Objectives: To develop a smartphone application providing sound therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for treating tinnitus and performing a proof-of-concept pilot study evaluating its potential efficacy.
Methods: An interactive smartphone application available on iOS and Android platforms was developed, which provided an 8-week tinnitus-specific CBT and personalized and frequency-matched sound therapy. Included patients presented to our tertiary clinic between 2017 and 2018, while those waitlisted were regarded as controls. Three surveys were administrated: Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7), and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS).
Results: A total of 30 patients enrolled in this study consisting of 20 treatment and 10 control patients and mean age was 55.4 ± 11.6 years. Treatment and control patients had similar age, sex, and pre-enrolment GAD and PSS (all P > .05). Baseline THI scores were also similar between treatment and control cohorts (50.1 ± 21.9 vs 62.0 ± 20.7; P = .15). After 8 weeks, though changes in GAD and PSS scores were similar (P > .05), the treatment group reported a significantly greater improvement in THI scores (17.7 ± 15.8 vs 5.3 ± 10.5, P = .04).
Conclusions: This pilot study demonstrated potentially promising efficacy of a smartphone-based CBT and sound therapy platform for treating tinnitus and encourages future randomized controlled trials on this treatment modality.
Keywords: Android; cognitive behavioral therapy; iOS; mobile application; sound therapy; tinnitus.