What is this technology with which Elon Musk wants to cure tinnitus?

On Twitter, Elon Musk announced that he has a project to treat tinnitus, via an implant in the brain. Explanations.

Elon Musk recently tweeted that he was working on a solution to cure tinnitus with his neuro-tech start-up Neuralink. But what exactly is this “miracle” solution? When will it be available?

We think that more than 8 million people in France suffer from tinnitus, which is expressed by clicking, hissing, buzzing, hissing (etc) in patients. These are “imaginary” sounds, which can be perceived in one or both ears and which often come from “acoustic trauma or aging of the ear”, stipulates the ameli.fr site.

Restore communication between ear and brain

Neuralink’s goal is to create a brain-machine interface, via a brain implant that would allow the subject to provoke actions by thought. And this technology could be used against tinnitus, insofar as this auditory manifestation very often results from a problem of “communication” between the ear and the brain. “Faced with a hearing deficiency, the brain will reorganize itself to adapt and try to overcome this deficiency. Unfortunately, this reorganization can lead to aberrant functioning of the auditory cortex”, explains Inserm. It has already been admitted in the past that a brain implant could be an interesting option to relieve patients.

That said, for the time being, the Neuralink implant has only been proven on animals (pigs and monkeys). Human trials could take place in 2022 according to Elon Musk. The objective is to make this solution accessible within 5 years.

Sources:

  • Tinnitus: definition, causes, consequences, Ameli.fr
  • Tinnitus, an aberrant functioning of the auditory cortex, Inserm

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