How the Neosensory Duo Could Reduce Tinnitus – David Eagleman, PhD – #19

David Eagleman answered how the Neosensory Duo could potentially help people with their tinnitus?

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Hello and welcome. This is episode number 19 with the Pure Tinnitus & Hearing Podcast. My name is Dr. Thompson. Today’s special guest is David Eagleman, Ph.D., neuroscientist, author, technologist, and entrepreneur. Dr. Eagleman’s research encompasses brain plasticity, sensory substitution, time perception. And we’re here today to talk about his work with the company called Neosensory. They’ve recently released a product, a technology called the Neosensory Duo, which is a wristband. And we’re here today to meet with Dr. Eagleman and learn more about how the Neosensory Duo could potentially help people with their tinnitus. Dr. Eagleman welcome. And let’s start with learning a little bit about your history with the company Neosensory, and how your company got involved with tinnitus.

Dr. Ben Thompson and Neuroscientist David Eagleman discussed how the Neosensory device could possibly help people with tinnitus.

David Eagleman, PhD.

Yeah, great. So I’ve run research labs since I was a young man and I got really interested in this issue of sensory substitution, which is how can you feed information into the brain via unusual pathways. And so one of the things that I got interested in my lab is could we address deafness where, so, you know, there are about 220 reasons why somebody might go deaf, could we push auditory information into the brain via another channel. And so what we came up with at the time was a vest with vibratory motors all over it. And it would capture sound and turn sound into patterns of vibration on the skin and people who were deaf could come to hear the word that way, like actually hear the word, which sounds crazy of course, but it’s because the ear is just transferring air compression waves in despite that go off to the auditory cortex, we were able to just get spikes to the brain via another channel. So we built this device which is called the Neosensory Buzz when we reduced the vest down to the wristband and this has vibratory motors all along here. Okay, so that’s how the company started. I spun that off from my lab about six years ago now.

But more recently, what happened is we were just studying the literature and looking at what was going on. And we saw that there were two different groups who were addressing tinnitus in particular. One was a Susan Shore’s group from University of Michigan. And one was Conlin at all this group from Ireland that was addressing these in scientific papers. And what they showed is that candidates could be driven down the aversiveness of tinnitus could be driven down by what’s called bimodal stimulation, which is having sounds played and simultaneously having touch going to the body. Now, both groups used shocks on the tongue and they used an electro-tactile grid on the tongue. And what they found in these published papers was that the combination of these obviously it’s called bimodal ’cause it’s two modes it’s hearing and it’s touch. They found that it drove the aversiveness of tinnitus down. And so I was really intrigued by these studies and I thought, wow, I wonder why they use the tongue. And it turns out the reason they did that is because Susan Shore’s lab was studying a very particular nucleus called the dorsal cochlear nucleus, which is involved in that’s the first place where auditory information meets, touch some of sensory information from the head and neck. And that’s why they use the tongue because they wanted head and neck stimulation to meet the thing. Now why the dorsal cochlear nucleus? It’s because that happens to be what they were studying separately in animals. They happen to dunk their electrodes in the DCN. And so they were doing studies to see if they could match it up. But the thing that struck me as almost all the time in neuroscience, whenever somebody says, hey, I think this is the spot in the brain where something is happening. It’s usually not the case. It’s usually just because that happens to be where they’re, it’s the drunk looking for the keys under the streetlight. So anyway, I thought let’s try this. Let’s try and see if bimodal stimulation with stimulation on the skin from the wrist does the same thing. And so we’ve been studying that for a while now and we get exactly the same results that Susan Chore’s lab did and the Irish Group did. The Irish Group has spun off a company called Linea, which does sound plus electro-tactile shock on the tongue. So that’s how we got here.

