A Brief History of S-Tones®
In 2006, researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) began working with a patient with a cochlear implant who was suffering from tinnitus. Traditional treatment approaches were attempted, but failed to provide relief. They applied a low frequency sound, at a comfortable loudness via the patient’s cochlear implant and discovered that this relieved the patient’s tinnitus–for the first time in two years, all he heard was a calming, pleasant tone produced by the low-rate stimulus. Transferring this technology from a cochlear implant to sounds anyone could hear led to the creation of S-Tones, the foundation of the SoundCure Serenade® technology.
S-Tones are Temporally Patterned Sounds
S-Tones are designed to produce synchronized, robust neural activity in the auditory cortex. Figure 1 shows that patterned sounds that are too slow or too fast are not effective, but at the right rate cause neurons to fire synchronously to the sound stimulus.
S-Tones in Action
Studies by researchers suggest that the use of S-Tones may play a role in promoting tinnitus suppression. According to a UCI researcher, “The mechanisms underlying tinnitus suppression are different from those in tinnitus masking. Masking attempts to divert a patient’s attention away from the tinnitus. Suppression is a physiologic process where sounds—in this case, patterned sounds—may likely be modulating the activity of the auditory cortex and interrupting tinnitus generation.”
Further, synchronized neural activity is described this way in a research paper:
“Within 30 seconds, the subject started to experience some tinnitus suppression and by 120 seconds reported being unable to hear his tinnitus. This is an example of 100% suppression.”
S-Tones do not need to be loud to be effective, researchers have discovered: “A sound is presented that is softer than the level of the tinnitus, which may completely eliminate the perception of the tinnitus. The overall level of the sound environment is less than the tinnitus alone.”
Research is ongoing and the treatment sounds continue to be studied.
Our Sound Therapy Suite
Tinnitus is not a simple condition that can be addressed with a one-size-fits-all approach. Therefore SoundCure offers a variety of sound therapy tracks from which your audiologist can choose to treat your unique condition. SoundCure’s unique S-Tones, custom narrowband stimuli, and broadband sounds are all provided to enable your physician to find the most effective solution for you.