The word 'tinnitus' comes from the Latin word for 'ringing'. It is the perception of sound in the absence of any corresponding external sound, which is generated by the sufferer’s own auditory pathways. The location of the sound may be difficult to pinpoint, but it may be heard in one ear, in both ears or inside the head. The noise may be low, medium or high-pitched. There may be a single noise or multiple components. The noise may be continuous or it may come and go. Tinnitus can arise from many possible different causes, and is often accompanied by hearing loss. It is a common condition which affects over 10% of the population, although many cope well with the symptoms. However, for up to 1% of the population, it brings considerable suffering.
Many treatment options are tried, most with limited success. They range from drugs affecting the central nervous system to electrical treatments and auditory and cognitive behavioural therapies.
Research shows that tinnitus arises within the central nervous system, and may be caused by increased neural activity in regions of central auditory pathway. Thus treatments for tinnitus need to focus on targets within the brain, and not the cochlea.
Autifony is developing a novel drug, AUT00063, that may help to treat people with some types of tinnitus, in particular tinnitus associated with hearing loss following noise exposure or ageing. The first clinical trial to explore the possible efficacy of AUT00063 in people with tinnitus was initiated in November 2014. For more information see our Tinnitus Clinical Trial page.