A lamp that radiates colored light is being tested as a new treatment for tinnitus symptoms, or ringing in the ears.
Researchers at the University of Leicester are testing this approach following a discovery from earlier research that showed using colored lenses to treat migraines patients also reduced their tinnitus.
Further work also observed that colored light reduced tinnitus symptoms in 40% of the patients.
Tinnitus Can Be Debilitating
Millions of people in the U.S. have tinnitus, with around 10% of them seriously affected. This can have a detrimental effect on their quality of life and has been linked to depression, nervousness and sleeping problems.
While the exact cause is not known, tinnitus is thought to be the result of changes in the amount of sound moving from the ear to the brain — for instance, as a result of age-related hearing loss or injury.
The Colored Light Theory
This new approach is based on the theory that the colored lights distract the sensory area of the brain, which then stops creating the signals that cause the tinnitus voices in the ear.
The light is also thought to confuse the brain from the noises.
Commenting on the new therapy, Professor Jaydip Ray, a ear, nose and throat consultant at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, says: “This trial is based on the fact tinnitus can be modulated by sensory substitute such as distracting illuminate, sound or tongue movements.”
If effective, it can be one of the self-help strategies that may help tinnitus sufferers.
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