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National Institutes of Health researchers are launching a clinical trial to test a device that seeks to rewire parts of the brain in hopes of reducing or eliminating tinnitus, a persistent buzzing or ringing in the ears in the absence of any real sound.
The small clinical trial is recruiting volunteers and will be conducted at three centers – at the University of Texas at Dallas, the University at Buffalo (SUNY), Buffalo and at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. An additional site will be added later in the year. More information about the trial and enrollment is available on the study’s website, http://www.tinnitustrial.com, or at http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov.
Roughly 10 percent of the adult population of the United States has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year, and approximately 10 million have been bothered enough by the condition to seek a doctor. Although tinnitus may be only an annoyance for some, for others the relentless ringing causes fatigue, depression, anxiety, and problems with memory and concentration. Available treatments help some people cope, but current therapies lack the potential to significantly reduce the bothersome symptoms of tinnitus.