Partnering Audiology Clinics

 

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We are excited to inform you that there are several clinics that are working with us or will be starting to work with us in the coming weeks. What this means is that tinnitus sufferers will have the option to come in to a clinic in person to have their hearing and tinnitus assessed and to then obtain our sound therapy from participating audiologists.  If you want to find out more about obtaining your own customized sound therapy through a partnering clinic, you can contact us.  We will also be listing partners and their locations for your convenience.  If you have any other questions about your tinnitus treatment options, please let us know!

Recognized by Rogers Communications

In recent months, we received support from Rogers after entering a Small Business Big Idea contest.  The panel of business experts chose 5 businesses from across Canada from hundreds of entries. In our entry, we leveraged our commitment to cutting-edge technology, which is key to producing an effective tinnitus sound therapy.  We continue this approach as we begin to bring our treatment into clinics across Ontario. You will hear more about this in upcoming posts and updates.

You can read more about Sound Options and the Rogers contest here.

Successful businesses run on great ideas. With that in mind, Rogers conducted the Small Business Big Idea Giveaway Contest in the fall of 2013, inviting Canadian entrepreneurs to share their ideas on how technology and communication could give their businesses a competitive edge.

Positive Results from 3-month Follow-up

Three-month follow-ups with some of the tinnitus sufferers who participated in our music therapy study reported positive results. Upon speaking with participants (pseudonyms are used) who have used our music package, they noted good changes to their tinnitus and improvements in their lifestyle, including:

  • A positive, noticeable change in tinnitus loudness. George noted that the music package helped make his tinnitus change from ‘deafening’ to a much more tolerable level. The tinnitus no longer distracts him as much as before with work tasks he has on hand.
  • More control over tinnitus. After listening to the music, Robert feels more in control of his tinnitus. The tinnitus used to be a strong ‘shhhh’ sound. Ever since committing to our music therapy study, he describes the change he has observed as the tinnitus in his ears adapting to the music tracks and allowing the music to control tinnitus pitch and loudness. As such, the previously loud pitches in the ears start to subside. For the first time, he feels lasting relief and in control of his tinnitus.
  • No more tinnitus during work. Victoria very much enjoys listening to the music tracks she received, and she notices that tinnitus can sometimes disappear altogether during her working hours. She listens to the music while at work, and it’s helping her cope with the loud ringing in her ears during work.
  • Improved sleep and better well-being. Ever since tinnitus entered Shawn’s life, he has been lacking sleep and due to this, he became easily irritated and quick-tempered. But for the very first time, he now has more hours of sleep after listening to the music package. The tinnitus is also less ‘consuming’ – now he needs to listen for the tinnitus to notice it. As he claims, the music package has greatly improved his sleeping patterns by getting more hours of sleep per day. Because of more sleep, he finds himself less irritable and feels he is taking a big step towards an improved quality of life.
  • No more stigma. Felix suggested that music loaded on any device that plays MP3 music was a great way to deliver a tinnitus treatment versus the use of hearing aids due to the stigma attached to hearing aids (being recognized as hearing impaired), when in fact tinnitus was his only major concern. Having a portable device with music to listen to is a modern way to treat tinnitus.
  • Portable device and effective sound therapy brings music to the ears. All participants that were interviewed during the follow-up collectively agreed that the music package brings so much convenience and joy. They can listen to the music whenever they choose, and wherever they are. Because the music package is different from traditional sound therapies that use white noise or pure tones and other sounds, commitment to routine listening was easy, and the entire experience was pleasant and relaxing.
  • More, Please! Last but not least, most participants in the study so far expressed a desire for more music tracks added to their collection, because they simply want more of something they love listening to every day!

Interview with Rogers Business Blog

Recently, Dr. Chrostowski, the founder of Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments Inc. was interviewed by Lauren from Rogers RedBoard Biz business blog.  They had a chance to discuss our approach to our customers,  innovation, and how we look to aim to move forward as a provider of next generation tinnitus sound therapies.

You can read the full article  here.

Sound Options has received support from Rogers after demonstrating a cutting-edge approach to treating tinnitus. We are excited to leverage the technology and support of Rogers to deliver treatments effectively and quickly.

Our New Website and Exciting News

We have recently launched our new website.  Our team has worked hard to fill this website with the kind of content that will be useful to tinnitus sufferers who want to know more about our next-generation sound therapy.

We look forward to keeping this blog active with information on our tinnitus treatment, trends in tinnitus research,  and any information that may be useful to the millions of people with tinnitus.

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What is even more exciting is that we are happy to report that early clinical tests of our customized music therapy have shown positive results. We are looking forward to continuing our clinical investigation to further validate the treatment that we have developed.

Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments is committed to providing a proven effective tinnitus therapy.

We’ve made great progress so far and we are close to being able to offer our treatment to the public.

Check back each week to see what we have been up to.

Treatment Software Update

 

We are happy to announce that the software used to customize our sound therapies is now complete. The last few weeks have involved thorough testing of our algorithms and software, and at this point we are ready to design customized sound therapies for tinnitus.

Our next step will be to conduct clinical tests of our sound therapy. Because we are the first to offer a sophisticated customized sound therapy that takes the underlying neuroscience of tinnitus into account, we want to measure just how effective this therapy will be. This will allow us to learn more early on, and may help us improve the software further.

We are also aiming to release a tool that allows people to describe their tinnitus so that we can use that information to customize tinnitus treatments for those that may be interested in trying out our sound therapy before we complete our study. When this tool is ready for use, we will make it available and you can decide if you would like to try our sound therapy.

