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Posted 14 January 2010

Therapy for temporary tinnitus forms sound basis for company

A student project to investigate a low frequency therapy for temporary tinnitus, which took runner-up prize at last year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition and won the Health Research Board’s special prize for medical innovation, has evolved into a web-based client company at NovaUCD, the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at University College Dublin.

Restored Hearing offers a therapy which lasts for approximately one minute, and only requires a broadband connection, and a pair of outer ear headphones. It has a 99% success rate proven by scientific trials.

Pictured far right (l-r): Rhona Togher, Anthony Carolan and Eimear O’Carroll,
co-founders of Restored Hearing.

The initial project was carried out by Eimear O’Carroll, Rhona Togher, and Niamh Chapman while studying for their Leaving Certificate at Ursuline College in Sligo. Rhona is now a first year UCD Science student studying physics and maths.

Restored Hearing has received international interest and sales in Ireland/UK, Europe, North America and Australia. Following a recent ‘live-test’ of the therapy on national Dutch TV, the company have received a significant boost in sales in the Netherlands.

“It all began when we and our physics teacher, Anthony Carolan entered the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2009 with a project entitled ‘The Sound of Silence – An Investigation into Low Frequency Therapy for Tinnitus Sufferers,” says Rhona, one of the co-founders of Restored Hearing.

“We’re genuinely surprised that in one year we have gone from a school project to a corporate exhibitor at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, but this illustrates the importance of the competition,” says Eimear O’Carroll, another of the co-founders of the company. “Taking part in the BT Young Scientist competition has shown us that science, and making new discoveries, can lead to both business and academic opportunities.”

Temporary tinnitus, or ‘ringing in the ears’  is caused by exposure to loud environments, for example listening to loud music at concerts or on iPods or operating loud machinery.  In such noisy environments damage is done to the sound receptor cells in the cochlea. The cochlea is that part of the ear which converts wave-vibrations into electric signals before sending these signals onto the brain.  When these receptor cells, or tiny hairs, get bent or damaged during exposure to the loud noises, signals continue to be sent to the brain even after the exposure to the noise has ceased. This results in a continued perception of a noise that isn’t there.

To alleviate this problem and to assist sufferers, Restored Hearing offers a unique online and tailored, minute-long therapy sessions for individuals who want to clear their ears of the ‘ringing’ sensation and regain ‘buzz free’ hearing.  The therapy is based on sound and wave theory, using a low hum to physically stimulate the cochlear hairs back into their original upright position.

The therapy sessions, which have a 99% success rate, can be purchased singly by SMS payment or in batches of ten using a credit card. Restored Hearing has also recently launched a subscription payment that provides monthly, quarterly or annual use of the sound therapy.

Restored Hearing has been supported by the Sligo County Enterprise Board and the Business Innovation Centre, Sligo IT.


NovaUCD is University College Dublin’s Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre.  NovaUCD is responsible for the commercialisation of intellectual property arising from UCD research and for the development of co-operation with the industry and business communities. NovaUCD as a purpose-built incubation centre also nurtures new technology and knowledge-intensive enterprises. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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Rhona Togher, Anthony Carolan and Eimear O’Carroll,
In the Meida