So we tried this just to see if this bi-modal stimulation would work if it’s on the skin, it works just fine. I’ll tell you my interpretation of this. I mean, there’s detailed interpretations, but the simplest way to look at this is that there’s brain plasticity, your brain is constantly changing and reconfiguring, and so on. And I think what’s going on here might be as simple as this is teaching the brain the difference between external and internal sounds. So when you are hearing a sound and feeling verification of that sound on your skin, your brain says, oh, okay, got it. There’s a sound in the outside world and I can tell that’s an external sound because I’m hearing it and I’m feeling it. In contrast when there’s tinnitus happening. You’re not feeling anything here. And so your brain says, oh, I get it. That’s an internal sound, that’s different. And so what happens is, you start seeing the results from that. And with the Linea Group, the Irish Group, they do their thing usually for 10 to 12 weeks, we’ve done studies where we do this for eight weeks and we find about the biggest result. Although we found it in a few people that it keeps going a little bit to 12 weeks, but yeah, so it’s not an instant thing. It takes a little bit for your brain to reorganize to drive that down. And by the way, when I’m talking about driving it down, I want to specify two things which is, it’s not a cure for tinnitus, but it drives down the aversiveness as measured by the tinnitus functional index, the TFI, which probably many listeners are familiar with, asked a series of questions about how it’s affected their lives, how they feel about it, this sort of thing and those scores, the scores go down a clinically significant amount. So on the TFI, it’s considered clinically significant, a few drop by 13 points. And most of our subjects have that or bigger.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Okay, well, we’re going to get into that science in a little bit, really excited about that. And Dr. Eagleman thank you so much. We’re so glad you’re here because anytime a neuroscientists like yourself and a research group chooses to research tinnitus more, we know that we’re getting closer to understanding the complexity of this is much more than just an ear phenomenon here. So other systems in the brain that are very much involved in this sustained activation of tinnitus, and you’re an author, you’ve written eight books, you are a brain lover, you’re fixated on the brain. You’ve done great work with that. Your latest book is called “Live Wired.” You talked a bit there about showing the brain that tinnitus is an internal signal. And having that validation through that bi-modal stimulation. Tell us the difference between someone who can hear what you’re saying, understand it cognitively versus the brain being shown it and knowing it at a subconscious level and how there’s differences between those two levels of understanding and one might affect the actual level of tinnitus whereas the other might not necessarily.

David Eagleman, PhD.

Yeah, I mean, almost everything that brain does happens at an unconscious level. So what we are conscious of is just the tiniest little bit, the conscious mind is like the broom closet in the mansion of the brain. So this happens all the time. I mean, if I were to tell you as a kid, okay, here’s how you ride a bicycle, you bounced a tour. So you, you know, I can tell you all that, but you need to actually do it and train your brain unconsciously on that. Likewise, if I say to you, you know, hey, don’t worry about the tinnitus. It’s just an internal sound. It’s not actually a real sound in the world that the cognitive influence on that is essentially zero. You need to actually train the brain to understand the difference between external and internal sounds yeah.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

That’s really huge, that’s really huge. So overall, how does the wristband work? If you, if someone asks you really quickly, how does this wristband work? What is your response?

David Eagleman, PhD.

Yeah, so capture sound and it translates that sound into a spectrum of frequencies on the wrist. If I play a high sound beep, it’s shown up over here. If I play this and it looks on boom, it comes out over here. The way this works for people who have hearing loss is that you’re capturing the whole world and doing this the way we’re doing this with tinnitus. It’s the same hardware exactly but what we’re doing tinnitus is we play a series of tones. We’ve been trying all kinds of experiments about, so our, I should say our first set of experiments, it’s just tones going up and down and up and down. And the band is responding to these, but we’re doing other things now where we’re playing unpredicted tones with different durations, all of it’s unpredictable. This is just a minor tweak because the brain responds best to things that doesn’t quite predict. So that’s one of the things we’re offering now, but what a lot of a lot of people do now is they just wear the surround while they’re walking around during the day.

