A research team reports promising results in a clinical trial to evaluate a new treatment for tinnitus. It is a non-invasive and painless stimulation tool.


A team from Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland), with the help of British and American researchers, presented in the journal Science Translational Medicine a new tool for treating tinnitus. It is a non-invasive bimodal neuromodulation device, made up of wireless headphones that emit sounds, and a small array of electrodes that stimulate the tongue. The first clinical trials of the device are giving encouraging results.

Tinnitus is a common hearing disorder in which a person hears so-called “phantom” noises, often buzzing or continuous high-pitched sounds. Disabling when it lasts, tinnitus is currently treated with varying degrees of success with habituation therapies, cognitive-behavioral therapies or even deep brain stimulation.

Here, the team developed a dual system called Lenire, which includes headphones connected via Bluetooth and playing sounds designed to reduce the perception of tinnitus, as well as a tongue stimulator, inducing painless peripheral electrical stimulation. . This lingual stimulation forces the brain to divert attention from the ears, further reducing the perception of tinnitus. Eventually, the symptoms of tinnitus are reduced, alleviated.

A clinical trial was conducted in both Ireland and Germany, involving 326 adults with tinnitus. participants were asked to use the device for 60 minutes per day, for 12 weeks. They then assessed their symptoms using questionnaires.

The researchers found that 83.7% of participants fully complied with the given protocol, and that, among them, 66.5% reported a decrease in tinnitus symptoms, up to a year later. experience.

The Lenire system was recently made available to some patients in Ireland and Germany, and Neuromod officials said they have applied to US health authorities for marketing authorization. Another clinical trial is underway to assess the long-term effects of this double stimulation.