Tinnitus relief technology is chosen for Make it in Great Britain competition

16 July 2012

The University of Leicester has been selected as a finalist in a nationwide competition to seek out the UK’s next big pre-market products, processes and concepts.

Successful entries of the Make it in Great Britain Challenge include a new technology which could offer relief to tinnitus sufferers, an eco-friendly alternative to everyday cement that could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90 per cent and a pushchair that can be folded down to a 32 litre-size rucksack.

The inventions will be exhibited at the Make it in Great Britain exhibition at the Science Museum in London, which will coincide with the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.

The University of Leicester is shortlisted in the Life-Changing category. Tinnitus is estimated to affect up to 10% of the western population. The tinnitus relief technology is being developed at the University of Leicester in collaboration with industrial partners Orthoscopics and the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

The technology may provide potential respite for responsive tinnitus sufferers and is based on the discovery that exposure to precise ‘narrow band’ wavelengths of light from the colour spectrum appears to provide relief from Tinnitus symptoms in an estimated 40% of sufferers. The technology uses red, green and blue LEDs, that can be finely adjusted to produce a colour specific to an individual. Responsive tinnitus sufferers report symptomatic relief over the period of light exposure.

Earlier this year, the technology won a Design Council Award to turn smart ideas into viable products through design. The University of Leicester application, led by the Enterprise and Business Development Team, got the go-ahead to spearhead four groundbreaking research advances — including the tinnitus relief project — in the 2011 Innovate for Universities mentoring service.

Dr Mike Mulheran, based in the University Medical School and part of the research team pioneering this project said, “Obviously I am thrilled and delighted that the University of Leicester has been selected as finalists in this strong national competition. Our project was carried out with ENT colleagues at Leicester Royal Infirmary. It appears that the precise spectral colour in some tinnitus patients results in changed perception of their tinnitus. Our aim with the Design Council support is to better develop this technology for customised personal use at home.”

Tas Gohir, Intellectual Property Manager at the University of Leicester, said: “I am very pleased to see ground-breaking University of Leicester technology receiving this national recognition. It is a great opportunity to showcase the innovation to tinnitus sufferers, as well as potential commercial partners interested in the technology.”

Business Minister Mark Prisk said: “The UK is full of creative manufacturing expertise, and I’m delighted that we are able to celebrate some of the best pre-market ideas through the Challenge.”

The winning entries will showcase alongside names such as Mars and McLaren, and leading small and medium businesses like Ultra Global in celebration of manufacturing. Visitors to the six-week exhibition will be invited to vote on their favourite entry. The winners from each weekly vote will feature together in the final week of the exhibit.

More information

To find out more about the finalists and to cast a vote for the People’s Choice winner, visit the Make it in Great Britain website. http://makeitingreatbritain.bis.gov.uk/

The Life-Changing category of entries, which includes the tinnitus innovation, is being exhibited at the Science Museum between 14 - 20 August.


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