Millions of people all over the world experience tinnitus with very little traditional medicine can do. However, alleviating tinnitus could be accomplished with a device that would draw a small vacuum between the device and the tympanic membrane, ear drum, slightly changing the shape of the ear drum.
Our ears are constantly bombarded with sound waves. The ear drum is always moving, which means the hearing systems is constantly in motion. Changing the shape of the ear drum changes the volume of the middle ear, and the positioning of the auditory ossicles, which impacts the inner ear and, therefore, the signals sent to the vestibular nerve and the auditory nerve. (See diagram below from Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.) Stretching the ear drum outward and holding that shape stationary for a short time allows the systems to stop moving. It all comes to rest, which lowers the energy in the system. When released, the oscillations do not return.
My personal experience is that it is very effective at stopping my ears from ringing by holding the reduced pressure for only a short time. If the tinnitus is persistent, it takes a little longer and I might have to release and reapply the reduced pressure. I expect, for those with long term persistent tinnitus, it would take more time and applications to see the results, but the results would be there.
Such device could resemble a standard oral syringe (without needle) and would operate by holding one part against the outer ear opening and moving the other part in such a way as to remove some of the air within the outer ear. A seal at the end of the device would serve to seal the outer ear opening. That seal would need to be replaceable and available in different shapes and materials to accommodate the large variety of ear shapes.
The number of people suffering tinnitus world-wide represents a very large market. The sales potential is such that high-volume manufacturing methods could be used.
John R. Van Noy