Friday, October 30, 2015
A ringing, buzzing noise inside one's head that simply does not stop - more than 400 million people around the world are familiar with this enervating condition called tinnitus. While the symptoms are well-known and the effects often devastating - ranging from sleep disorders to severe depression - treatment options available are limited and mainly focus on addressing the symptoms as opposed to the causes. Over-reactive nerve cells in the auditory cortex, the part of the brain that processes sound, are responsible for tinnitus but have been difficult to target. This is where the young German medical engineering company, Sonormed, from Hamburg saw a market opportunity.
Sonormed had been closely examining promising academic research regarding the so-called Tailor-Made Notched Music Training (TMNMT), a neuro-acoustic approach that suggested that frequency-filtered music has the potential to reduce the loudness of the tinnitus tone.
Sonormed's challenge was to develop a solution that would translate academic research into an easily accessible, yet highly accurate treatment option - a task of which the team proved itself worthy. Within two and a half years, Sonormed developed Tinnitracks - a certified medical product and fully digital treatment option that filters patients' individual tinnitus frequency from their favorite songs. Listening to this filtered music via a web or mobile app helps ease the severity of the nagging sound.
Tinnitracks successfully went to market in Germany in 2013 and has since received numerous awards, among them the EU-sponsored EIT Digital Idea Challenge Award in 2014 and the renowned South by Southwest (SXSW) Accelerator "Digital Health & Life Science" Award in 2015. Another major breakthrough was achieved just last month: Techniker Krankenkasse, the largest statutory health insurance company in Germany, will assume the costs for Tinnitracks as a digital therapy app. Jörg Land, CEO and founder of Sonormed, expressed that "this backing is an essential step towards the general acceptance of individualized digital health solutions and will provide the ground for an international roll-out of Tinnitracks." The digital treatment is currently available in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands.
Source & Image: © Sonormed GmbH