Over the years, I've worked with many patients who experience bothersome tinnitus. Unfortunately finding relief can sometimes be elusive, whether it’s trying to drown out the ringing sound or simply relaxing and focusing. As a hearing care professional, I'd like to share some of the best apps that can help relieve relief. The good news? There are many apps available that can help manage or relieve symptoms. So, let's explore these handy apps for tinnitus management.
What types of apps are most helpful?
It’s important to note tinnitus management is a completely individual process. Everyone processes and copes with tinnitus differently. However, apps targeting two approaches are helpful: 1) Audio to mask or distract from the sound and 2) Stress management tools. Let's look at several categories of apps that can help.
Apps designed to help individuals manage their tinnitus come in various formats, and generating noise or a sound can be helpful. Let's talk about noise apps as there are quite a few offerings to wade through. These apps generate a customizable range of soothing, ambient sounds such as ocean waves, rain, or white noise. These sounds can be tailored to blend with the individual's tinnitus, offering instant relief by masking the ringing, buzzing, humming, or whooshing sounds.
Want something peaceful and supportive? One great app to try is called Sleep Sounds by Sleep Pillow. This app is handy for those who have trouble falling asleep. You can select from various sounds to create a soothing soundscape, and then a timer lets you choose the length of play for these sounds (ranging from one minute to one hour and 15 minutes).
For iPhone and Android
Another option is White Noise Lite, which includes a range of colored noise (aka, the power spectrum of a noise signal) and nature sounds. This app contains options to set the sound for a length of time, fade, or repeat to give you options for listening. The app's free version includes banner ads, but you can upgrade for just a dollar. When you create a free online account, you'll also have access to more sounds to download and try.
Tinnitus Therapy Apps
Tinnitus therapy apps, such as Resound Relief and Widex ZEN Tinnitus, offer masking noise to help cope with tinnitus. These apps are designed to be used with hearing aids for those who experience tinnitus. In conjunction with tinnitus hearing aids, these apps target and provide relief from bothersome symptoms.
If you’re keen on sound therapy, GN Resound's Resound Relief is just the ticket. It’s an app designed to control tinnitus with sound therapy. It includes environmental, music, and therapeutic sounds that can be used with hearing aids for improved relief. You can customize a tinnitus sound program tailored to your preferences with a combination of sounds, such as "heavy rain" and "strings." This app works for iPhone and Android and offers helpful tips for managing tinnitus. Your Resound hearing aids and the Resound Relief app offer great tinnitus support.
Widex ZEN Tinnitus
Widex is known for its unique fractal tones ZEN therapy to relieve tinnitus. (If you're unfamiliar with fractal tones, think of wind chimes.) When working with your audiologist or hearing care provider, they can create a customized tinnitus program for you. Additionally, in the Widex ZEN tinnitus app, you can select from various options such as Zen Dreams, Zen Joy, and Zen Calm. This app also contains other suggestions to help manage tinnitus and works with iPhone and Android. With your Widex hearing aids, various options exist to manage your tinnitus.
Meditation apps offer guided mindfulness and relaxation techniques designed to alleviate stress, which is known to exacerbate tinnitus symptoms. Additionally, many patients find meditation to be a great support tool. By reducing stress, these apps can contribute to a more relaxed state and a subsequent decrease in tinnitus-related discomfort.
Best Free Option
The Healthy Minds Program is a free app and an excellent basic option to get started if you're new to meditation. This app walks you through awareness, connection, insight, and purpose courses. As you work through, you can track your progress based on the baseline survey you'll take in the introduction. Both Android and Apple devices can use this app.
Excellent (Paid) Mediation Option
Give a warm welcome to Headspace. This app contains a library with a wealth of mediation options. It's great for a beginner or someone with more experience looking for a specific type of meditation. For example, if you're looking for a meditation to help cope with anxiety, grief, patience, or other goals, there are excellent and organized options for you in their library. Even better: You'll find what you need here if you need a quick solution to help just before an interview or other solution-driven session. At $70 annually, you'll get great value and discover programming you want. Both Android and Apple devices can use this app.
Music apps can provide users with tailor-made playlists to mask tinnitus with the right type of music you enjoy. Thanks to extensive music libraries, the ability to explore various musical genres provides a soothing outlet for those seeking relief. Let's look at two of the best options.
Pandora is a popular option for music listening and offers both free and paid versions for streaming. Their extensive music library means you can find your favorites easily. There are also stations dedicated to your favorite type of music, playlists to enjoy, or you can bookmark your favorite artists.
Like Pandora, Spotify has a basic or paid ad-free option. You can play your favorite music, receive recommendations from Spotify based on your initial interest, or access curated playlists. However you choose to listen, Spotify gives you great music for tinnitus relief.
Lastly, eBook and audiobook apps, such as Audible or Hoopla, offer an alternative means of engaging the mind and distracting from tinnitus symptoms. Why not pick your favorite genre, choose a bestseller, or enjoy classic stories as an enjoyable distraction? The diverse selection of genres allows for a personalized escape from the persistent sounds of tinnitus, drowning out the condition with immersive storytelling and engaging content.
One of the best-known audiobook options, Audible, has a free option for Kindle Unlimited audiobooks or a more extensive version with a monthly fee in exchange for access to their audiobook library. This service is available for both Android and Apple devices.
If you have a library card, this app is a great way to get free audiobooks to listen to through participating libraries. It allows you to easily search for your favorite books, download them, and listen whenever you want. Hoopla is available on both Apple and Android devices. (If your local library of choice isn’t in the app, check out your branch’s website. For example, the NY Public Library system also uses an online app called Libby to download ebooks and audiobooks alike!)
For those struggling with managing their tinnitus symptoms, there is no shortage of helpful apps available today that can make relaxation and relief much easier. From noise apps to meditation apps and music streaming services, plenty of options are available for anyone looking for ways to cope with bothersome tinnitus. Whether you need something simple like white noise or more relaxing like guided meditations, there is an app for everyone.