Do you suffer from tinnitus? We were surprised to hear that 15-20% of people have this condition, which is equivalent to constant ringing in the ears. Science does not fully understand the ringing part, but one possible explanation is that the brain compensates for the frequencies it can no longer hear.[Hubert Lim], a biomedical engineer at the University of Minnesota discovered that the brain can be stimulated to the point of suppressing tinnitus for as long as a year. [Lim] discovered this by accident while doing deep brain stimulation in a patient with tinnitus. The electrode got a little wild and touched other areas of the brain, and the patient suddenly exclaimed that they could no longer hear their tinnitus.
Then [Lim] and his team tested guinea pigs, searching here, there and under the armpits for the best place to suppress tinnitus. As it turns out, the tongue is one of the best places when used with a specific sound image. So then they did a human experiment with 326 people. Each person had a small paddle electrode on their tongue and headphones on their ears.
As the electrodes sparkled like Pop Rocks against their tongues, the subjects listened to pure frequencies played over a background of sound resembling steam wave music. The combination of the two overstimulates the brain and forces it to suppress the tinnitus reaction. This discovery certainly acts as a game changer for tinnitus sufferers. If we had tinnitus, we would be the first in line to try this given the chance. Armed with the soundscape, we have to wonder how many 9V batteries we need to lick to approximate the paddle.
Speaking of taste, have you ever experienced all five at once? Here is a device that simulates them all.