Sensor Systems

Impacts

Tinnitus Detection System

Tinnitus Detection System

We live in a world where there is noise all around us, from loud equipment in the workplace, to loved but powerful music at concerts. Whether enjoyable or not this constant noise is leading to an ever growing number of people with tinnitus; a condition where a person will hear an array of phantom noises; buzzing, humming, whistling etc. For some, these phantom sounds are barely noticeable, but for others they can be seriously debilitating with a significant and prolonged impact on peoples’ lives.

The challenge then was to develop a method to help detect and diagnose tinnitus from an early stage. Currently, most patients are only diagnosed after the symptoms have become well developed, by which stage little can be done to mitigate the condition. One way of detecting the initial stages of tinnitus is by studying the AEP (Audio Evoked Potentials) that are produced in the cochlear nerve when an audio stimulus is provided to the ear.

At the moment, this is done by a clinician placing a needle into the ear canal to measure the resulting AEP in a controlled environment. Our goal was to measure the AEPs in a non-invasive way in a normal (i.e. non-clinical) environment. Measuring these signals through electrode contact with the skin is very difficult because the AEP waveforms are of the order of 1µV; whereas, other detectable signals nearby (for example those generated by muscles) are around a 1000 times larger. Ambient electrical noise present in the environment (generated by computers, power systems, etc.) is also a significant obstacle.

A whole range of strategies were employed in order to enable the tiny AEP signals to be measured on the surface of the skin. These included custom electrode design, optimised analogue signal processing and advanced digital processing methods. The system was then measured on multiple subjects against a reference system in order to provide confidence in the results gained.

By combining standard headphones, adapted to carry our electrode design with analogue electronics and processing software, Plextek was able to demonstrate an innovative method for detecting the onset of tinnitus. The final system allows quick testing to gain results in a non-clinical environment and in that way improve the health of our ears.

Micro Radar Sensor

Micro Radar Sensor

For more information, please email: hello@plextek.com or call: +44 (0) 1799 533 200

Tinnitus Detection System

Tinnitus Detection System

We live in a world where there is noise all around us, from loud equipment in the workplace, to loved but powerful music at concerts. Whether enjoyable or not this constant noise is leading to an ever growing number of people with tinnitus; a condition where a person will hear an array of phantom noises; buzzing, humming, whistling etc. For some, these phantom sounds are barely noticeable, but for others they can be seriously debilitating with a significant and prolonged impact on peoples’ lives.

The challenge then was to develop a method to help detect and diagnose tinnitus from an early stage. Currently, most patients are only diagnosed after the symptoms have become well developed, by which stage little can be done to mitigate the condition. One way of detecting the initial stages of tinnitus is by studying the AEP (Audio Evoked Potentials) that are produced in the cochlear nerve when an audio stimulus is provided to the ear.

At the moment, this is done by a clinician placing a needle into the ear canal to measure the resulting AEP in a controlled environment. Our goal was to measure the AEPs in a non-invasive way in a normal (i.e. non-clinical) environment. Measuring these signals through electrode contact with the skin is very difficult because the AEP waveforms are of the order of 1µV; whereas, other detectable signals nearby (for example those generated by muscles) are around a 1000 times larger. Ambient electrical noise present in the environment (generated by computers, power systems, etc.) is also a significant obstacle.

A whole range of strategies were employed in order to enable the tiny AEP signals to be measured on the surface of the skin. These included custom electrode design, optimised analogue signal processing and advanced digital processing methods. The system was then measured on multiple subjects against a reference system in order to provide confidence in the results gained.

By combining standard headphones, adapted to carry our electrode design with analogue electronics and processing software, Plextek was able to demonstrate an innovative method for detecting the onset of tinnitus. The final system allows quick testing to gain results in a non-clinical environment and in that way improve the health of our ears.

Micro Radar Sensor

Micro Radar Sensor

For more information, please email: hello@plextek.com or call: +44 (0) 1799 533 200

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