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Tinnitus Therapy- Notched Music


I originally learned about this therapy from an article in the New York Times.  The article reviews a clinical study done in Germany by Hidehiko Okamoto and other scientist. Briefly, the idea is to reduce the volume of your tinnitus by listening to music that is specifically altered to exclude the specific pitch of your tinnitus.  If you have reasonable computer skills, you can alter the music you love and over time, reduce the annoyance of your tinnitus for free.  

The first step in this process is to determine the frequency of your tinnitus.  There are two programs that I know of that can help you do this. One is called Tinnitus Tamer.  This program is free to use for 14 days, which should be enough time for you to figure out the frequency of your tinnitus.  The program, Tinnitus Tamer, is helpful to some apparently, although I did not find any specific studies supporting its use. This program is useful because it has an easy to download, decent tone generator that you can manipulate to determine the frequency of your tinnitus.  The program costs $35 if you want to use it for longer than 14 days.  The other free program is called Tinnitus Test.  I had trouble downloading this program, but I didn't really follow the directions.  It also has a good tone generator, according to people on the web who have used it.  A new, free program is available at http://www.audionotch.com/app/tune/.  

Once you have determined the frequency of your tinnitus, your next job is to alter all of your favorite music, which should be in MP3 file format.  In the study, the patients listened for about 90 minutes a day, so you will want to get busy and alter lots of songs.  The best program that I found to do this is called Audacity.  It is a free download and other people have been using it to notch their music. If you have a PC download version 1.3. There is a helpful forum where you can read people's discussion of this process.  You will also have to download a free plug, (click here to get it... bandstop.ny.zip,) created by a guy named Steve Daulton.  Put the extracted file in the plug in folder in the Audacity folder in your program files.  I had a little trouble doing this, I had to first extract it in another folder and then copy and paste it into the plug in folder.  Details about this process and the concept of bandstop are discussed in detail in the helpful forum, which you should read now.  A new web based service that saves you from downloading and messing with Audacity is available at http://www.audionotch.com/app/tune/  They charge a small fee to convert your music for you.

Once you have Audacity and the bandstop plug in the Audacity plug in folder, you are ready to get started.  Open Audacity, click on "Open" under the "File" menu.  Select a MP3 song. It takes a couple of seconds to open it.  Then click on "Effect" and slide the cursor down about halfway to "Band Stop Filter."  A nifty window opens up.  You simply type in the frequency of your tinnitus into the "Centre Frequency" box (1000 is the default, replace 1000 with your frequency).  The default for "Stop Band Width" is 1 octave, which is what you want.  Don't change it.  Then click "OK" and wait a few seconds.  Your song is now "notched" and is ready to export.  You will probably want to export it as an MP3 file. The first time you try to do it, the program will ask you to download a program called Lame 3.98.3.  Follow the instructions, it only takes a minute to do. 

I suggest you add your frequency number to the title of the song so you know it has been altered.  Reload it back onto your MP3 player and delete the original version.

The entire process to alter an average length song is about 2 minutes.  I'm sure there are ways to alter .wav and I Tunes, and other formats.  I'll leave that up to you.  This process can probably also be done on Linux and Macs, but I didn't try it.  There are commercial music editing programs that can do this process.  If you have success with Audacity, consider giving the project money, they have a donation link on the site.

To get maximal benefit you should probably listen to your altered music with decent headphones in a quiet environment.  You can turn cheap headphones into good ones by putting sound blocking earmuff over your ear buds.

For those of your familiar with Windows, you probably realize downloading all of these programs carries a risk of crashing your computer.  I didn't crash mine, but I can't be responsible if your computer crashes. I make no claim at being computer competent, and I probably won't be able to answer any of your questions.  If you figure out an easier or better way to do this process, please write it up and email it to me so I can add it to this page.  If you have questions, perhaps the people at the helpful forum section referenced above can help you.

Good luck and happy listening.


Additional links...

http://www.audionotch.com/how-it-works   - offers a subscription service that allows you to upload your own music and they will notch it for you. Includes a program that helps you figure out your frequency loss.  

http://www.youtube.com/user/Evestrough?feature=mhw4#p/a/u/0/xtif7SQDptA   you tube video demonstrating and alternative process.


http://campus.uni-muenster.de/2797.html?&L=1  This link is to the web site of the authors of the study. They warn patients that this therapy may not work outside of the conditions that they used in the study. For example they did not study older patients, patients with substantial hear loss, or patients with who did not have a pure peep or whistle type sound.  They also recommend using an audiologist to determine your exact frequency loss, which is good advice.  They also warned that the MP3 format may not be good enough, and the usual headphones are also probably not good enough.  They are doing additional studies to answer some of these questions, and will probably at some point offer a commercial package to ENT or audiologists to offer to patients.  

  http://www.audionotch.com/app/tune/





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