Internet/smartphone-based applications for the treatment of tinnitus: a systematic review

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2020 Mar;277(3):649-657. doi: 10.1007/s00405-019-05743-8. Epub 2019 Dec 5.


Introduction: Most of the individuals suffering from tinnitus report of negative effects on their lives to the extent that clinical intervention is necessary. Although traditional tinnitus management has proven to be effective in treating tinnitus, there are a few drawbacks. The major drawback is the lack of professionals for the treatment of tinnitus, especially in remote areas. Considering the growing usage of the internet as a platform for availing treatment, there is a requirement for the development of applications in the health care sector. Recent search related to tinnitus treatment revealed that more than 200 applications are available online in the most popular platforms like Android and iOS. However, most of the applications for the treatment of tinnitus lack validation, and thus, there is a need for research on this ground.

Method: Five studies evaluating the efficacy of Internet/app delivered tinnitus treatments were identified. The treatment forms included were Tinnitus E-program, Mobile serious game, Tinnitus web-based sound therapy, and Tailor-made notch music therapy delivered through a smart phone.

Results: Each study used a variety of standardized and validated questionnaires to measure the outcome of the treatment. The outcome measures were diverse, but both Internet/app-based and traditional methods like Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy had similar improvements in terms of tinnitus distress and quality of life.

Conclusion: It can be construed that the development of tinnitus treatment applications and web-based platforms will have a significant impact on the normal life of individuals with tinnitus.

Keywords: Android; Cognitive behavioral therapy; Tinnitus applications; iOS.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Quality of Life
  • Smartphone
  • Tinnitus* / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Validation Studies as Topic