HyperSound Launches Tinnitus Feature for HyperSound Clear 500P
AudiologyOnline: What was the driver behind development of the new Tinnitus add-on feature for HyperSound Clear™ 500P home audio system?
Rodney Schutt: The driver behind the development of this feature was the need to help millions of people suffering from tinnitus. HyperSound is still in its infancy as the HyperSound Clear 500p has been out for less than a year. In that time, we've addressed two prominent hearing healthcare issues. First, we recreated a comfortable home entertainment environment where people struggling to hear the TV, and their family and friends, can return to the TV room and enjoy the latest entertainment together. Now, we're able to provide relief for people suffering from tinnitus. These are groundbreaking, all-new solutions for managing these two specific issues that affect millions of people around the world. We plan to continue to research and test other areas where HyperSound technology may have the potential to be a hearing healthcare solution or provide exceptional improvements in the home entertainment environment.
AudiologyOnline: What are the benefits of HyperSound Clear 500P?
Schutt: The benefits of HyperSound Clear 500P are extensive. First and very importantly, studies show HyperSound works. Both as a TV solution to significantly improve sound clarity and speech in individuals with hearing loss and as a solution to significantly decrease tinnitus loundness and annoyance while in the HyperSound beam with the tinnitus sound playing. The tinnitus study which was just published, showed significant relief from tinnitus while listening with the HyperSound Clear 500P. Subjects reported decreases in both tinnitus loudness and tinnitus annoyance, reducing from 60 to 23 points and 64 to 29 points respectively while in the HyperSound beam with tinnitus sounds playing. Secondly, a headset is not required to use the system. Next, HyperSound Clear 500P is customizable and programmable to a patient's audiometric results including high frequency audiometry as well as results of tinnitus testing. The hearing healthcare professional is able to program the unit based on the individual's needs, and the patient is able to finetune their own volume settings out to 16,000 Hz while choosing from a list of nine soothing tinnitus relief sounds. Additionally, those suffering from sleep deprivation from a result of their tinnitus can take advantage of the critical sleep timer option that ranges from 15 minutes to 120 minutes.
HyperSound ClearTM 500P home audio system.
AudiologyOnline: Who are the candidates for the Tinnitus add-on feature?
Schutt: The ideal candidates are those people looking for a tinnitus solution. They have likely tried other products and/or medications with limited to no success. HyperSound is a product to help ease the patient's tinnitus symptoms while sitting in the beam without needing to wear headphones. Current research suggests that about 20% of the individuals with tinnitus are adversely affected by it and would benefit from clinical intervention. A recent report in JAMA also indicated that audiologists and other hearing healthcare professionals need to play a greater role in managing of these cases. Although there are many effective interventions such as tinnitus retraining therapy, mindfulness therapy, and several types of traditional masking devices, the tinnitus application available in HyperSound has some unique qualities.
For example, with HyperSound, no instrumentation is worn on the ear and it connects directly to the TV. HyperSound may offer some unique advantages to individuals who have trouble sleeping. Also, because of the extent of the high frequency bandwidth (greater than 10,000 Hz) associated with the ultrasonic transmission of sound, we are seeing some early reports suggesting it does a remarkable job of temporarily suppressing tinnitus.
We are in the process of additional studies on the clinical effectiveness of HyperSound's tinnitus relief feature. A clinical study is currently underway at the University of Iowa with Dr. Rich Tyler and we expect to share those findings as soon as they are available.
HyperSound Clear™ 500P speakers are directed audio solutions: they emit sound in a highly controlled, narrow beam – much like how a flashlight beams light.
AudiologyOnline: If someone already owns a HyperSound audio system, can the tinnitus feature be added or retrofit?
Schutt: Yes. There is a simple firmware update to the device that can be done by the hearing healthcare professional. If a prior patient/consumer has already purchased HyperSound, they can simply disconnect the amp at home and take it back in to their hearing healthcare professional and have the tinnitus feature added on to it.
AudiologyOnline: What feedback are you hearing from people using the HyperSound Clear 500P tinnitus feature?
Schutt: We currently have multiple facilities across the country trying the product with their patients. Feedback from the patients has been very positive. They report an impressive decrease in tinnitus loudness and annoyance. Hearing healthcare professionals are also encouraged by the preliminary data and excited to offer a tinnitus solution for their patients.
One of our clinical research sites is the California Hearing and Balance Center. The founder and medical director, Ritvik Mehta, MD, stated: "As a hearing healthcare professional I'm very excited to be part of another significant breakthrough in hearing healthcare driven by Turtle Beach's HyperSound technology and backed with our research." Our clinical study included 11 adult patients living with chronic tinnitus. Initial results demonstrated impressive reduction in tinnitus loudness and annoyance. You can review that study here.
Dr. Sarah Mattson, an audiologist, has also provided very positive feedback from her patients using HyperSound.
For further feedback, you can check out the following video that features Drs. Mehta, Mattson, and their patients discussing their experiences with HyperSound Clear 500P - click on the image to play the video.
Drs. Mattson, Mehta and their patients discuss their experiences with HyperSound Clear 500P - click image to play video.
AudiologyOnline: Where should people go for more information?
Schutt: For more information, professionals can contact their local HyperSound representative or visit www.hypersoundhearing.com. Continuing education courses, videos and more for professionals can also be found at the HyperSound Expo Page on AudiologyOnline.
Rodney Schutt is SVP and General Manager of HyperSound.