I created a groundbreaking app to treat tinnitus using the proven ‘notch therapy’ technique, which is backed by years of scientific research. The app reached 4th place in the Google Play ‘Health & Fitness’ charts in 2019 and I’ve received a lot of great feedback about the treatment.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the hearing of sound when no external sound is present, most often described as a ‘ringing’ sound. It can have various causes and people have tried many different treatments in the past, with limited success.
Magnetoencephalography scan overlaid on MRI showing brain activity due to Tinnitus. Research by Dr. Michael Seidman director of the division of Otologic-Neurotologic surgery at Henry Ford Hospital.
How does the treatment work?
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The science behind my tinnitus treatment app is that noise or music, EQ modified with a spectral notch, reduces cortical activity around the Center Frequency of the notch. When we set the notch around your ‘tinnitus frequency’ (best for tonal tinnitus), this reduces your tinnitus symptoms with just a few uses – used every day, my app could keep your tinnitus away forever.
Why use this app?
There are similar therapies available out there as downloaded desktop applications, but they charge upwards of $30 per month to use! I also wanted the therapy to be convenient and portable, so I made it into an app. I’ll leave it up to you 🙂 Get the app, or learn more here. You can check out all my other apps here.
Tinnitus Therapy Facebook page
Running the app in the background?
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A few people ask me how they can run the tinnitus app in the background without Android deciding to ‘sleep’ or even shut down the app when it’s in the background. A note on this, I am not allowed to circumvent Android’s power management myself – your Android device decides when to ‘sleep’ apps in the background in order to optimise battery use. Some apps are lucky – for example, my Relaxify app uses slightly less CPU, so it will usually run all night in the background – but not 100% of the time. Android still sometimes decides to sleep (or temporarily interrupt) the app in an attempt to save power. Whether or not an app CAN run in the background is a different issue to whether Android just decides the app should sleep while it’s there. So, here’s how to tell your Android device NOT to ‘sleep’ certain apps when they are running ‘in the background’.
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When I recommend this app to people suffering from tinnitus, they’ll often ask me “Do you have tinnitus too?”. I tell them “Not any more”. As a former tinnitus sufferer, I wasn’t content to wait around for a miracle cure and had been let down by both doctors and herbal ‘remedies’. With a background in scientific research, I thought there’s more that I could do, so I set about doing A LOT of reading. In the end, I decided to create and test my own ‘spectrally notched audio’ tinnitus retraining therapy. Here is the research behind the approach I’ve taken to treat tinnitus symptoms:
- Henning Stracke, Hidehiko Okamoto, and Christo Pantev Customized notched music training reduces tinnitus loudness Communicative & Integrative Biology
- Marco Lugli, Romano Romani, Stefano Ponzi, Salvatore Bacciu, and Stefano Parmigiani The Windowed Sound Therapy:A New Empirical Approach for an EffectivePersonalized Treatment of Tinnitus International Tinnitus Journal, Vol. 15, No. 1, 51–61 (2009)
- Powers, L., dos Santos, G.M., & Jons, C. (2016, September). Notch Therapy: A new approach to tinnitus treatment. AudiologyOnline, Article 18365.
- Adamchic, I., Tass, P.A., Langguth, B., Hauptmann, C., Koller, M., Schecklmann,…Landgrebe, M., (2012). Linking the tinnitus questionnaire and the subjective clinical global impression: Which differences are clinically important? Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 10, 79.
- American Tinnitus Association (n.d.). Retrieved Sept 9, 2016
- Baguley, D., (2016). Clinical aspects of tinnitus. Hearing Review, 23(1), 40.
- dos Santos, G.M., Bento, R.F., de Medeiros, I.R., Oiticcia, J., da Silva, E.C., & Penteado, S. (2014). The influence of sound generator associated with conventional amplification for tinnitus control: randomized blind clinical trial. Trends in Hearing, 18, 1-9.
- Eggermont, J. (2012) Cortex: Way station or locus of the tinnitus percept? In J. Eggermont, F. Zeng, Popper, R. Fay (Eds.), Tinnitus (137-162). New York, NY: Springer Science+Business Media.
- Haab, L., Lehser, C., Corona-Strauss, F., Bernarding, C., Seidler, H., Strauss, D., & Hannemann, R. (in submission). Six-month evaluation of a hearing aid supported tinnitus treatment using notched environmental sounds.
- Hannemann, R., Haab L., Corona-Strauss, F., & Strauss, D. (2016, September). Long-term evaluation of a new hearing aid supported tinnitus treatment. Poster presented at the meeting of the World Congress of Audiology, Vancouver, Canada.
- Henry, J.A., Zaugg, T.L., & Schechter, M.A. (2005) Clinical guide for audiological tinnitus management I: Assessment. American Journal of Audiology, 14, 21-48.
- Hiller, W. & Goebel, G. (2004). Rapid assessment of tinnitus-related psychological distress using the Mini-TQ. American Journal of Audiology, 43(10), 600-604.
