Photo of Giannina Honorio

Biotechnology & medicine

Giannina Honorio

Providing rehabilitation to people suffering from tinnitus to improve their quality of life.

Year Honored

Tinnitus Lab

Latin America

Hails From

Almost 750 million people worldwide suffer from tinnitus, 14% of the world's adult population, according to a meta-analysis published in 2022. This pathology, also known as tinnitus, consists of hearing a ringing or other noise in one or both ears. This constant sound is not external and other people do not hear it. It can cause sleep problems, headaches, difficulty concentrating and damage the person's mental health. Age and continued exposure to loud noises are risk factors for tinnitus.

Faced with this widespread health problem, Giannina Ofelia Honorio, an industrial engineer from the Catholic University of Peru with a master's degree in neuroscience, created the Tinnitus Peru research center. This initiative has developed technology to improve the quality of life of people with tinnitus. Honorio is a volunteer firefighter in Peru and knows firsthand how some occupations favor the onset of tinnitus. The potential of this breakthrough for people who suffer from constant noise has made Honorio one of MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2023 in Spanish.

The young woman has developed an electronic system that characterizes the type of tinnitus the patient has. With that information, she designs an auditory training therapy to reduce the perception of tinnitus. In the absence of a pharmacological cure, the objective of Tinnitus Peru is to improve the quality of life of patients, according to the innovator.

The system emits sound signals with different frequency spectra. Thus, it diagnoses the type of sound the person hears. The young innovator explains: "We customize and design new processes that reduce costs and improve existing treatments that only attack the symptoms and not the cause." Both the hardware and the software have been created by Honorio: "There are no similar technologies."

Treatment is possible remotely through its digital platform. Honorio's innovation offers support during the rehabilitation process and generates improvements between 8 and 14 sessions. The patient reduces the perception of sound or stops hearing it for months," she says.

After achieving positive results in hundreds of patients, the device is currently under patent in Peru. Once it is implemented throughout the country, the young woman wants to expand this treatment for tinnitus to other countries such as Chile and Mexico. Honorio goes beyond the well-being of the patient herself, "The friends and relatives of hearing-impaired people are also beneficiaries because with the comprehensive support process we offer, we improve the quality of inter-family relationships. In many cases we also increase the level of independence of the hearing-impaired person," she explains.