Photo credit: Ixocactus licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

by Jan L. Mayes, MSc, Audiologist, Member, The Quiet Coalition

A California-based tech company, led by Stanford neuroscientist Dr. David Eagleman, has introduced a wearable bimodal therapy approach for tinnitus that combines sound with sensory stimulation. The Neurosensory Duo is a device worn on a wristband that is synched to a smartphone app. By combining sounds plus touch against the skin, the company says the device used 10 minutes a day will “reduce tinnitus symptoms in 87% of users in as little as three weeks.”

It’s important to remember that some users could report positive results because of the placebo effect. Research suggests people find at-home therapies beneficial regardless of the therapy.

A recent scientific review of multimodal or bimodal tinnitus therapies found clinical results vary. There are questions about what combination of sound and other stimulation is best. More evidence is needed to confirm if this type of treatment offers significant benefits above others offering sound stimulation alone.

It concerns me that the reviewer mentions that at top volume, the sounds were loud enough to startle somebody in a different room. This loud approach could be a problem for many people with tinnitus who also have hyperacusis or decreased sound tolerance.

It’s always nice to have different therapy options, given the various causes and individual differences of people who have tinnitus. But there is no tinnitus cure available yet. People should view marketing claims with caution and be wary of listening to loud sounds that could make tinnitus worse.

The Quality Coalition does not endorse products, has no commercial relationship with Dr. Eagleman or the Neurosensory Duo. Most importantly, note that the FDA has not approved any treatments for tinnitus. Caveat emptor.