So in other words, they play the tones, which is the training. And what we found in our experiments is that 10 minutes a day is sufficient. So, you know, you just do something quiet. You read a book, you surf your phone on, whatever. But for 10 minutes, the brain is really getting these tones. But what a lot of people do is they then wear it around outside of that also, so that they’re picking up on the sounds of the world. So in the microwave beeps or the door shuts or whatever, they’re just hearing sound and getting verification of it. And that seems to be great as well.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

That’s fantastic. And of course, whenever there’s a new technology in the tennis world, we are optimistic and simultaneously patient trying to get as much data and objective information on this as we can before making any big promises. As you’ve said, this is not intended to cure tinnitus. None of the bimodal stimulation devices are. I want to ask you a user question. I asked the Pure Tinnitus community that we are having this interview, and there was a user question about, would it be more beneficial to use the Neosensory Duo wristband for longer than 10 minutes a day? And why did your research group decide to go with 10 minutes as a standard daily practice with it?

David Eagleman, PhD.

Yes, so we ended up doing, you know, so as I said, we looking at the papers of what had come before we realized that it doesn’t have to be that long. And by the way, 10 minutes of sitting and listening to tones is a long time and enough. If you imagine spending 10 minutes, trying to learn how to ride a bike every day, you get pretty far that way. So that’s what we ended up running for the studies. And what we found is that, that work that drove the diversity of tinnitus down as measured by the tinnitus functional index. And so that’s why we did it.

Now a lot of people have written us to say, hey, I’m using it for longer. I’m using it for half an hour a day. I’m using multiple sessions a day and that’s great. We don’t actually know at the moment, whether there’s a significant difference there, whether that makes it better or not, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. So we are telling people great, as long as you did at least 10 minutes, that’s what you need. And if you use it for longer, that’s great. I think as we get more data in over the, you know, over the coming years, we’ll start seeing whether the people who wear it for a lot longer, have a really different clinically different out, significantly different outcome.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Thank you so much. And I want to bring this into another important point here is that a lot of tinnitus sufferers or people who are really suffering with tinnitus are in a state of high anxiety and insomnia. And with your knowledge of the brain and how these systems work with each other. First of all, it’s important to know that people have reduced their tinnitus without these technologies we’re talking about, although they are the newest most promising research developments, other people have reduced their tinnitus without them because being a tinnitus telehealth specialist myself, people are often asking me in a very anxious state. Do I need to do this right now? Am I missing out? And I just wanted you to comment from your perspective knowledge of the brain, about how anxiety, insomnia, stress might influence tinnitus and how the Neosensory Duo or any treatment product technology plays a role in that.

David Eagleman, PhD.

Yeah. It seems a big part of the problem with tinnitus of course, is the emotional reaction to the sound. And so, just as an example, what we were mentioning before about if the brain understands it as an internal sound, that it doesn’t need to pay attention to, that makes a big difference. But I think there are probably lots of different angles on reducing stress. And so obviously when people meditate, when they get better sleep, when they stop drinking, which disrupts her sleep. So there’s all kinds of ways of reducing stress, such that when people hear the sound, they don’t have to feel anxious about it. So what we of course are recommending to people is to try all of this in other words. So just as an example, for people who pick up the Neosensory Duo, we tell them terrific, do this. And by the way, here are other tips on reducing stress in your life as well. My, I mean, I think we probably share the suspicion that there’s the best way to do this is to hit all those fronts to make sure you’re getting good sleep, good diet, reducing stress in your life.

