A phone-based therapy has shown encouraging results in treating tinnitus in a recent clinical trial. The corresponding study was published in Frontiers of Neurology.
Tinnitus is a condition in which one hears a ringing or other noises in one or both ears that is not caused by external sound. The condition affects around 15-20% of people and is especially prevalent in older adults. Around 5% of people experience tinnitus to a distressing degree, in which it disrupts activities such as sleeping and daily tasks. Until now, no treatments have been able to treat the condition.
For a recent clinical trial, researchers recruited 61 participants who had experienced moderate-severe tinnitus for over six months. They assigned each participant to either a mobile-phone-based therapy or popular self-help passive sound therapy app known as White Noise Lite (WN).
Participants underwent their assigned treatments for 12 weeks. At the end of the intervention period, they were assessed for clinically meaningful changes in tinnitus according to the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI).
From analyzing the results, the researchers found that after six weeks of treatment, 55% of those who underwent phone therapy achieved meaningful TFI change, as opposed to 33% in the WN group. At 12 weeks, 65% of those in the phone therapy group experienced a significant change in TFI, whereas the same was true for just 43% in the WN group.
The researchers additionally noted that while mean changes in TFI for the phone therapy were clinically meaningful, the same was not true for those in the WN group.
"Earlier trials have found white noise, goal-based counseling, goal-oriented games, and other technology-based therapies are effective for some people some of the time," says Dr. Grant Searchfield, Associate Professor of Audiology at the University of Aukland, one of the study's authors. "This is quicker and more effective, taking 12 weeks rather than 12 months for more individuals to gain some control."