Use the muse to measure tinnitus


#1

Hello,

I am a sufferer of severe tinnitus. Not the kind that makes your ears ring a little bit and might even annoy the hell out of you at night. More like jet engines jammed on either side of my head that you simply can’t get away from. I know it’s a hard idea to relate to. But it sucks and it makes it really hard to function.

Currently I’m participating in a medical study to test out a new surgically implantable device (a vns stimulator) to see if it can treat the root cause of the disease. It’s by a company called microtransponder. If you’re curious about this you can read more here:

http://www.microtransponder.com/

I’ve learned that in going through the microtransponder tinnitus therapy is that they try to get you to match the ‘tones’ you are hearing in your head with synthetically generated tones that they create. They also try and match the loudness level of your tinnitus. The process is slow, laborious and difficult. It may not even be that accurate because getting the synthetic sounds to match what you’re experiencing is surprisingly challenging.

They then take the data from the therapy sessions and program that info into a laptop that controls the VNS device. My worry is, what if the data we’ve produced isn’t accurate? Will the therapy be less effective or not effective at all if that’s the case?

One aspect of the disease is that it involuntarily throws my body into a state of extreme stress. That leads to all kinds of social and family problems as you can imagine. And working is far more difficult than it needs to be.

So that’s why I ordered a muse. To see if I can use the strategies you’ve developed to try and calm the hell down! Even a little bit would be nice.

But my question to you is, do you think that someone (maybe the developers at Microtransponder?) could take a muse and it’s SDK and come up with some way to automate the process of detecting the abnormal ‘phantom’ tones that’s generated in the mind as a result of Tinnitus? If so that could improve the accuracy of their device and software quite a bit I’d imagine.

Thanks
Tim


#2

Hey bluethundr, thanks for the post.

We think the best way for you to benefit from Muse is to use our app to reduce stress, just as you suggested.

With EEG devices like Muse you can detect certain ‘overall’ states of mind. While EEG recordings are very sensitive to changes over time, the spatial resolution is limited with this kind of technology. A developer may be able to create software that can learn to detect [U]when [/U]you are experiencing tinnitus based on some example data. However, determining physical characteristics (such as pitch or loudness) of such a highly subjective experience doesn’t seem possible just based on brainwaves.

However, if other researchers and/or developers want to work on tinnitus in this capacity, please - keep us posted on your research and development!

Dani


#3

Hi Dani,

Thanks for your reply. I’m sure you’re quire right in everything you say. And I look forward to using my muse to learn how to reduce stress. But just to explain the reason why I thought this may be possible with Muse is that I know that Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit has used albeit much more powerful techniques than EEF has proven that detecting tinnitus through brain waives is not only possible, it’s been done.

From the following article:

“[SIZE=15px]His research prompted an invitation from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit to participate in a joint study with Dr. Susan Bowyer, a medical neuroimaging physicist and senior staff investigator at the hospital. Her work demonstrated that tinnitus could be seen in scans using magnetoencephalography (MEG).[/SIZE]
[SIZE=15px]“It was a match made in heaven,” Dalton said. “Since the cancellation paradigm is a neurological manipulation computer-based program, the MEG is a natural device for demonstrating what the process is doing. It has been especially exciting to actually see the tinnitus on the MEG scan rather than having to rely on what the patient reports as he/she hears or doesn’t hear a sound.””

Of course the MEG that they’re using is orders of magnitude more powerful than any EEG headband would ever be likely to be. But maybe that’s what it takes to detect tinnitus from brain scans? If so that I suppose that I’ll have to be happy with the intended use of the muse which is to master the ability to relax.

However, something like Muse is also far more accessible a technology than something like MEG could ever hope to be, it would be wondering if someone could tap the muse to provide something approaching this capability. It may not be possible but I may write to the developers of the device that I am using to (hopefully) reduce or eliminate the disease to see if they’d be interested in trying something like this.

Tim[/SIZE]


#4

Hi Tim,

There are studies that evaluate neurofeedback for tinnitus. A paper by Dohrmann et al. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17956812 describes a protocol that significantly reduced tinnitus intensity. Another paper reports that biofeedback may be of benefit to certain subgroups of people with tinnitus http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1873582.


#5

Hi Tim,

that is maybe possible, but maybe not, as EEG is signal of the cortex. Only a raw EEG processing device that could work with so called auditory evoked potentials could be capable of doing that. However if your tinnitus is triggered by a brain state that could be described with a EEG spectrum state, then, maybe it can be done with MUSE.