Magnetic stimulation of the brain is being used to tackle ringing in the ears.
Doctors have already treated a small group of patients with a treatment known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, or rTMS.
Now, a larger clinical trial has started in which patients will receive four weeks of therapy.
Tinnitus is the sensation of a sound in the ear, usually a ringing noise. Although it can be triggered by underlying problems, from earwax to high blood pressure, in many cases the cause is unknown.
The noise heard in the ear can be a high-pitched whistling or buzzing, ringing, or hissing sound which may be there all the time, or comes and goes. In some cases, anxiety is thought to play a part.
Researchers say that using magnets to stimulate specific parts of the brain which show a higher rate of blood flow than would usually be expected - something that is associated with tinnitus - may help to alleviate the condition.
According to deaf charity the RNID, a third of all adults report tinnitus at some time. It is estimated that 7 per cent of men and women will visit their GP about the problem, 4 per cent have tinnitus that bothers them moderately or severely, and that the quality of life of one in 100 sufferers is severely affected.
Although tinnitus can be linked to exposure to loud noise, hearing loss, ear or head injuries, some diseases of the ear, ear infections or emotional stress, just why it occurs in some people and not others is unclear.
Human hearing has a complicated filtering system which allows the removal of unimportant sounds. The brain also has systems that help separate sounds.
That's why, for example, you tend to hear your name above all the other noise at a party.
This sound filtering is thought to be involved in tinnitus.
Source - Daily Mail