What did Joan of Arc, Ludwig van Beethoven and Charles Darwin have in common?

They all recorded a ringing in their ears – known as Tinnitus. And today nearly 10% of Kiwis have the same problem. Tinnitus is the perception of hearing sound in the absence of an external sound source.
It can be constant or intermittent, and is commonly described as ringing, buzzing, cricket-like, hissing, whistling, and humming. Understandably, for the sufferer it can lead to anger, frustration, tension, poor communication and lack of sleep.

To date no single theory can explain the cause of tinnitus, however in the past 5 years health research has been drawing its attention to the use of a type of brain stimulation as a treatment that is showing some promising results.

Now this treatment is being offered free to Tinnitus sufferers as part of a University of Auckland study now calling for volunteers.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation is a safe, painless and non-invasive technique. Participants will experience a slight tingling sensation under the electrodes for up to 2 minutes, after which it’s hardly noticeable. It can lead to immediate but short lasting tinnitus suppression as it directly stimulates the brain areas thought to be responsible for tinnitus. While indirect stimulation through hearing aid use can lead to long lasting tinnitus reduction after 6-12 months of use.

“We are inviting people who have ‘Tinnitus’ and ‘Hearing loss’ to contact us now. Ideally they are interested in trying hearing aids and direct stimulation as combined treatments” said Giriraj Shekhawat, Audiologist at the University of Auckland.

If you are interested in joining this study please go to