OULU, Finland, November 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
The Finnish Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment organized a user test of bright light devices, and concluded that both the conventional bright light lamps and the new Valkee in-ear bright light headset have a similar positive effect on seasonal winter symptoms, the winter blues. The results of the test reveal that 6-12 minutes treatment with the bright light headset corresponds with a bright light lamp in 30-60 minutes of treatment.
The tested equipment included the Valkee bright light headset, and bright light lamp devices from two different manufacturers. Participants in the test were employees of the Northern Karelia branch of the Finnish Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. For the 3-month test they received a bright light headset, a bright light lamp, or both. The test confirmed what's known already: that bright light is an effective treatment to symptoms that occur in seasonal depression during the dark months of the year. Of the 32 people who answered the test questionnaire 73% had experienced that bright light had either somewhat positive or very positive effects on their seasonal symptoms.
The headset was reported to work as well as the lamp
More than half of the participants in the test concluded that their mood improved during the test. Of those who used both the headset and a lamp more than half felt that also their energy level, mood and social activeness improved. The results indicate that the bright light headset delivers essentially the same beneficial effect as a bright light lamp does, but in a shorter time.
Slightly over half of the bright light lamp users had mild side effects such as irritation of the eyes or a headache. Of those who used the bright light headset only one fifth reported mild side effects such as irritation of the ear canal or headache.
- It was not practical to optimize the individual treatment time with Valkee headset during the test. By individually optimizing the time, the side effects would have been even fewer, says Valkee Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder Juuso Nissilä.
Improved in-ear bright light usability
The user test started in November 2011 and it ended in February 2012. Some of the bright light headset users reported difficulties with the in-ear light plugs, such as shortness or stiffness of the chords from the device to the ear plugs, uncomfortable shape of the ear plugs and the plugs slipping out of the ear canal during use. The feedback from the user test has already been noted at Valkee:
- The comfort of the ear plugs was improved after the user test by slightly changing their dimensions. The sales box now also includes a small clip for attaching the two wires to each other behind the neck during use, thus freeing up both hands for morning or work chores, and allowing the person to freely move about during use of the device, says Valkee CEO Pekka Somerto.
How the test was conducted
This independent test included Valkee bright light headset and two bright light lamp devices from different manufacturers, who all loaned their equipment and user manuals to the staff of the North Karelian Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY-Center) to use from November 28, 2011 to February 26, 2012. The user test was organized with the permission of the ELY-Center and of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The objective of the test was to gather experience of usefulness of the tested devices and their effect on the perceived seasonal symptoms.
The bright light lamp came with instructions to use it in the mornings for 30 minutes from a distance of 50 centimeters, between 6am and 9am, and the bright light headset for 6-12 minutes in the mornings between 6am and 9am. The users were told to otherwise follow the instructions in the respective manufacturers' user manuals. At the end of the test the users returned the devices, together with a filled in questionnaire to Work Safety Official, MSc (Eng) Teppo Linjama at the North Karelia ELY-Center. The reults were analyzed by the National Institute for Health and Welfare, who will also publish the full report on the test.
Valkee Oy is a health technology company founded in 2007 that has developed a bright light headset device for treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The knowhow of the company is based on long term scientific research and development work together with the OuluUniversity. Valkee bright light headset has the CE medical device approval in Class II(a), and it is available online at http://www.valkee.com, and though several independent retailers of medical devices throughout Europe and Japan.