The Texas Biomedical Device Center has developed a platform technology to enhance recovery from a wide range of neurological injuries. The therapy, known as Targeted Plasticity Therapy, depends upon the electrical activation of the vagus nerve at specific times during rehabilitation. We have developed the ReLief system to treat tinnitus by playing sounds at the same time we are activating the vagus nerve.
The ReLief system has 3 components. First, there is an implanted stimulator, called ReStore, that is placed in a small cuff and attached to the vagus nerve. Second, the ReLay device, worn around the patient's neck, powers and communicates with the implanted ReStore stimulator. Finally the ReLief app on your smartphone is used to play sounds and trigger the ReLay device.
Tinnitus can be caused by hyperactive areas in the brain. These hyperactive areas generate the perception of sound known as tinnitus. By playing sounds above and below the tinnitus frequency and pairing them with vagus nerve stimulation we are able to shrink the hyperactive part of the brain. In doing so we treat the underlying cause of Tinnitus. The ReLief system is another example of how the Texas Biomedical Device Center is engineering solutions to maximize recovery from neurological injuries and disease.