Tinnitracks App Could Heal Hearing Damage and Tinnitus

It’s well documented that hearing damage is one of the most real dangers of DJing or even just exposing yourself to club-level sounds with regularity. Tinnitus seems inevitable for many DJs, even when armed with a set of great earplugs and following sage advice on limiting the extent of loud sound exposure.

The good news is that treatment of existing tinnitus is finally getting some traction in the science and tech worlds. We wrote in 2013 about a number of ways to reduce level of pain and annoyance associated with that ringing sound that plagues eardrums.

Now, a new app called Tinnitracks is taking some of those concepts and bringing them out of the world of audio-therapy professionals and into a more accessible format. The app takes a collection of MP3s and filters out the frequency of an individual’s tinnitus ringing. It’s based in proven clinical therapy studies, which have shown that removing the frequencies of tinnitus and listening to that music for 1-2 hours a day over a period of 6 months will begin to allow the cause of tinnitus (hyper-active nerve cells in the brain’s auditory center) to return to normality.

Tinnitus can be treated by listening to music that has been specially filtered to remove certain frequencies. The music is filtered to remove the specific frequency that causes the patient’s tinnitus. This creates an audible notch in the sound spectrum of your music. In other words, it slightly alters the sound. Your sense of hearing, however, is able to quickly adapt to this unfamiliar input.

This systematically changed input – generated by filtering your music based on your individual tinnitus frequency – can cause the brain to re-shift its imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory nerve signals in the auditory center back towards a healthy balance between the two.

The basic mechanism behind this is based on the specific configuration of nerve cells in the brain: The nerve cells in the brain’s auditory center are arranged by the frequency they perceive. It can be likened to keys on a piano: The low tones are on one end, the high tones on the other.

This allows a mechanism known as lateral inhibition to kick in. Lateral inhibition is a natural property found in nerve cells that regulates the degree of contrasts: When a nerve cell is activated, lateral (from the side) inhibition reduces the activity of other neighboring cells.

The therapy takes advantage of these nerve cell properties: When you listen to the filtered music, you are able to specifically target and stimulate nerve cells that are outside of your tinnitus frequency. This allows lateral inhibition to reduce the abnormal hyperactivity in the auditory cortex’s nerve cells that are causing tinnitus and thereby provide relief.

The therapy isn’t cheap – currently the only option is to use an online app that is only sold with a year license that runs €539 (~$584), but they’re soon expected to launch a new version that will be €19 / month ($20). 

Get more details on Tinnitracks here.

healing hearing damagehearing damagetinnitracksTinnitustreatment
Comments (22)
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  • Chaser720

    Once you diagnose what frequency the patients Tinnitus is at then where is the cost in this? It’s a fairly simple concept, isn’t it? Couldn’t you just run some music through Ableton or whatever else and notch out the frequency?

    I guess they are going to call it “medical” so that’s the premium your paying? I’m confused on this one.

    • noxxi

      it seems that way doesnt it! unless were missing some crucial ingredient.

      • Chaser720

        I understand R&D is expensive but this is more of implementation of a known treatment. Maybe trying to pinpoint the Tinnitus frequency is difficult and they have some uber method?

        I’d love to hear more the science behind this from anyone with some knowledge.

        • noxxi

          maybe, otherwise the price of this is totally unjustifiable. its wrong to milk somebody who is suffering, profit yeah, but don’t milk it. my bets is that its just a tone generator and you simply select the frequency of your own tinnitus, if thats the case then these developers should be ashamed of themselves. and DJTT should show more of the competition, in fact a comparitive review would be most useful to people who have this illness

  • Marc

    Try Tinnitus Pro. Only 10 euro. Does the same.

  • noxxi

    its a shame that this costs so much! it seems like they are cashing in on peoples misery

    • Perry de Havilland

      As you are so generous, why didn’t you invest *your* time and capital to make this app, so that you could then just give it away free to tinnitus sufferers (like me, for example)? Hmmm?

      • noxxi

        easy mate, i may be wrong, but the basis of this app seems to be 1. a tone generator, to tune to your tinnitus frequency, 2. a 13 band eq with infinite cut.

        so as to why this costs over £500 a year is beyond me, ableton, which can do the same thing and also a lot more costs less than that, and you get to keep it. you could argue that the research and development costs a lot, but the article itself states that these are not new concepts, and “is taking some of those concepts and bringing them out
        of the world of audio-therapy professionals and into a more accessible

        Unless i’m missing something here.

        • Perry de Havilland

          I have my doubts these things could work at all actually as it is down to nerve damage, but that is not the issue. It is really only the idea that medical things must be not-for-profit that sets me off, as it ism profit that gets most things invented and made available in the first place..

          I have no problem with someone charging whatever they want for something. That does not mean I will actually buy it however, particularly if there are cheaper alternatives 😉

          • noxxi

            yeah i get that, your right enough, nobodies going to create stuff for no profit, if its not profitable then they wont make/do it and people wont have treatment options. But having said that, i feel its unfair to wring the maximum profit possible based on the fact that suffering people will pay it. its exploitation. This article should have been a review of the various options available, rather than a cynical plug.

            however, competition is a great thing, hopefully this problem gets more attention and the options available become much more plentiful, much more accessible, and much more widely understood. we can only hope. its a step in the right direction though, even if its a bit harshly priced.

      • noxxi

        as another commenter pointed out, tinnitus pro cost 10 euros, and does the same thing, this app just seems to have a pretty interface. perhaps you could try that?

  • Matt Daniels

    Its a lot of money for a better equalizer!

  • Sleurie

    So an app could fix what medical experts gave a less than 5% chance doing surgery. Hearing aids do not work on tinnitus. There is a major difference between tinnitus and being partially deaf. There no cure for the humming, whistling and/or crackling noise produced by tinnitus. That sounds is always there, 24×7 since I was 13 (that’s already 30+ years).

    • Von Royale

      yeah and If i told you we would have touch screen cellphones in our pockets 30 years ago, you would have thought i was crazy. Dude instead of being such a downer, give it a try. People discover new things everyday, its inevitable that we will be able to fix tinitus soon enough.

      • Sleurie

        Neurologic damage will take much more research. Since tinnitus isn’t life threatening, it has no priority. Still it can’t be fixed by any app. Having tinnitus, I can asure you there isn’t any improvement nor degredation. It’s just as it is, have to live with it (and I know for sure it can drive you mad sometimes, wishing the sounds would be away for just a few hours).

        And 30 years ago the race for miniaturazation was already going on. Going exponential each decade from the golden age on, nothing would be surprising. That race is still going on.

        • Umasuki

          So you tell us you’ve tried for six months… or you haven’t?

          • Sleurie

            Tried many things. Audio compensation devices, tone training, hearing aids etc. Nothing worked so far, not even the slightest improvement.

  • deejae snafu

    this could be great news!

  • Markku Uttula

    Great… the article links to pretty much everything – except the “proven clinical therapy studies” that would be actually interesting (ok… thankfully the tinnitracks-site has some links)

  • BoomDraw

    IF this is true it’s effing amazing, because I have tinnitus at 19 and it sucks

    • alex rae

      best of luck mate