By the way, I noticed something amazing. I didn’t have a chance to tell you about this has been but so we’ve been measuring the tinnitus functional index on a whole bunch of participants going through this and back in, I think it was March if I’m remembering this correctly when we changed daylight savings time and suddenly everyone lost an hour of sleep. Everyone’s tinnitus bumped up that week, just be, but anyway, it was a real illustration to me of how just a little something like everybody losing an hour of sleep, really drove it up just temporarily. So anyway, it’s so clearly related to all kinds of issues about how your body is doing that, that day or that week.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Yeah, we call it tinnitus, the health amateur, or the barometric pressure reader of the body. And the most common reason someone has a sudden onset in this is to studied in 1995 by the Hazel Group within this et cetera. The two most common factors associated with the emergence of sudden onset bothersome tinnitus were stressors around work or retirement or money or interpersonal relationships or anxiety or stress around that. So those are not auditory, only fourth on the list was acoustic trauma. So it shows us that yes, it’s related to the ear, but usually, the driver for sudden onset loud tinnitus is not the auditory pathway individually. So really fascinating stuff and I want to transition into some nitty-gritty scientific questions. It won’t be textbook, boring, scientific questions. These will be fun, exciting questions that people do like to learn about because it gives them more knowledge of what’s happening with their tinnitus. And if you’re a professional listening or watching, this will help you counsel patients because you’re going to get a lot of questions about the neosensory duo and other bimodal stimulation devices in the next few years I believe.

So question number one, what regions of the brain need to change for tinnitus to reduce in loudness, which can happen. And I’ve seen it that does happen. What needs to change in the brain for tinnitus to reduce in perceived loudness or perceived annoyance.

David Eagleman, PhD.

Yeah, these are terrific questions. And we don’t actually know the answer to, we as a community writ large don’t know the answer. What seems to be the case is that the limbic system, which is this deep emotional center, seems to be very involved in what happens with one’s reaction to tinnitus. So for most people with tinnitus, it ends up being really stressful and anxiety producing. And what the general story seems to be with any of the approaches, whether it’s bimodal stimulation or meditation or better sleep or whatever is unhooking it from the limbic system a bit. So that it doesn’t feel so stressful. And this is in part what the TFI is measuring. It’s not simply the loudness of it, but the aversiveness of it. So that seems to be a big part. The general story whenever we talk about what part of the brain is, there’s almost never a single spot you can point to. And actually, this is why I was skeptical when I saw this report about, oh, we think the dorsal cochlear nucleus might be a spot that’s really the key spot because it involves the whole forest of the brain. Things are changing all over the place. But anyway, that, you know, I wish we knew more in 2021, but that seems to be the main thing is unhooking the stressfulness of the sound from the limbic system. And again, that’s why we think the bimodal stimulation works is it’s just teaching. Okay, that’s an internal sound. I don’t need to attend to it. I don’t need to think about it because it’s not something real.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Yeah, and I believe that’s called the global brain system right. So what other experiences have you had? What other health conditions might have a similar effect where there’s the center of a certain sense in the brain, but then it’s impacted by so many other regions.

David Eagleman, PhD.

I mean, essentially everything we look at. So look at something like blindness. So you would think okay, blindness has something to do with the eyes, but of course there’s cortical blindness too. And what’s, you know, for anyone who’s studied neuroscience on this you can get damaged, all kinds of parts of the visual cortex and you end up with different flavors of what it even means to be blind. You can lose color perception, you can lose the ability to name, you know, something you can say, oh yeah, I get it. It’s got a long handle on a thing, but you can’t name it as a hammer, or you can lose the ability to look at the hammer and draw it. You’re unable to draw it now, but you know perfectly well what it is and say, oh, that’s a hammer, but I can’t draw. There are a million ways, I would say the main lesson of neuroscience, maybe over the last 150 years has been that what we think of is like, oh yeah, I’m just seeing, or I’m hearing or whatever it’s actually made up of all these sub pieces and parts and different lesions, different areas of damage to the brain are what have illustrated that to us.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

We’re glad we have you and your team working on this because this is way over my head for that in-depth scientific analysis, testing the actual comparisons and their experiments, and we’re really fascinated. So thank you for choosing to be involved in the hearing and tinnitus communities. The question we had touched on earlier of the different research groups that have looked at bimodal stimulation and some things I wanted to ask you on. So we have the vagus nerve, we have the trigeminal nerve, which of those are coming through the tongue, which of those might be coming through the neck. And how does that relate to the brain with bimodal stimulation compared to neosensory’s approach?

David Eagleman, PhD.

