Introduction: LLLT LED Red Light Therapy for Ear Tinnitus Hearing Loss
I have had raging Tinnitus (ringing in my ears) for as long as I can remember. So, there has been no "quick fix" that seems to help alleviate it. Some people think Tinnitus can be a reaction to antibiotics, a reaction to steroids, a sensitivity to EMF, or simply listening to loud music. Whatever is the cause, it seems to be here to stay.
I mentioned my plight to a colleague and they recommended an in-ear laser treatment device. The device was over $1,500 and made a lot of bold claims about curing hearing loss and tinnitus. There are also some cheap in-ear laser devices on eBay for about $200. But from expensive to cheap, I like to know exactly the power output and specifications of what I put in my ears.
Naturally I am skeptical about expensive items making bold medical claims. But I wanted to test it out myself with the cheapest-possible setup.
Step 1: Solder Together the Pieces
My first version I made with the 9V battery. But I realized the resistor gets skaldingly hot. My 2nd version I made with the AA battery holder with switch, which is much nicer.
Solder the resistor onto the positive side of the LED. I figured out the "positive" and "negative" side of this LED by trial and error.
Solder on the red wire from the battery to the resistor, solder the black wire to the negative wire.
After soldering, you can connect the battery and test it! This 810nm LED is mostly invisible with a hint of red light emitted. We will talk more about it later.
Step 2: Heat Shrink and Insert the Earpiece.
You can see I wrapped my first version with electrical tape. So if you don't have heat shrink, some electrical tape can work fine too.
I found a suitable earpiece from the set on Amazon that fits my ear well, and inserted the LED through it.
Now I can insert the LED into my ear and held in place by the earpiece.
Future modifications will include adding extra wire lengths so the battery pack isn't too restrictive.
Step 3: Measuring the LED Output
Since the 810nm LED is mostly invisible, it is hard to determine the relative power output. You can tell it is on by the light red glow and small mount of red light emitted. When held under a camera, you can see this purplish-white glow as seen in the pictures.
I measured the output intensity of the LED on my SANWA laser power meter. This is much more accurate than the Solar Power meters that red light panel companies are using falsely inflate their irradiance advertising.
For the laser power meter, if the output is 30mW (milliWatts), then we have to multiply by the correction factor provided for 810nm, and divide by the area of the sensor.
30 X 0.715 / 0.636 = 33mW/cm^2
Knowing this power output, I plan on using it in my ear about 5 to 10 minutes per day.
Using this in my ear I feel some warmth from the LED and the intensity output, but it isn't uncomfortable.
Step 4: Disclaimer
All information in this article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any ailment. Please consult with your doctor or trusted wellness practitioner before starting any new health activity including Red Light Therapy.