experience, and it does not discriminate. Can you guess what I am talking about? Tinnitus! The topic of tinnitus has become all the buzz.
Tinnitus is the perception of sound in one or both ears, or in the head, when no external sound is present. The sound is real, but no one except the patient hears it. 
Researchers and clinicians have worked for decades to figure out the treatment or combination of treatments that can provide relief to patients with tinnitus. However, to date, no one specific treatment has been shown to work for every patient. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options that have consistently been shown to help. 
When Starkey Hearing Technologies set out to develop a tinnitus management technology, we made it a priority to take into consideration clinical research evidence, current tinnitus management protocols, and the needs of tinnitus patients and hearing healthcare professionals.
We recently released Multiflex Tinnitus Technology in Xino Tinnitus, a discreet receiver-in-canal (RIC) 10 device that is the smallest standard hearing aid Starkey currently offers. It provides 12 channels for programming the hearing aid response and 16 bands for shaping the tinnitus stimulus. 
Xino Tinnitus is available in up to a 70-gain receiver and comes packed with our reliable and robust advanced features, including Spectral iQ, InVision Directionality, Voice iQ2, and, most notably, Multiflex Tinnitus Technology, which incorporates the elements of sound therapy, amplification, education, and personalization to provide patients with tinnitus relief.
Sound Therapy
Sound therapy has been shown to provide relief to many who have tinnitus. Sound therapy refers to the use of sound, such as noise, music, and relaxation sounds, to decrease the prominence of tinnitus. The sound can be set to a level that partially or fully masks tinnitus. 
Multiflex Tinnitus Technology offers a white noise stimulus that can be enabled on a per memory basis. The stimulus can either be steady state or modulated, which provides a breeze or wavelike sound quality to the tinnitus stimulus.
Hearing aids have been shown in many studies to provide relief from tinnitus to individuals who have both tinnitus and hearing loss. This relief may occur for a number of reasons but is most commonly attributed to the fact that hearing aids amplify ambient background sounds, which, in turn, may partially or fully mask the ringing sounds of tinnitus. 
It’s important to note that while Xino Tinnitus is a fully functioning hearing aid, it has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for use with tinnitus patients who have normal hearing, as it can be programmed to function as a sound generator only. 
Simply educating patients about tinnitus, such as its prevalence, known triggers, and treatment options, can provide initial relief. Individualized counseling personalizes treatment and can help individuals better manage their tinnitus, setting them up for long-term success. 
Starkey Hearing Technologies provides a number of AudiologyOnline courses to teach professionals about the counseling and educational aspects of working with patients who have tinnitus. We also provide a number of online resources at starkeypro.com/tinnitus.
A very important part of tinnitus treatment is personalization. Since every patient has different needs and a different tinnitus experience, it is extremely important that professionals personalize treatment to yield patient-perceived benefit and relief. 
Multiflex Tinnitus Technology offers a “Best Fit” tinnitus stimulus algorithm that shapes the stimulus based on the patient’s audiometric configuration, providing immediate personalization in the fitting of the device as well as an excellent starting point for professionals.
One of most singular features of Multiflex Tinnitus Technology is SoundPoint Tinnitus, which provides the tinnitus patient the ability to work with the professional during the fitting process to fine-tune and individualize relief to their exact specifications. 
Millions of Americans have tinnitus, and Starkey Hearing Technologies now offers a tinnitus management option for professionals. For more information and to get the Multiflex Tinnitus Technology experience, including a SoundPoint Tinnitus demo, please go to starkeypro.com/tinnitus.