Here’s the general story. So you’ve got some Madison station, which is sensation from the body like touch. Of course it involves pressure and itch and temperature and other things too. But you’ve got this coming from the whole body going into the brain. And the key is that it all ends up going to the somatic sensory cortex, which is where essentially you’d wear headphones, where you’re wearing headphones. That’s this amount of sensory cortex. And so it all gets there. But this is the little Subtle point I mentioned before, which is that touch from the head and the neck actually goes and hits the stores of cochlear nucleus also. And that’s why this group that was stunning this thought, maybe that was the key thing. And so, like I said, I didn’t know if that was the key thing. I was maybe a little suspicious that it would be a single spot. So that’s why we tried it. But that’s how we found that this works just as well. But the point is, this goes up into the brain, it hits the sensory cortex, but here’s, I would say the overarching thing that is the most important thing about the brain, which is that everything connects to everything else. And so even though we tend to think about, okay, here’s vision, here’s hearing, there’s touch, blah, blah. In fact, the brain is fundamentally multi-sensory and you happen to have these old windows where different types of information get in, you know, photons or compression waves or pressure. But as soon as it’s past the primary sensory, cortices, everything is about, okay, how are these things fitting together? And that’s how we actually make our model of the world is as a multi-sensory thing. Yeah, which is why, if someone gives you a gift you pick it up, you shake it, you look at it, you listen to it. I mean, everything that we examine in the world is multisensory so I hope that yeah.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Thank you so much. And then these different research groups looking at the neck or the tongue, as I know, doing some evoked potential work for testing in audiology, which means electrodes on the skin to measure brain response, et cetera. There’s different impedance or resistance of the electrical signal. So tell us if that’s a factor here between the wrist, the neck, the tongue, how that all works.

David Eagleman, PhD.

Great question. It’s not because what we’re doing here is not an electrical signal, it’s just pressure. So imagine the buzzer on your cell phone buzzing here. And so what we have is just touched directly on the skin and then that gets carried by nerves up into the spinal cord and up into the brain. So in this case electrical impedance doesn’t have anything to do with it. It’s just like, yeah. Like a fly landed on you or something like that. It’s just you’ve got these nerves that carry the signals into your brain.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Very good, thank you. And where does the two months come from between your research group and others in bimodal stimulation? People ask me, this, is this a permanent thing? And I tell them well, tinnitus retraining therapy is typically about a year of retraining. So where did the two months come from?

David Eagleman, PhD.

So I’ll tell you what we did is we studied this for two months and I mentioned this briefly before, but I’ll just repeat this ’cause it’s sort of an important week. What we found is that it’s not an instant thing, just like buy credit. And what we found is that around eight weeks is when it seemed to flatten out. So we said, all right, two months seems to be the thing when we looked at all the subjects together, that seemed to be sufficient. And we also know that we’re facing, how do I put this? People who want in a syrupy, they don’t want to do something forever for six months, for a year or something like that. And so we ended up on two months as this period that seems to be a really good compromise between these two things.

Now, the way we structure this as is as a rental program. So people rent the thing for two months and then they return it. But some people, I mean, a lot of people now have said that they really are getting benefit out of this and they want to keep it for longer for one of two reasons, either they want to keep it going to 12 weeks, 16 weeks, or they just want to have it in their drawer in case they need it again. So I would say two months is the period that we chose. That seems like, okay, that’s about the right period of time. That’s one can use it as I mentioned though, we did find in some of our studies just recently, we’ve been running people longer and some people not everyone have a little bit of a dip again in the third month. So the way we set up the program is that you can run it for a few months. You can run it for three months. You can run it for four months. If you ran it for four months then you just keep it forever. So that’s the way we’ve set it up to try out like that.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Yeah, thank you. And I have patients asking me, should I use the neosensory duo and in my initial responses, okay, let’s take a step back. What are the fundamentals for tinnitus retraining, mental health, sleep, using sound therapy for most hours of the day. And this particularly applies to someone who’s had a more recent onset than it is, or someone who’s been having loud tinnitus for a few years or a few months, I counsel them and say, let’s focus on the fundamentals. Let’s make sure those are solid and then consider supplemental approaches. And at this time bimodal stimulation, in my opinion, is supplemental to a foundational approach. And I also would include things like meditation, mental health, self-care as supplemental. And I’m wondering how your group counsels people who call in about the product.

