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Tinnitus, cont'd.

Whether we realize it or not, the incidence of tinnitus is increasing while at the same time tinnitus remains a largely unaddressed problem. Since brain pathways associated with hearing have common pathways as those affecting emotions, the potential for serious debilitation to many in our society is compounded.

The problem is world-wide and non-profit and for-profit tinnitus associations are active in many countries.

Many people with low levels of tinnitus are not bothered by it and are not even aware that they have tinnitus unless it is brought to their attention by (paradoxically) silence. Others find the effects of tinnitus varying from mild distraction to severe debilitation. Since the auditory pathways communicate with  those in the pre-frontal cortex and parts of the limbic system, many of those persons who respond negatively to tinnitus sounds are emotionally affected by their tinnitus to the extent that it can negatively impact their lives on a daily basis.

While research is ongoing, there is currently no known cure for tinnitus. This being the case, can anything be done to help those with tinnitus cope with the condition?

Tinnitus retraining therapy, hypnosis, and psychotherapy have been useful to certain individuals. These regimes can take extended periods of time (over two years) to be effective. Tinnitus masking machines and specialized hearing aids have also been useful.

Vitamins, herbal concoctions and homeopathic 'formulations' on the other hand have not been shown in controlled studies to be - at best - any more effective than placebos - although many tinnitus-onset sufferers try them out of desperation in attempts at obtaining relief.

Some tinnitus sufferers - especially those with mild cases - habituate to the ringing, hissing or other brain-induced "sounds". For the vast majority of sufferers, however, the prescription "learn to live with it" is of little consolation to them.

Advantageously, many tinnitus sufferers experience tinnitus relief after having taken a shower or listened to running sink faucets. Being near large outdoor fountains, surf, natural waterfalls, etc. have also been reported to temporarily reduce the perception of tinnitus in some individuals. For some, the reduction in tinnitus can continue for minutes to hours to (more rarely) days. This effect is known as residual inhibition.

Unfortunately, you can't take your shower or sink faucet into your living room, bedroom or work space; nor can you take Niagra Falls, the beach, or a large outdoor water fountain indoors. That's where the SonaCube in a sense brings the outdoors indoors.

Recent research has suggested that combining visual information with specific sound fields can have positive synergistic benefits to the tinnitus sufferer. The bubble chamber technology in the SonaCube combines a subtly changing auditory experience in synchrony with a visual display using water and air as media.

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