“Encouraging Results” Reported For New Tinnitus Smartphone App Treatment
by Ashley Dreiling
Scientists at the University of Auckland in New Zealand have reported “encouraging results” from a new smartphone-based “digital poly therapeutic” approach to treat tinnitus.
Tinnitus is the experience of ringing or other noises in your ear. The internal sound, which is often part of age-related hearing loss, usually cannot be heard by others. It affects 15 to 20 percent of people, who also describe hearing roaring, clicking, whistling, hissing, whooshing, or buzzing.
There is some evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be sparked by infections, such as COVID-19. Given its complexity, chronic tinnitus can be difficult to treat and negatively impacts a patient’s quality of life. Some studies have linked tinnitus patients to an increased risk of suicide, anxiety, and depression.
The tinnitus smartphone therapy study used an app that can be downloaded onto any iPhone or Android device. Treatment plans using this method are customized according to the patient’s individual needs, but in general, the patient listens to a variety of sounds through Bluetooth headphones while providing the app with feedback.
The New Zealand researchers divided a group of 61 people with tinnitus into two groups. Thirty-one individuals received the new digital poly therapeutic treatment, while the control group of 30 listened to a popular white noise app. After 12 weeks, showed that the poly therapeutic group experienced clinically significant improvements, while the control group did not. The findings were published in the August 2022 journal Frontiers in Neurology.
The team is planning to conduct larger trials and upon regulatory approval, begin offering the app clinically in about six months.