David Eagleman, PhD.

Yeah, it’s exactly the same. And actually one of the things that we set up is when people, when people, I mean, not that many people come to us for counseling before, but once people have it, we send a series of emails out weekly. And this is one of the main things that we going to make sure we counsel is about all the other things, just to make sure all of those are in line in terms of stress and drinking and diet and sleep and stuff like that. Yeah, and I agree with you, it’s all, you know, the truth is it’s a little, it’s a little hard to know for anybody’s particular case where the problem is, and bimodal simulation feels to me like, you know, like physically you’re changing something in the brain. So it feels like a slightly different category than just making sure that sleep and diet and stress are down. Which is equally as important. But I don’t, yeah. I don’t know which to say is the foundation in which I just think both parts are super important.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

It’s in development, it’s definitely in development. It’s definitely in development. And I see that as the research becomes more clear and we’re patient, right? Anxiety and tinnitus and we want to get our life better as soon as possible. But we don’t want to force something and we have to be patient because research takes time right?

David Eagleman, PhD.

Yeah, yeah, exactly right.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Yeah. Question for you is, as a scientist, have you had research hypothesis that your lab has tested, but they’ve failed?

David Eagleman, PhD.

I mean all the time, I mean, yes.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

When you know, when do you know that a hypothesis isn’t working.

David Eagleman, PhD.

Oh, as soon as the data tells you? So just as an example with bimodal stimulation, I, you know, I, we tried it on the wrist and not having any idea if you need to have head and neck stem or whether wrists would work. So we tried it and what we found is that on average 87% of people had this great result with it. So then we felt like, oh, that’s great. But I was completely prepared slash even possibly expecting that it wouldn’t work on the wrist, but yeah, I think anybody scientific career is defined by failure. All, I mean, you know, just all the time. One is when it’s trying things that fail. And this is really the important part of science probably life too. It’s just trying a million experiments and seeing what works that’s how anything moves forward.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And it makes sense that your lab would test this and see something before having larger experiments and then releasing a product to the public. So at what point do you have a large enough sample size to have the validity or have a high confidence that you can recommend this to a population level? That’s the golden question that I as an audiologist I’m sort of waiting for yeah.

David Eagleman, PhD.

Yeah, exactly. So we tested it on a group of, I think we’ve got 64 people and what we found is a very clear result. But the interesting part is the result we found was exactly the same size and shape as what Linea had found and Susan Shore had found. So it ended up becoming part of a larger picture and the near the paper that they published in science translational medicine had 326 people in it. And so what happened is we then started releasing this very slowly for people to try this. And we keep very careful track for people who want to share, not all customers want to share, but for those who do, you know, we do a lot of customer discovery interviews where we call people, we talk to them about it, we see what’s going on, how it’s going. And so what we have now is a much larger pool of people, all of whom have had, you know, sorry, not all of whom about 87% of whom have had really good results. And by the way, I just want to mention, maybe you’re going to ask this anyway, but you might ask, okay, why 87% who’s the other 13%? And the answer is, we don’t know yet. We don’t know why not everyone responds. So the way we took care of this just as a company, the way we took care of this is we have this 30 day money back guarantee. So this is just, this was just a way to solve this for us, where what we found is by four weeks people are clearly seeing, they’re clearly heading down the slope if they’re going to have help. And so we hope that in a year, like, you know, Ben we’ll talk in six months or a year from now, we have lots of data. And my hope, my dream is that we’ll be able to say like, oh, look, if you have an acoustic neuroma, this won’t work for you but if you have this this will work for you, whatever, but we don’t know what the answer is yet right now. And so that’s why we just wanted to make sure that anybody who wasn’t finding any result, that they were satisfied with, they just get their money back no questions asked.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

