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Home » Tinnitus not yet curable. Ever end squeak in ear…?

Tinnitus not yet curable. Ever end squeak in ear…?

tinnitus ringing in the ears continuous beep therapies

Antwerp scientists draw conclusions from tinnitus research.

Hearing damage

A continuous beep, a ringing bell or a nagging drill: tinnitus can be incredibly annoying. Researchers are constantly looking for new therapies, such as stimulating the brain with electric current. A study by the University of Antwerp and the University Hospital in Antwerp led to drawing new conclusions.

It is estimated that between 1 and 2 million Dutch people have some form of (temporary) tinnitus, better known as tinnitus. The impact of that tinnitus can vary greatly. For some, it can cause sleeping problems, concentration loss or even anxiety symptoms and depression. Although there are several therapies that can reduce its impact, tinnitus is currently not curable.

Electric current as a new treatment

For years, researchers have been searching for innovative treatments. They are more likely to look at the brain for this, because tinnitus is associated with disrupted brain activity. Small electrodes, for example, can deliver electric current to the brain to alter brain activity. This technique is painless and has already been used successfully to reat other complaints such as chronic pain. Researchers affiliated with the University of Antwerp and the UZA conducted a large-scale study on the effects of this technique on tinnitus.

The treatment was compared with a placebo group. “Overall, we found no evidence that brain stimulation had a better effect than the placebo version,” says researcher Emilie Cardon. , “We did notice huge differences between them. Some experienced a great improvement in tinnitus symptoms after treatment, while others experienced no effect at all.”

Commit to personalized medicine

In other words, stimulating the brain with electric current is not a universal solution for every person with tinnitus. According to the researchers, these results, which were published in the trade journal Brain, make it clear that an individualized approach is much needed.

“It is unrealistic to think that there will be one standard treatment that can cure everyone of tinnitus. The differences between them are simply too great for that. We must now put much more effort into personalized medicine, and examine more precisely who will benefit from what treatment. In this way, we want to support everyone with tinnitus symptoms as best we can in the future,” Cardon said.


Top composer Stephen Emmer, who revealed in an interview in the AD that he has suffered from severe tinnitus for years, also believes that more priority should be given to finding a medical solution for people who suffer from hearing damage. Emmer calls tinnitus “one of the next epidemics that will strike worldwide.”

A petition launched by Emmer on behalf of the new organization Artists against Tinnitus urges the government, medical sector and pharmaceutical industry to come up with a concrete medical solution in the foreseeable future. It also calls for promoting, among other things, awareness and education of hearing issues among artists, listeners and fans alike.

The composer further expressed criticism of Health Council recommendations in an accompanying message. A report on hearing damage and its impact on the Dutch population was released on Wednesday. Among other things, Emmer finds the 3-decibel volume reduction advocated by the report ‘not blissful’. He also criticized the industry’s decision to self-regulate.

Require earplugs

Patient organization Hoormij VVSS is pleased with the growing attention to tinnitus, but at the same time wants to make sure that “this does not turn out to be a short-lived hype. Where some 1.5 million (Dutch) people now experience hearing damage, that number will grow to 25 percent of the population if we do nothing,” warns director Wil Verschoor. “We call for a legal obligation around preventing hearing damage and tinnitus during festivals and events, for a reduction of the current standard of 103 decibels and mandatory hearing protection.”


According to Belgian professor Bart Vinck, 70 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 30 suffer from tinnitus after a concert. In 5 percent, the symptoms last longer than three to six months, and 15 percent sustain irreparable damage. Other studies state that one in five adults today has some form of hearing damage.

“These are serious numbers,” said Belgian audiologist Marleen De Sloovere in conversation with Het Laatste Nieuws. “We continue to work on raising awareness about the dangers of hearing damage. We try to educate young people about possible harm they have already suffered. By testing their hearing, they notice if it has already deteriorated. We then explain the cause and how they can prevent further damage.”

[Source : AD – Sebastiaan Wuekel & Jonathan Bernaerts]