An evaluation of the Reltus ear massager for short-term tinnitus relief

J. Jonsson, A. Bohman, G. S. Shekhawat, K. Kobayashi, G. D. Searchfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: Auditory stimulation has been shown to suppress the loudness of tinnitus (residual inhibition, RI). Somatosensory manipulations have also been shown to sometimes decrease tinnitus perception. An ear-massaging device, the Reltus (, has been marketed as a tinnitus treatment device. This study was undertaken to evaluate its short-term effectiveness and mode of effect. Design: The research was undertaken in two phases. Phase 1 measured the change in tinnitus perception after one minute of auditory stimulation through headphones and after application of a vibrating device to four different stimulation points around the pinna for one minute each. Phase 2 evaluated if it was the vibrations that were responsible for the effect on tinnitus perception, or sound produced by the vibrator. Study sample: Twenty-three participants completed phase 1 and 10 participants participated in the second phase. Results: RI to auditory stimulation was found in 87% of participants and to tactile stimulation in 83%. No significant differences were found in the effectiveness between the four vibration stimulation points, or between the left and right ear of the participants. The Reltus produced a sound that resulted in RI. Conclusions: It is the auditory artifact of the Reltus that was responsible for short-term tinnitus suppression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • residual inhibition
  • Tinnitus
  • treatment
  • vibration


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