Many people have questions about Neuromonics tinnitus treatment and whether they should consider this approach. The Neuromonics acoustic desensitization procedure involves extensive counseling and acoustic therapy.
Here are some common questions and answers:
What is Neuromonics?
- A pattern of acoustic stimuli designed to retrain the neural pathways.
- Customized for your hearing and tinnitus.
- Delivered in two stages via a small medical device (Neuromonics Processor) resembling an MP3 player and coupled to your ears via comfortable, high quality earphones.
- A treatment program including ongoing personalized support, education and monitoring from an audiologist specializing in tinnitus.
- Simpler versions of the treatment are now available for individuals who are not as severely impacted by their tinnitus.
How does neuromonics tinnitus treatment work?
There are a number of key features in Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment that make it effective:
- Compensation for each individual's hearing profile.
- Stimulation of a broad range of frequencies.
- Use of music as a medium for treatment.
- Provision of education and counseling.
- Intermittent exposure to the tinnitus signal.
These are designed to create:
- Positive engagement of the limbic system and promotion of relaxation
- Efficient promotion of tinnitus desensitization
How long does treatment take?
Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment is an acoustic-based treatment together with assessment, monitoring, support and education from a specialist audiologist over about a six-month treatment period.
How much does the treatment cost?
The cost of the treatment is approximately $5,000 including the counseling visits, follow up telephone consults, and the processor. The initial evaluation of an individual's tinnitus problem is not included. Simpler versions of the treatment are available at a lower cost.
What is involved in the Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment?
- Initial assessment: your audiologist assesses your hearing and tinnitus and determines your suitability for Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment.
- Following your initial assessment, a Neuromonics Processor delivers the neurological stimulation required to treat your tinnitus for two to three hours a day.
- Over the following months you move through two phases of treatment, with the acoustic treatments being adjusted along the way.
- You receive education and advice by an audiologist to help you achieve the best results.
- Your progress is professionally monitored via recordings in the Processor, by regular follow up phone calls and clinic appointments with your audiologist.
What are the reported benefits or results?
Neuromonics was developed in Australia over the last 10 years through four clinical trials involving over 200 individuals with tinnitus. According to Neuromonics, over a decade, a total of four trials were completed involving more than 200 people. Between 80 and 90 percent of people achieved a substantial reduction of their tinnitus symptoms. Over a period of around six months, patients became less aware of and disturbed by their tinnitus, even when not using treatment. In addition, many experienced benefits in the early stages while using treatment, such as relief and restored sleep.
Why is music used as a treatment medium?
- Pleasant to listen to.
- Beneficial as a therapeutic medium.
- Dynamic, therefore allows intermittent stimulation.
How can I fit in treatment if I am working?
- Treatment times can be broken up over the day and fitted into travel, lunch or quiet work times to meet the required two to three hours use per day.
- The acoustic signal is quiet enough to be non-disturbing and does not exclude environmental sounds or conversations. You can listen to it during other activities.
- Some people also find the treatment useful when trying to sleep, so some of the listening time can take place in bed.
- The Neuromonics Processor is portable and easy to use, and can be slipped into a pocket or handbag.
- Your audiologist will work with you to determine the most suitable times for treatment.
Does the treatment make the tinnitus disappear entirely?
- Not necessarily. The objective of the Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment is to reduce the amount of time you are consciously aware of your tinnitus and reduce the degree to which it impacts on your quality of life.
- Some people have reportedly stated that their tinnitus disappears completely.
- The most common outcome is that people reach a point where their tinnitus may still be present, but it does not disturb them and they are not normally aware of it.
I have been told there is nothing that can be done for tinnitus. What has changed?
In recent years, the understanding of the causes and contributing factors to tinnitus-related disturbance has improved. The role of the auditory pathways in the brain has now been widely recognized and these can be targeted with treatment.
Is a wireless or non-headphone version of technology available?
It is not possible to offer treatment with wireless technology as this is not able to transmit the range and breadth of signals or the required fidelity.
Davis, P. B., Wilde, R.A., & Steed, L. (2002a). Clinical Trial Findings of a Neurophysiologically-based Tinnitus Rehabilitation Technique using Tinnitus Desensitization Music. In R. Patuzzi (Ed.), Seventh international tinnitus seminar (pp. 74-77). Fremantle, Australia: University of Western Australia.
Davis, P. B., Wilde, R.A., & Steed, L. (2002b). Neurophysiologically-Based Tinnitus Rehabilitation Using Tinnitus Desensitization Music. In R. Patuzzi (Ed.), Seventh international tinnitus seminar.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.