I studied with Dr. Jastreboff and in our field, he’s a leading tinnitus scientist and has been for a number of decades. And one thing that he, when I asked him about how do I evaluate new technologies and their response was make sure that we’re testing these outcomes six months after starting, because there can be a strong sort of return in a period of two or three months. So as my individual self and professional, I’m saying, okay, before I highly, highly endorsed a new technology, I want to see the longterm effect. And what have you seen in terms of six months, 12 months between the wristband, which I know is relatively new versus the other research groups?

David Eagleman, PhD.

Yeah, great. So what in the near published, I think it was last year now they published a 12 months out study with their 326 adults. And they found that 12 months later the effect held from bimodal stimulation. So we are of course tracking it now, if people who experimental subjects, who did the bimodal stimulation with a wristband and then stopped, and then we’ve been tracking them out, we’re only about three months out currently. And so far it holds, but I mean, obviously where we want to get is six, 12 months out. So ask me again in three months, but it looks very promising right now. And the thing is, again, the Linea Study found 12 months out that the effect health.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

I have two older brothers and it feels like your company has some different older siblings who have been researching this and setting the framework a bit so that if yours is in line earlier, we can say, well, it’s likely going to follow theirs but we’re not claiming that yet.

David Eagleman, PhD.

That’s exactly right, that’s exactly right. And you know, we’ve also found that, so we’ve also run a control group with just the tones, without the wristband. In fact, we don’t even tell people that we’re a company called neosensors, so they can’t look us up on the web or anything. I’ve run people with tones and what we found is that some of those controlled subjects seem to have a good results too. And this is something that I think is not surprising in the sense that some people have. So what we’re doing is measuring the, you know, how long that lasts and I’ll be able to tell you more data as the time goes along. But our expectation of course is that what we’re seeing is that it really lasts with the wristband. And the presumption is that this is not going to last with the control group. In this for a couple of reasons. One is that Susan Shore, for example, had a control group and showed a very big difference between the bimodal stimulation and the control.

And the other thing is that, I mean, this is not really a scientific argument, but just, I would be really surprising to me if just tones alone worked well because that would have been something that was in place and it had been long ago discovered. So, so this is why we’re. Yeah, but we’re just being really careful about the control thing. One of the things that is really interesting about the Linea Study, is that they didn’t have a control group. So they did the bimodal stimulation three different ways and found great results. And they found that it lasted a year, but what would have made it a perfect paper is if they had a control group that just did audio only. So that’s what we’re making sure we’re implementing that.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

I’m glad you’re incorporating that audio only part of this, because in my understanding, it’s hard to have a control when there’s obvious, conscious perception of stimulation right?

David Eagleman, PhD.

Yeah, exactly. So what we’re doing is we online recruited control subjects and we don’t tell them that we’re Neosensory or anything, and they just go online and listen to these tones, booboo, booboo, going up every day. They do that for 10 minutes a day. And yeah, that’s how we’re doing the audio only control.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Well, we’re wrapping up here. I want to give you some time to address to the tinnitus community here at pure tinnitus. I’ve developed this purpose to really help people who are trying to put all these pieces together. There’s so much information online and there’s a lot of misinformation. Your company has jumped on the scene in the past number of months and year or so. And I want you to speak to the tinnitus community about what might be important for them in the next three to six months, from your knowledge of the brain of the holistic side of this, of the technology side of this, please have the floor.

David Eagleman, PhD.

