How Digital Tinnitus Programs Can Improve Quality of Life

While there’s no one-size-fits-all tinnitus solution, it’s possible to manage tinnitus and live life on your terms.
Written by
Jana K. Hoffman
Reviewed by
Amy Schreiner, Ph.D.
Published on1 July 2024

A new way to manage tinnitus

According to the American Tinnitus Association, about 10 percent of adults in the United States experience some form of tinnitus. That’s more than 25 million adults! Tinnitus may be a common condition, but each person experiences its symptoms in a unique way. This is because there are environmental (e.g., relationships and stress), biological (e.g., hearing loss and genetics), and psychological (e.g., self-esteem and coping skills) factors that affect how each person responds to their tinnitus1.

New tinnitus management programs can help you identify the environmental, biological, and psychological factors that are impacting your own tinnitus experience so you can learn skills to work through your specific challenges.

Imagine spending more time doing what you enjoy and less time being affected by your tinnitus. Looks like a great future, right? While there’s no one-size-fits-all tinnitus solution, it’s possible to manage tinnitus and live life on your terms. But how does one even go about doing this?

Digital tinnitus solutions

While this may seem surprising to some, it’s not uncommon for modern tinnitus management programs to use education and skill-building activities centered around cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Therapy for phantom sounds? It’s true.

In fact, principles of CBT have been used for decades as part of an approach to improve the quality of life for people living with tinnitus. That’s because CBT has the power to pinpoint the root of distress surrounding tinnitus and the impact of tinnitus on everyday life.

Consider this:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective ways to improve quality of life for people with tinnitus2.
  • Studies have also found that digital CBT-based programs can reduce tinnitus distress, improve well-being, and enhance quality of life3-6.
  • Even professional practice guidelines recommend CBT as a first-line option for those with bothersome tinnitus7.

Today’s digital options offer education, tools, and strategies to support individuals in managing their tinnitus and overall well-being — all on a smartphone.

Mahana Tinnitus offers check-ins to see how tinnitus impacts daily life. Photo courtesy of BLUEMOTH Hearing
Mahana Tinnitus offers check-ins to see how tinnitus impacts daily life. Photo courtesy of BLUEMOTH Hearing

Introducing Mahana Tinnitus, your digital partner to manage tinnitus

Mahana Tinnitus is an evidence-based, self-guided digital program designed to address the impact of tinnitus. The Mahana Tinnitus program uses the principles of CBT to help people make changes in their daily lives to be able to manage their tinnitus for the long term. It’s available through hearing healthcare providers without a prescription.

The program starts by providing information about the relationship between the mind, body, and environment and how these interactions can affect responses to tinnitus. It also focuses on the ways that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can impact how the brain perceives sounds. Through interactive activities, you’ll discover the factors that are unique to your own experience of tinnitus and how to make lasting changes.

The remainder of the program explores other important aspects, including:

  • Changing responses to the stress and impact of tinnitus on daily life.
  • Learning how to shift focus away from tinnitus sounds.
  • Retraining the brain to be less bothered by tinnitus sounds.
  • Dealing with tinnitus at night to improve sleep quality.
  • Improving focus and concentration.

Personalized questions and surveys help individuals establish a baseline of their tinnitus as well as monitor and reflect on how they’re doing in the program. Audio and video tutorials — like Square Breathing and Attention Shifting — and digital skill-building tools support educational content by showing individuals how to incorporate changes into their daily routine.

In the past, tinnitus management solutions, including CBT for tinnitus, would need to be delivered in person by a licensed provider. It was costly, time consuming, and not always available due to limited resources. Mahana Tinnitus has changed all of this by making a CBT-based program designed for tinnitus available on Apple and Android devices at a fraction of the price.

Is the future you imagined starting to feel a little more possible? 

Clinically studied, backed by data

Results from a recent study of Mahana Tinnitus point to the program’s potential benefits. Mahana Tinnitus was studied in a 97-participant clinical trial that showed that 61% of participants reported a significant improvement in their Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) score after 6 weeks8. The TFI measured the impact of tinnitus on various areas of life such as sleep, concentration and focus, relaxation, hearing, and emotional distress9.

