Document Type


Patent Number

US Patent 6,295,472

Patent agency

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Publication Date



University of Iowa Research Foundation (Iowa City, IA, US)

Application Number


Date Filed


Total Pages

21 pages


A system and method for application of pseudospontaneous neural stimulation is provided that can generate stochastic independent activity across an excited nerve or neural population without an additional disadvantageous sensations. High rate pulse trains, for example, can produce random spike patterns in auditory nerve fibers that are statistically similar to those produced by spontaneous activity in the normal ear. This activity is called "pseudospontaneous activity". Varying rates of pseudospontaneous activity can be created by varying the intensity of a fixed amplitude, high rate pulse train stimulus, e.g., 5000 pps. The pseudospontaneous activity can further desynchronize the nerve fiber population as a treatment for tinnitus but if indiscriminately applied can generate potentially uncomfortable biological and somatosensory sensations over intervals of time. A method for generating pseudospontaneous activity in an auditory nerve according to the present invention can include generating an electrical signal, and modifying the electrical signal to a sustained effective level while the electrical signal remains substantially physiologically imperceptible to the patient. The applied electrical signal can generate pseudospontaneous activity in the auditory nerve to suppress tinnitus.