 

– Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments Team

Tinnitus Treatment: Clinical Investigation

Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments clinical investigation has started

We are currently running a clinical investigation of our sound therapy. This study will help us understand how effective our therapy is and how effectiveness varies for people with different types of tinnitus and tinnitus severity. We have been both recruiting and running participants for the last couple of weeks and are excited to measure how well our treatment works. We are also interested in using our expertise in the area of tinnitus to shed light on the auditory disorder through this study.

If you think you may be interested in participating and you live in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, feel free to contact us to receive more details.

 

– Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments Team

Development Update

Development has been a key aspect of our growth process early on, and we are committed to doing it right.

We are happy to announce that the software used to customize our sound therapies is now complete. The last few weeks have involved thorough testing of our algorithms and software.

We will soon release a tool that allows people to describe their tinnitus so that we can use that information to customize tinnitus treatments for anyone that is presently interested. When this tool is ready for use, we will make it available and you can decide if you would like to try our sound therapy.

Our next step will be to conduct clinical tests of our sound therapy. While there is evidence that customizing a sound therapy for tinnitus is beneficial, we are the first to offer a sophisticated customized sound therapy that takes the underlying neuroscience of tinnitus into account, and so we want to measure just how effective this therapy will be. This will allow us to make further improvements to the treatment in the future.  If you think you may be interested in participating in this clinical study, feel free to send us an e-mail and we will contact you as the details for the study are finalized in the coming months.

 

– Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments Team

Hearing Aids and Tinnitus

Tinnitus most commonly results from hearing loss; in some cases, even when the hearing loss is not detected in a traditional hearing test, that does not mean there is no hearing loss.  For this reason, some tinnitus sufferers have benefited from the use of hearing aids.  That being said, hearing aids can be limited in how much they help in for two reasons.  Firstly, if your tinnitus is at a higher frequency than those frequencies amplified by traditional hearing aids, you may not receive much benefit (Schaette et al., 2010). Secondly, if you use a fitted hearing aid, sounds at lower frequencies may be partly affected/muffled by this type of hearing aid, and in some cases (i.e. if you do not have low-frequency hearing loss) it may make your tinnitus worse (Del Bo and Ambrosetti, 2007).  If the latter is the case, you may benefit from open ear hearing aids, and you should talk to your audiologist about this option. Also, you may have unilateral (one ear) or bilateral (both ears) tinnitus; for bilateral tinnitus, the use of two hearing aids has been found to be more helpful when hearing aids do work (Mencher and Davis, 2006). With that in mind, hearing aids do not help everyone (especially those with a tinnitus pitch that is too high), and unfortunately, they do not seem to be as effective as targeted or customized sound therapies (Schaette et al., 2010).

We are offering treatments that are delivered via personal listening devices, and that can target tinnitus at frequencies above those amplified by traditional hearing aids. That being said, there are additional issues for people that wish to wear headphones while wearing their hearing aids (such as feedback). While there are headphones out there (e.g. some BOSE around-the-ear headphones) that should reduce or eliminate any feedback, they are more expensive than standard headphones. Some hearing aid manufacturers produce aids with built-in Bluetooth functionality; these may be an interesting option for those that wish to try a sound therapy delivered directly through a hearing aid.

 

Schaette et al. 2010. Acoustic stimulation treatments against tinnitus could be most effective when tinnitus pitch is within the stimulated frequency range. Hear. Res. 269:95-101.

Mencher G.T. and Davis A. 2006. Bilateral or unilateral amplification: Is there a difference? A brief tutorial. Intl. J. of Audiol. 45:S3-S11.

Moffat G. et al. 2009. Effects of hearing aid fitting on the perceptual characteristics of tinnitus. Hear. Res. 254:82-91.

Del Bo L. & Ambrosetti U. 2007. Hearing aids for the treatment of tinnitus.  Prog. Brain. Res., 166:341-5.

Why seeing a physician may be a good idea if you’ve recently developed tinnitus.

In some cases, tinnitus can develop as a side effect of certain medications. If you find that the severity of your tinnitus is unmanageable, your physician may be able to suggest alternative medication that does not cause tinnitus for you. However, if this is not an option for you, options such as tinnitus management strategies or sound therapy may be worth considering.

It is also possible that tinnitus can result from fixable or temporary issues within your ear such as an external ear infection or earwax impaction.  Your physician or an otolaryngologist may be able to advise you or assist you under these circumstances. If this is what is causing your tinnitus, you may be able to eliminate the noise by dealing with such causes directly.

However, for most people, tinnitus results from hearing damage that occurs as we age or due to environmental noise exposure (this could be at work or through entertainment). In these cases, the tinnitus may result from changes that have occurred throughout the auditory system in your brain.  Our aim is to provide you with a sound therapy that is customized for you so that some of these changes can be minimized or reversed, with the result being reduced or eliminated tinnitus.

An audiogram from an audiologist showing the level of hearing loss in each ear.

Speaking with an audiologist or otolaryngologist may help you determine whether or not you have hearing loss. Unfortunately, traditional hearing tests are not always complete, and you may have hearing damage even if these tests do not uncover it.  We are designing a tinnitus characterization tool that attempts to shed light on your condition even if you do not have clinically recognized hearing loss. This way we hope to design the right sound therapy for you regardless of whether your audiologist tells you that you have hearing loss.

It is important to note that there are still more potential causes of tinnitus (e.g. head trauma, whip lash etc.) and while these may not make up the majority of cases, they may be relevant to you.  There are different tinnitus treatment and management strategies out there and while we would hope that our treatment could work for you regardless of the cause of your tinnitus, we first and foremost want you to be comfortable with the option you select to treat your tinnitus.

Feel free to contact us with any questions and concerns.

– Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments Team