Further, nearly 70% of people who completed key parts of the program reported meaningful quality of life improvements at 6 weeks8. No negative side effects were reported.

Within the same timeframe, people with access to Mahana Tinnitus additionally reported:

  • Decreases in loudness, annoyance, and distress from tinnitus
  • An increase in the ability to cope with their tinnitus
  • Less interference on hearing and sleep
  • Improved concentration
  • Fewer negative emotions around tinnitus

Finally, study participants rated the program as highly usable, with ease of learning, navigation, and organization receiving the highest scores.

Mahana Tinnitus offers educational content and activities in a digital format. Photo courtesy of BLUEMOTH Hearing
Mahana Tinnitus offers educational content and activities in a digital format. Photo courtesy of BLUEMOTH Hearing

Is Mahana Tinnitus right for you?

Are you feeling frustrated with the phantom sounds of tinnitus? Have tinnitus symptoms been lingering for 3-6 months or more? Over the past two weeks, has tinnitus interfered with your life?

A digital program like Mahana Tinnitus may be right for you if tinnitus is…

  • Interrupting your sleep
  • Adding stress and anxiety to your day-to-day life
  • Interfering with daily tasks and/or enjoyable activities

Mahana Tinnitus is only available from hearing healthcare providers. To learn more about the program, schedule a free virtual consultation with a hearing healthcare provider or find a participating hearing healthcare provider near you.

References

  1. Dauman, N. et al. (2024). Psychological Models of Tinnitus. In: Schlee, W., Langguth, B., De Ridder, D., Vanneste, S., Kleinjung, T., Møller, A.R. (eds) Textbook of Tinnitus. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-35647-6_21
  2. Fuller, T., Cima, R., Langguth, B., Mazurek, B., Vlaeyen, J. W. S., & Hoare, D. J. (2020). Cognitive behavioural therapy for tinnitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2020(1), Article CD012614. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD012614.pub2
  3. Abbott, J. A., Kaldo, V., Klein, B., Austin, D., Hamilton, C., Piterman, L., Williams, B., & Andersson, G. (2009). A cluster randomised trial of an internet-based intervention program for tinnitus distress in an industrial setting. Cognitive behaviour therapy, 38(3), 162–173. https://doi.org/10.1080/16506070902763174
  4. Andersson, G., & Kaldo, V. (2004). Internet‐based cognitive behavioral therapy for tinnitus. Journal of clinical psychology, 60(2), 171-178. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.10243
  5. Beukes, E. W., Andersson, G., Fagelson, M., & Manchaiah, V. (2021). Audiologist-Supported Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Tinnitus in the United States: A Pilot Trial. American journal of audiology, 30(3), 717–729. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_AJA-20-00222
  6. Weise, C., Kleinstäuber, M., & Andersson, G. (2016). Internet-delivered cognitive-behavior therapy for tinnitus: a randomized controlled trial. Psychosomatic medicine, 78(4), 501-510. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000310
  7. Tunkel, D. E., Bauer, C. A., Sun, G. H., Rosenfeld, R. M., Chandrasekhar, S. S., Cunningham Jr, E. R., ... & Whamond, E. J. (2014). Clinical practice guideline: tinnitus. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 151(2_suppl), S1-S40. https://doi.org/10.1177/0194599814545325
  8. Data on file at Mahana Therapeutics. 
  9. Meikle, M. B., Henry, J. A., Griest, S. E., Stewart, B. J., Abrams, H. B., McArdle, R., Myers, P. J., Newman, C. W., Sandridge, S., Turk, D. C., Folmer, R. L., Frederick, E. J., House, J. W., Jacobson, G. P., Kinney, S. E., Martin, W. H., Nagler, S. M., Reich, G. E., Searchfield, G., Sweetow, R., … Vernon, J. A. (2012). The tinnitus functional index: development of a new clinical measure for chronic, intrusive tinnitus. Ear and hearing, 33(2), 153–176. https://doi.org/10.1097/AUD.0b013e31822f67c.
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Mahana Tinnitus is an evidence-based, self-guided digital program designed to help improve your quality of life.

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