Well, here’s what I’d say. You know, the thing about bimodal stimulation, one of the great advantages of it is it’s really simple. And it seems to work really well, both from our results, in the Linea results and Susan Shores results. And on top of that, we have this 30-day money back guarantee. And I should also mention the thing about linea, who published this big study. You know, they’re not in the United States yet. And so what we have found, I’m just giving from feedback from the community. We’ve found is this is super useful and helpful for people to be able to rent this inexpensively it’s, I can’t remember exactly, but I think this is, you know, it’s some small fraction of the price of the linea thing. And as I understand it, if I’m correct about this with linea, you have to do this in an audiologist’s office. So you go in every day and you put it on the headphones, you put this electric tactile grid on your tongue.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Not necessarily, not necessarily in an office, but with, with headphones over your ears.

David Eagleman, PhD.

Oh, okay. But do they actually send you the equipment or you do it?

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Yeah, you go home with the equipment as long as I know.

David Eagleman, PhD.

Great, terrific. So, okay, so again, it’s not in the United States, so that’s obviously I’m lacking some detail on it. But so what we found is this is really, this is something that a lot of people have responded very well to us putting out as a product. And what we’re doing now is, you know, as I mentioned, we’re doing all these things with different types of tones and being able to figure out exactly your own frequency and the loudness and so on and dance around that sort of combining notch therapy and the bimodal stimulation. We’re also doing this now. This is about to be released where some people of course have very high pitched tone. And so we’re doing it now where it’s via Bluetooth, where you’re the app that, you know, we have a freemium century app on the phone. And instead of just playing tones that the wristband can hear, you can play very high tones that you’re listening to on headphones and via Bluetooth it’s stimulating the wristbands so that if you happen to have high frequency, anyway, all this is to say, we’re doing lots and lots of things to make this a better and better experience. And I’m really jazzed that the truth is that we developed this wristband for a different purpose it’s for hearing loss, completely separate purpose, but it happens to work really well for this. And so this has been a direction that we’ve gone in and we’ve already been getting so much feedback from people of different sorts. So I mean, part of it is, you know, okay, it was real loud diversive now it’s not, some people say it went from a high-pitched whine to like more of a hiss. Everyone is reporting different sorts of things. And one of the things that we’re going to be doing, we’re already been doing it, but we’re going to be doing more of this just making sure that all these reviews are out there, not only on our website, but on tinnitus talking to the forums and so on so that people can try this themselves.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Yeah, thank you so much, Dr. Eagleman. Please continue with the research. We love the controls, the test subjects, the different experimental groups tweaking, trying, please we need it as a tinnitus therapist, as someone who works with people every day to help them with their tinnitus. I know the technology part of it is an important piece. And one reason why I love this field is because we’re in this bridge between the brain and technology. And that seems to be the place that you stay as well. Would you like to tell us about your recent book or any other, anything else you’d like to share as we part here?

David Eagleman, PhD.

Yeah, the book is called “live wired,” and it’s all about brain plasticity. It’s just about this general story that your brain is changing every moment of your life actually. I mean, for the people listening to this podcast, your brain is actually different than when it started, because you know, all the, anything that you’ve learned or you’re interested in or whatever, you’ve got 86 billion neurons that are changing their strength of connections and unplugging and replugging and seeking. And you’ve got this dynamic system and instead of thinking of it like hardware and software, which is how we think about everything in Silicon Valley, I call this live where, which is what the brain is. It’s a system that is constantly reconfiguring itself. So anyway, I’ve just, you know, my lab has been studying brain plasticity for 20 years and it’s to my mind, the most fascinating technology that we’ve ever discovered on the planet.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Thank you so much, Dr. Eagleman, for those interested in Neosensory, you can check the description of this video to learn more. Dr. Eagleman have a wonderful day and we’ll talk to you soon.

David Eagleman, PhD.

You too, Ben. Thanks so much for having me.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Bye.

Dr. Ben Thompson, Au.D.

Dr. Ben Thompson, Au.D.

Dr. Ben Thompson is an audiologist in California and founder of Pure Tinnitus. Dr. Thompson has a comprehensive knowledge of tinnitus management. He completed his residency at University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and is a past board member of the California Academy of Audiology. Via telehealth, Dr. Thompson provides services to patients with hearing loss and tinnitus.

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