- Hoare, D.J., Searchfield, G.D., Refaie, A.E., & Henry, J. (2014). Sound therapy for tinnitus management: J Am Acad Audiol. 2014 Jan;25(1):62-75. doi: 10.3766/jaaa.25.1.5.
- Jastreboff, P. & Hazell, J. (1993). A neurophysiological approach to tinnitus: Clinical implications. British Journal of Audiology, 27, 7-17.
- Jastreboff, P. & Jastreboff, M. (2000). Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) as a method for treatment of tinnitus and hyperacusis patients. J Am Acad Audiol, 11(3), 162-177.
- Kochkin S., Tyler R., & Born, J. (2011). MarkeTrak VIII: The prevalence of tinnitus in the United States and the self-reported efficacy of various treatments. Hearing Review, 18(12), 10-27.
- Lanting, C.P., de Kleine, E., & van Dijk, P. (2009, September). Neural activity underlying tinnitus generation: Results from PET and fMRI. Hearing Research, 225(1-2), 1-13.
- Melcher, J. (2016). Tinnitus: A multifaceted condition. Audiology Today, 28(1), 32-37.
- Moller, A.R. (2011). Epidemiology of tinnitus in adults. In A.R. Moller, B. Langguth, D. DeRidder, & T. Kleinjung (Eds.), Textbook of tinnitus (29-37). New York, NY: SpringerScience+Business Media, LLC.
- Okamoto, H., Stracke, H., Stoll, W., & Pantev, C. (2010). Listening to tail-made notched music reduces tinnitus loudness and tinnitus-related auditory cortex activity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(3), 1207-1210.
- Pantev, C., Wolbrink, A., Roberts, L.E., Engelien, A., & Lutkenhoner, B.B. (1999). Short-term plasticity of the human auditory cortex. Brain Research, 842(1), 192-199.
- Powers, L., & Munhoes, G. (2015). Acoustic therapy for the treatment of tinnitus: A primer. Hearing Review, 22(6), 22.
- Reavis, K,. Chang J., & Zeng, F. (2010). Patterned sound therapy for the treatment of tinnitus. The Hearing Journal, 63(11), 21-24.
- Searchfield, G.D., Kaur, M., & Martin, W.H. (2010). Hearing aids as an adjunct to counseling: Tinnitus patients who choose amplification do better than those that don’t. International Journal of Audiology, 49(8), 574-579.
- Strauss, D.J., Corona-Strauss, F.I., Haab, L., & Hannemann, R. (2015). Notched environmental sounds: a new hearing aid-supported tinnitus treatment evaluated in 20 patients. Clinical Otolaryngology, [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1111/coa.12575
- Surr, R.K., Montgomery, A.A, & Mueller, H.G. (1985). Effect of amplification on tinnitus among new hearing aid users. Ear Hear, 6(2), 71-5.
- Sweetow, R.W., & Sabes, J.H. (2010). Effects of acoustical stimuli delivered through hearing aids on tinnitus. J Am Acad Audiol, 21(7), 461-473.
- Teismann, H., Okamoto, H., & Pantev, C. (2011). Short and intense tailor-made notched music training against tinnitus: The tinnitus frequency matters. PLoS ONE, 6(9). e24685. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024685
- Tunkel, D.E., Bauer, C.A., Sun, G.H., Rosenfeld, R.M., Chadrasekhar, SS., Cunningham, E.R….Whamond, E.J. (2014). Clinical practice guideline: tinnitus. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 151(2S), S1–S40. doi: 10.1177/0194599814545325
- Turner, J.S. (1990). Auditory dysfunction: tinnitus. In H.K. Walker, W.D. Hall, & J.W. Hurst (Eds.), Clinical methods: The history, physical, and laboratory examinations. Boston: Butterworths.
- United States Department of Affairs (n.d.). Retrieved Sept 13, 2016
- Vernon, J. (1976). The use of masking for relief of tinnitus. In H. Silverstein & H. Norrell (Eds.), Neurological Surgery of the Ear: Volume II (104-108). Birmingham: Aesculapius Publishing.
- Wolf, V. (2016). How to use primax tinnitus therapy options. Signia Whitepaper.
- Wunderlich, R., Lau, P., Stein, A., Engell, A., Wollbrink, A., Rudack, C., & Pantey, C. (2015, September). Impact of spectral notch width on neurophysiological plasticity and clinical effectiveness of the tailor-made notched music training. PLoS ONE, 10(9).
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While the Tinnitus Therapy app presented here does indeed help around 90% of people with tonal tinnitus, I would always recommend that you seek the advice of your doctor if your tinnitus symptoms are persistent, because tinnitus can have many causes, some of them minor, but some due to serious underlying medical issues which should not be ignored. The Tinnitus Therapy app plays a special type of noise (known as ‘pink noise’) with the frequency of your particular tinnitus filtered out, so it is not harmful, as long as you do not play it at excessive volume (which your Android device may warn you of anyway). You can use the Tinnitus Therapy app for more than the default 10-20 minutes per day and combine it with other complimentary therapies. However, always get medical symptoms investigated by a qualified medical professional, in case you have an underlying condition which requires other medical treatment.
Here’s wishing you good hearing health 🙂
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