Our tinnitus expert Fiona Idriss has been looking at some of the apps which can help if you have tinnitus. Here she explains about their role and offers her own recommendations
Those troubled or distressed by tinnitus will understand how it affects our concentration, our ability to relax and sometimes sleep, particularly when in quiet environments, or when we feel stressed or tired.
When significant hearing loss is associated, most audiologists will prescribe hearing aids which have tinnitus programmes to help with sound therapy. However, many of us with tinnitus have no hearing loss, or we do not yet wish to use wearable devices.
Hearing aid manufacturers have developed apps that can be used by anyone and are available to download on most iOS and Android devices. Many are free to use.
When we begin to compare and contrast tinnitus apps we are looking for specific content that provides the following:
These are recordings of natural sounds such as rain and sea-waves, or therapeutic sounds such as pink noise. Ideally you can mix these to create your own personalised relaxing sounds.
These are used for sound enrichment, played at low level to make our tinnitus less obvious. They help to promote habituation to the tinnitus signal. The sounds can be played via our devices’ speakers or through wireless headphones, headbands or sound pillows.
The sounds can be used at any time of day or night and are very helpful for promoting restful sleep. Most apps have timers so that the soundscapes can be played all night or for a short period to enable you to relax enough to get off to sleep. Many of us use soundscapes while we are studying or reading when the tinnitus can affect our concentration.
These help to calm our fight and flight response to the tinnitus. By reducing stress hormones they also promote better sleep and acceptance of the tinnitus signal. Many apps include recorded meditations, breathing exercises and imagery. Because apps are so portable it means you can access the fundamentals of tinnitus therapies wherever you are and are not reliant on classes or appointments with professionals.
Many apps also have bite-sized information to remind us how to use them and why they are helpful for tinnitus habituation.
I have reviewed and rated three apps provided by hearing aid manufactures:
5 Stars – Resound Relief . This is my personal favourite which I use regularly, find comprehensive and recommend to my patients. Great soundscapes that I can mix easily and save, plenty of great meditations and imagery. Easy to use.
3 Stars – Widex ZEN Tinnitus. Some great soundscapes and their own fractal tones as part of the Widex Zen therapy. But they are not able to mix the sounds to personalise. Less variety of relaxation techniques.
2 Stars – Oticon Tinnitus Sound. This is quite basic and has far less relaxation and meditation content but is simple to use.
If you would like to find out more about managing tinnitus please get in touch with us.
We offer a free, 15-minute telephone consultation with Fiona so ring us on 0800 028 6179 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment