A comprehensive evaluation of tinnitus apps (Deshpande & Shimunova, 2019)

2019-07-22T23:21:52Z (GMT) by Aniruddha K. Deshpande Tova Shimunova
Purpose: The use of mobile phones is on the rise worldwide. Many people who experience tinnitus often turn to the Internet and applications (apps) on their smartphones to acquire information on tinnitus and solutions to “cure” tinnitus. The aim of this study was to evaluate and summarize features offered by tinnitus-related apps on different mobile platforms.
Method: This study was conducted on 3 mobile platforms— Apple iOS, Google Android, and Windows. The key word tinnitus was searched, and all free and paid apps were downloaded. Relevant apps were reviewed in-depth and then classified into 4 categories based on their functionality—“tinnitus education, awareness, and prevention,” “tinnitus assessment and measurement,” “tinnitus management,” and “misinformation.”
Results: All mobile platforms yielded both free and paid tinnitus apps, allowing individuals to learn more about tinnitus, assess and measure their own tinnitus, gain access to different sounds to help manage their tinnitus, and find strategies to better cope with their tinnitus. The Google Android platform revealed the most number of tinnitus apps. The “tinnitus management” category consistently outperformed the other categories—containing the most number of apps and the most number of features. A small proportion of misinformation apps were detected across platforms. There were no significant differences in the total number of features between free and paid apps (except on the Windows platform). A cost–feature analysis revealed that more expensive apps did not necessarily offer more number of features.
Conclusions: This study reveals that a variety of tinnitus-related apps—both free and paid—are available on different mobile platforms. Clinicians should be aware that patients with tinnitus often rely on apps for additional help and should be prepared to direct them to valid apps. Implications for end users are discussed as well.

Supplemental Material S1. List of tinnitus apps and associated features available on the iOS mobile platform.

Supplemental Material S2. List of tinnitus apps and associated features available on the Android mobile platform.

Supplemental Material S3. List of tinnitus apps and associated features available on the Windows mobile platform.

Deshpande, A. K., & Shimunova, T. (2019). A comprehensive evaluation of tinnitus apps. American Journal of Audiology, 28, 605–616. https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_AJA-18-0135