While tinnitus has no known cure, one science-based app, Diapason, can help offer relief to some of the 50 million people suffering in the US. Beginning on World Hearing Day, March 3, Diapason announced that it will offer $25,000 worth of free subscriptions during March.
Related article: How Can We Help Patients with Tinnitus When We Don’t Have a Cure?
Tinnitus occurs when people hear sound – such as buzzing, swooshing, hissing, clicking, and whistling – yet no actual external noises exist. An estimated 50 million Americans experience tinnitus, with 20 million having a chronic (constant) condition, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Unlike some tinnitus apps that focus on sound masking, Diapason reportedly combines “diagnosis, education, sound therapy, and psychology to provide a more complete, science-based offering.” According to the company’s announcement, Diapason is considered a class-1 medical device in Europe through its licensing with the French National Agency for Medicine and Health Product Safety (ANSM).
Many therapeutic treatments for tinnitus are offered only through hearing clinics. Diapason gives users access to many of these therapies right from their smartphones. The app’s three- to five-minute activities are tailored to each user’s exact tinnitus pitch and tone.
“I have severe bilateral tinnitus from my time in the US Army, and the exercises within the Diapason app have been quite helpful in managing my tinnitus,” said Todd Brackman, a longtime Diapason user and Philadelphia resident.
Diapason’s creator, French company Immersive Therapy, will provide 200, one-year subscriptions free to tinnitus sufferers through audiologists and directly to consumers during March.
Launched in January 2019, Diapason now offers four therapy modes: cognitive and behavioral therapy, acoustic pulses, sound therapy, and relaxation. Users “find and recreate the exact frequency and bandwidth of their specific tinnitus,” according to the company.
According to the company, users are subtly exposed to the tinnitus sounds in new and positive contexts, through each of the app’s games. This is said to “retrain their brains to let go of systematic, negative associations with their tinnitus and decrease their awareness and focus on it.” The games help provide “acoustic re-education as well as cognitive and behavioral therapy (CBT).”
“We want everyone to have access to tinnitus treatments typically found only in labs and clinics,” said Diapason co-founder Lilian Delaveau. “Diapason now provides anyone with a smartphone a relevant, science-based, tinnitus therapy program.”
Since Diapason’s US launch at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2019, Immersive Therapy has made several updates to the app, including:
- Increasing user activities from 5 to 15.
- Adding acoustic pulses, a relatively new technique that helps “briefly suppresses tinnitus, offering short-lived but welcome, rest during a tinnitus crisis.”
- Revamping user onboarding from a confusing, technical medical tool to an intuitive 10-minute, check-up—followed by an emailed, detailed medical summary.
- Engaging with users much more through notifications, follow-up emails, and encouragements—including emails from a coach to help keep users motivated.