Can Technology Help Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is one of the most common health conditions in the country, affecting more than 50 million Americans. A symptom of an underlying disorder rather than a disease itself, tinnitus can range from a mild annoyance to a debilitating condition. Experts around the world are working to develop coping mechanisms to help those with tinnitus finally find relief. Two researchers in the UK think they may have a solution in the form of a new cellphone app.

Understanding Tinnitus

Several people checking cellphones

The phantom noise heard by those with tinnitus differs from person to person, with most hearing a ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing or humming. Noises can vary in pitch and be heard in one or both ears.

Tinnitus can be caused by a number of conditions, the most common being damage to the hair cells within the inner ear. When exposed to soundwaves, these hair cells move and create an electrical signal, which travels through the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound. If damaged, the hair cells can “leak,” sending out random electrical impulses to the brain.

Chronic health conditions, injuries, nerve issues and ear problems can also cause tinnitus.

Tinnitus Treatment Options

Determining the cause of your tinnitus is key to your treatment plan. Unfortunately for most, the cause is never determined, and their tinnitus cannot be cured. When this happens, the treatment plans focus on helping you manage your symptoms and learning to deal with the ringing. Common treatment options include:

  • Mindfulness
  • Relaxation
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

Treatment from a Cellphone Application?

Two doctors from the United Kingdom National Health Service, Dr. Edmund Farrar and Dr. George Leidig, wanted to do something more for their patients. With the help of their team of ENT specialists, audiologists and hearing experts, they looked to use today’s latest technology to create an accessible tinnitus solution.

The Oto app puts the treatment solutions in the palm of your hand. The app utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy to help change your thinking behaviors and shift your automatic thoughts and feelings connected to your tinnitus. Combined with a program that tracks your hearing journey, the app is able to produce a customized treatment plan.

In addition, the program is aimed at treating depression, anger and anxiety, common side effects of tinnitus.

The Oto app is still in alpha and has not yet been medically tested.

Advances in technology make programs like this possible. To learn more about tinnitus or to schedule an appointment, contact Tinnitus & Hearing Experts today.

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