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the synchronous multimodal “Tinnitus” treatment arrives

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the synchronous multimodal “Tinnitus” treatment arrives

On the occasion of World Hearing Day which is celebrated on March 3 and National Deafness Day (the silent pandemic) on March 1, the MOHRE Observatory presents scientific news on tinnitus. Disorder characterized by the perception of ‘phantom’ sounds and for which the American Tinnitus Institute has recognized over 200 possible causes: organic and anatomical, viral and environmental but also vascular, oncological or related to ageing. Tinnitus (or ‘tinnitus’) is a hitherto incurable dysfunction that exposes patients to “sounds that do not exist” described as buzzing, whistling, hissing, or pulsations which can reach levels of psychophysical disturbance such as to severely compromise their life quality. A study financed by the European Community in 2022 ‘counted’ the people with tinnitus: 749 million suffer from it, with an incidence of 14% of the world population, of which 120 million are serious cases (2%), while around 4 million they are esteemed in Italy. It’s the right time to remember that the spread of tinnitus is also reaching levels considered “pandemic”, what is called a ‘noisy pandemic’.

Future forecasts for EU countries are further pessimistic after the significant post-COVID aggravations, the increase in the average age of the European population and the hearing habits of the new generations, all factors tending to increase the onset of tinnitus due to senescence and damage to the auditory system. Tinnitus, Sentinel of Hearing Loss? – A new study, published Nov. 30 in Scientific Reports 1, showed that individuals reporting tinnitus may have a loss of auditory nerve function despite apparently normal hearing ability. The brain would try to compensate for the hearing loss by increasing its activity, resulting in the perception of a phantom sound, namely tinnitus. Research that sheds new light on a possible cause of tinnitus.

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After 8 years of research and 2 international patents, an Italian company completed the development of an innovative medical device in 2022-23. Acufree is the first “synchronous multimodal therapy” for tinnitus, as it uses three active elements simultaneously and was presented at the 2023 national congresses of the primary Italian associations of Otolaryngology and Audiology SIO and SIAF by the Department of Otolaryngology of the Tor Vergata Polyclinic in following a trial completed in the two-year period 2022-23. The results of the clinical study conducted on 55 patients showed generalized improvements after 3 months in 7 out of 10 patients, with “marked improvement” in 4 out of 10 patients. Data confirmed after 12 months on all three main TFI evaluation methods (functional index ), THI (handicap index), VAS scale. These are results, both quantitative and qualitative and both short and medium term, which place this therapy among the most promising at an international level.

It is a non-invasive system which, with the use of a specifically developed device with headphones, acts synchronously on multiple levels: specific acoustic stimulation personalized for each individual patient, which is associated with low and high frequency electromagnetic waves, also They are adaptable to the characteristics of the patient’s tinnitus. “Therapies based on neuromodulation such as Acufree help the recovery of brain plasticity which contributes to reducing the perception of tinnitus and calming any alterations in neuronal activity. This realignment requires longer protocols over time but, on the other hand, favors the restoration of regular neuronal activity”, comments the Team of the Tor Vergata Polyclinic led by Professor Stefano Di Girolamo, summarizing the effects. The advantages for those receiving treatment include the reliability and ease of treatment resulting from home availability, the high degree of versatility and customization and the “user-friendly” design of the device. The treatment with Acufree represents a significant innovation as it is the only “multiple therapy”. It reduces the discomfort caused by tinnitus and improves the quality of life of patients. The technology and method were developed in Italy by an innovative private start-up, in a virtuous alliance with a public hospital and university structure. Exactly the type of public-private project our country is banking on to make the most of its research, healthcare excellence and the ability of its technological companies.

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