VNS implant might fix the ringing in your ears

Sean Hollister
S. Hollister|05.26.10

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VNS implant might fix the ringing in your ears
Earlier this decade, doctors discovered that by shocking the vagus nerve -- one of twelve nerves connected directly to the brain -- they could attempt to treat chronic hiccups, epilepsy and severe depression. Now, a startup called Microtransponder believes such a device can help reduce tinnitus, too. Technology Review now reports the company's RFID-like, externally-powered implant could stimulate the vagus nerve while doctors play particular tones for those suffering ringing ears, slowly attuning the patients to frequencies other than the one that ails them. As with all new medical procedures, we don't expect to see this one on the market anytime soon, but the firm does claim it's just raised $10 million in funding and will pursue FDA clearance accordingly. Until then, you'll just have to try less invasive procedures, or simply restrain yourself from turning that volume dial to 11. Ch'yeah right!
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