BeyondTinnitus Treatment Protocol

Tinnitus Sound Therapy Program

The Sound Therapy portion of the Mind:Set Tinnitus Therapy Protocol consists of the use of Harmonic Masking Files. Briefly, Harmonic Masking is a proprietary masking strategy that exploits neural connections in the hearing parts of the brain. The stimulation of these areas yields a highly effective, but pleasing and non-intrusive masking sound. Each Harmonic Masking File is custom created to specifically match the user’s unique tinnitus pitch and loudness.

Harmonic Masking is a strategy that can be used in conjunction with open ear headphones (e.g., AirDrives from Mad Catz). The combination of these two allow for the therapeutic sound to reach the user’s ears without distracting from ambient sounds (for instance, in the office, in the car, while walking, doing whatever!).

Stage 1: Induction

During the Induction phase, the Harmonic Masking File (sound therapy file) is listened to as much as possible, whenever the ringing occurs and is bothersome.  We recommend a minimum of 8 hours a day. The Induction phase is designed to last for 2 weeks. Many users will find that Harmonic Masking is so effective in reducing the annoyance of their tinnitus that they will extend Induction use for a longer period of time.

Stage 2: Maintenance

During the Maintenance phase, Harmonic masking is used for a minimum of 2 hours per day and at times when the tinnitus is loud or bothersome. During this step of the therapy, we recommend using the music therapy or the sound therapy file. The idea of the Maintenance phase is to use Harmonic Masking only at those times of the day when the tinnitus continues to present significant annoyance. Many users will find that their need for Maintenance use will continue to decrease and may eventually end altogether. You should also expect that Maintenance use will fluctuate. For instance, many users will find that Maintenance use is increased during times of stress, but is needed less during times of relative calm.

Tracking:

As the tinnitus changes, so does the sound therapy (Harmonic Masking) file. During the first 4 weeks, we ask that users update their tinnitus pitch at least twice a week. This will ensure that the sound energy is most appropriately directed towards the parts of the brain that most need the sound stimulation. Of course, you can update your files as often as you wish, and users with highly variable tinnitus may want to do just this.

Those with several tones for their tinnitus may want to keep separate files available and switch between them as needed. We use the Tinnitus Loudness and Annoyance Scale as well as the Tinnitus Handicap Questionnaire to track your progress. We ask that users answer the tinnitus loudness and annoyance twice a week during the first week. After that, users can still take the survey during Maintenance to see how they are doing. Graphic display of user trends will be available on your personalized home page.

Tinnitus Music Therapy Program

Music has clear associations with the limbic system, the part of the brain that is responsible for emotion. Even passive listening to pleasant music can positively stimulate structures of the emotional parts of the brain and elicit pathways associated with pleasant emotive states. As it happens, tinnitus appears to exert its toxic effects via negative associations developed in the emotional parts of the brain.

The Music Therapy program uses the nerve circuitry of the limbic system to transform the negative emotional states associated with tinnitus into the positive emotional states associated with music. The Music Therapy files are created by fusing the user’s favorite music files on their computer with targeted sound therapy file specific to the user’s tinnitus frequency. By doing so, we stop the hyperactivity in the brain that causes tinnitus.  This also creates new nerve channels through the emotional parts of the brain that are associated with positive emotive states.

The Music Therapy program is designed so that the targeted sound therapy associated with the user’s tinnitus frequency is gradually decreased with use. Because each user will have different rates of progress, the strength of the masking signal is determined by the user according to their symptoms. Users should only start using Music Therapy after completing the Induction phase of the Sound Therapy Program. This will ensure optimal results because the increased nerve activity in the hearing part of the brain (which causes tinnitus) will have been tempered by Harmonic Masking use.