Frequently Asked Questions
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus occurs when a person hears a sound without the presence of an outside source. It is often known as “ringing in the ears" and occurs as a single tone but can also manifest itself in other types of sound.
What causes tinnitus?
There are many causes of tinnitus. In about half the cases, tinnitus is connected with hearing loss, but it is also caused by frequent or sudden exposure to loud noise, by some medications, by head injuries or frequently for no apparent reason.
How frequent is the condition?
More frequent than you might think. Nearly five million people in the UK have experienced the sounds of tinnitus. Half of these have consulted their doctor about the condition, and about half a million people in the UK have tinnitus that severely impacts their quality of life.
Can tinnitus be treated?
As one commentator put it, “there is nothing that has not been tried"to treat tinnitus. Psychological support and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) show some success but are lengthy and, at times, expensive options.
What is Tinnitus Phase-Out™ Therapy?
Tinnitus is a constant, independent and spontaneous activity of the brain. Usually when you hear something, the neurons in the auditory cortex (the part of the brain concerned with hearing) fire electrical signals to stimulate other neurons in the brain. However, in tinnitus, the auditory cortex detects the signals within its own auditory circuits after they have been sent, creating an endless loop of signalling. The Tinnitus Phase-Out™ system introduces a second controlled loop capable of counteracting the tinnitus by playing the sound at the same pitch but shifting the wave in time. Imagine a pendulum being knocked out of phase by a second pendulum swinging at the same speed but shifted in time. The first pendulum would be disrupted. This is what the Phase-Out™ system does to your tinnitus.
What happens with the Tinnitus Phase-Out™ system?
After the test treatments with the Tinnitus Phase-Out™ system, you will have the option of purchasing a specially programmed device for home treatment. The home treatment sessions are 30 minutes each, up to three times a week, and the time interval between the sessions is likely to grow after longer use. The goal of the treatments is to provide you with ever-longer periods of relief from your tinnitus.
Will it cure my tinnitus?
The Tinnitus Phase-Out™ system can start you in the right direction and, for some patients, can even turn off the tinnitus. You are likely to still hear some tinnitus sounds but usually at a reduced and more manageable volume. Sometimes you might forget it for some hours and even days. It is, however, advisable to treat the identifiable causes of tinnitus and most importantly any hearing loss.
Is Tinnitus Phase-Out™ scientifically supported?
The method was developed, patented and tested with the assistance of Columbia University in NY. Clinical trials have been conducted in New York; London; Erie, Pennsylvania and are ongoing in Antwerp, Belgium and Palo Alto, California. A number of clinical papers have been accepted and presented at major international medical congresses. (See the references 1, 2, 3, and 4 below)
Who is behind this invention?
The inventor is the renowned US medical scientist Dr Dan Choy.
Is the therapy painful?
Not at all it is like listening to any other sound. You will have three or more trial treatments during which your tinnitus will be characterised, and a special treatment device will be programmed with your individual tinnitus sound wave. You will listen to this for 30 minutes each session, during which time you may read a paper or magazine or even drop off to sleep.
Is this a type of sound masking?
No. Sound masking systems need to be listened to all the time, and unlike the Tinnitus Phase-Out™ system, they provide no continuing relief once they are switched off.
1. Choy, D., New York Academy of Medicine Symposium, Feb 2004.
2. Noik, E., European Federation of Audiology Societies Gothenburg, Sweden, June 2005.
3. Noik, E., VIIIth International Tinnitus Seminar, Pau, France, Sept. 2005.
4. Lipmann, R., American Academy of Otolaryngology, Toronto, Sept. 2006.