An ENT specialist doctor in Adelaide has designed treatment for tinnitus sufferers using digital technology.
Tinnitus is a sound you hear in the absence of an external sound source. No-one else can hear the tinnitus. It is not a condition, but rather a symptom (such as a headache) of your auditory system.
FILE PHOTO: A Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) soldier turns on his Peltor hearing protection before boarding a helicopter in Afghanistan. Photo by Corporal Chris Moore.
On average, 20% of the population has tinnitus, and everyone at some stage in their life will experience tinnitus. Some population cohorts have a much higher prevalence of tinnitus. Veterans is one such cohort. In Australia, we don’t have a definitive percentage, but we know the DVA are aware of this issue regarding veterans who suffer from this debilitating condition.
Tinnitus is the number one disability recorded for veterans in the US, according to Military.com A high price to pay for protecting their country.
Tinnitus can also have a significant impact on the social and psychological wellbeing of suffers, their family and loved ones.
Dr John Charles Hodge said that as an ENT specialist working in Adelaide, he has more than 20 years of experience as a doctor but had become increasingly frustrated over the years with the medical profession’s inability to successfully treat tinnitus.
“I have seen many suffer, including veterans over the years and have felt helpless in my ability to treat their tinnitus,” Dr Hodge said.
“I have provided advice and suggestions like meditation but never felt satisfied that I could refer my patients to a treatment that was based on a proven scientific theory.
“Researching the market has also shown that there are many claims for curing tinnitus – often costing thousands of dollars – and providing no relief for the sufferer.”
So, Dr Hodge stopped waiting for the medical profession to come up with a solution.
Following extensive research into tinnitus, he developed a treatment that is based on a scientific concept called neuromodulation.
“When a child falls over and bumps their forehead, they soon work out that rubbing it makes the pain less severe.
“This is counter-intuitive but works well, as the brain reacts by turning down the gain in this anatomical area for all sensory inputs, including pain. Hence this unpleasant pain sensation dulls.
“My tinnitus treatment is the acoustic equivalent to rubbing your head.
“The treatment is totally based online so, no clinic visits are required.
“It involves sufferers subscribing on line and downloading an app so you can listen to their treatment.
“All they do is identify their own frequency and listen with their headphones.”
Dr Hodge said he was committed to following everyone’s progress through the completion of a weekly FIVEQ – five questions that identify the impact tinnitus is having on their quality of life. Subscribers can also track their progress and see how they are improving.
“My goal is to make tinnitus treatment affordable and accessible to everyone, no matter what their circumstances are or where they live.”
The program costs $14.95 a month or $150 a year. By using the promo code ‘veterans’, the usual $10 registration fee is waived.
Dr Hodge is so far very pleased with how well users are responding to his program.
“The latest data shows that 77% of users who have listened for an average of five weeks have improved by 44%.
“I am keeping a very close eye on the data as this really is ground-breaking for tinnitus suffers.
“As a clinician, there is nothing more rewarding than improving the quality of life of your patients.”
Visit the Tinnitus Treatment website for more information.
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