Nearly 15% of the general public experiences some form of tinnitus, estimates the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, making it one of the most common health conditions in the country. With such numbers, it may be surprising to learn that there are still a lot of experts who don’t know about why the ringing occurs and how to stop it. Two doctors from the United Kingdom hope to use technology to help tinnitus suffers finally find relief.
What Is Tinnitus?
Those with tinnitus experience the perception of sound when no external sound is present, usually in the form of a ringing, buzzing, chirping, roaring or clicking. A symptom of a disorder rather than its own condition, tinnitus can range from a mild annoyance to debilitating.
There are two types of tinnitus.
Subjective tinnitus is the most common type of tinnitus. It is the sensation of sounds that only you can hear. It occurs when there is a problem with your ear, auditory nerve or part of the brain that interprets sounds.
Objective tinnitus produces sounds that your doctor can hear during an exam. This type of tinnitus is caused by a blood vessel problem, middle ear condition or muscle contractions.
Can Tinnitus Be Treated?
For most, there is no cure for their tinnitus. Treatment instead focuses on managing symptoms and learning to tune out the ringing in the ear. This is done through:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Dr. Edmund Farrar and Dr. George Leidig wanted to offer their patients something more.
Cellphone Application for Tinnitus Treatment
Together Drs. Farrar and Leidig worked to utilize newly available technology to develop a smartphone application that would bring together the most common management solutions to help users find relief.
The tinnitus therapy and self-treatment app Oto, currently available for early access for Android users, provides users with the skills they need take control of their tinnitus. The user-friendly interface is designed create a unique therapy program for you based on your hearing progress and data logged in the app.
The program utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy to help you change your thinking behaviors and shift your thoughts and feelings connected to your tinnitus. This form of therapy can also help address depression, anger and anxiety, common side effects of tinnitus.
Sound therapy is available whenever needed on the app to help you relax, sleep or drown out the tinnitus.
Oto has not yet been medically tested. While the developers hope it will help reduce the impact of your tinnitus, it should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. While only in the beginning phases, it is exciting to see technology being used to help those suffering from tinnitus. To learn more about tinnitus or to schedule an appointment with a professional, contact Timpanogos Hearing & Balance today.