Sleep is a daily necessity which many of us take for granted. There are days when we just can’t wait to get into bed and fall asleep. On other occasions it can feel like it’s impossible to get to sleep. For tinnitus sufferers, sleep can often be disrupted, disturbed or just seem hopeless. The phantom noise heard by their brain can make sleep impossible. For those without the condition it’s like listening to a pneumatic drill doing night time road repairs outside your bedroom window!
It’s not only during sleep that tinnitus can cause problems for sufferers. In severe cases, individuals can have very little relief from the ringing in their ears.
The use of technology like portable music systems and earphones has increased which can damage hearing. Therefore, hearing problems including tinnitus are increasing and so there is a need for more treatment options. Within the last two years, new therapies and treatments have been developed to combat the annoying ringing and buzzing.
The Levo System
The Levo System has been called a ‘pioneering treatment’ using the power of the brain when sleeping to treat the symptoms of tinnitus. Using a sound match system, the Levo System mimics the sound of your tinnitus and teaches your brain to ignore it.
The Levo System also uses the popular iPod technology to deliver a personalised sound to your brain during sleep. Our brains are much more responsive to sound when we sleep. This is the first time an iPod has been approved for use as a medical device. The technology delivers a sound match to you via custom-fit earphones while sleeping. As a result, the brain becomes trained to ignore the tinnitus sound which can have a significant impact on your quality of life.
A study published in the American Journal of Audiology studied the Levo System by Otoharmonics to see if it reduced the perceptions of people with tinnitus. The Levo System was compared to a noise stimulus and a bedside sound generator. The results showed that the Levo System caused the greatest reduction in tinnitus loudness. The Levo System and noise stimulus devices gave the best results.
Tinnitus, like many conditions, can affect anyone at any age. However, there are certain factors which can lead to an increased risk of developing a phantom ringing in your ears. These include being exposed to loud music or noises and stress or blockages in the ear.
One success story regarding the Levo System in the UK is that of former Royal Marine Harris Tatakis. He was involved in an explosion when the vehicle he was travelling in drove over an improvised explosive device (IED). Among other serious injuries, both of his eardrums were ruptured and he was left struggling with tinnitus.
Having lived with tinnitus for 10 years, the Levo System has allowed him to cope with the symptoms. Tatakis was the first military veteran to receive the treatment in 2017, which was funded by the Veterans Hearing Fund.
The device has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US and CE approved in Europe.