Can Vibration Help with Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the presence of persistent ringing or buzzing in one’s ears that isn’t there. This condition is more common than one might think, affecting an estimated 10% of the American population, or roughly 24 million people. Despite extensive research, there is currently no cure for tinnitus.


Those dealing with tinnitus have a variety of coping mechanisms at their disposal, ranging from meditative techniques to professional counseling. One emerging method that shows promise is bimodal stimulation therapy, which incorporates the power of vibration.


Understanding Bimodal Stimulation Therapy

Woman holds ear with tinnitus
Woman holds ear with tinnitus

Bimodal stimulation therapy capitalizes on the brain’s innate capacity for neuroplasticity, or the ability to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience. This therapy combines auditory stimulation, like peaceful sounds or white noise, with tactile feedback in the form of vibrations, to help reshape the brain’s auditory processing.


The Role of Vibration in Therapy

Introducing a tactile stimulus like vibration, alongside auditory cues, aims to divert the brain’s attention from these false sounds to actual, physical sensations. By consistently providing an external, tactile stimulus, this therapy encourages the brain to de-prioritize the internal, illusory sounds of tinnitus. The vibrations act as a diversion, offering the brain a tangible external focus and thereby diminishing the internal characteristic of tinnitus.


Previously, bimodal therapy employed techniques such as electric shocks applied to the tongue. This method required daily sessions with an audiologist. However, a study conducted in 2023 has found that combining auditory sounds with corresponding wrist vibrations offers a simpler and more effective means of mitigating tinnitus symptoms.


While vibrational therapy is a forward step in symptom management, it’s crucial to recognize that it doesn’t cure the root causes of tinnitus. Given the complexity of tinnitus, which can stem from numerous factors, a multifaceted approach to treatment is typically necessary.


For those interested in delving deeper into this research or looking into additional strategies to manage tinnitus, a consultation with a specialist can be arranged. Contact Tinnitus & Hearing Experts to schedule an appointment.