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For the first time, a statutory health insurance company is offering an app on prescription. From October 2015, Techniker Krankenkasse will use the costs of a therapy app for tinnitus ear smoke. The so-called “Tinnitracks app” was designed by the Hamburg-based company “Sonormed” and should cost 19.90 euros a month. The German Professional Association of Otorhinolaryngologists who support this project is also involved.
A whistle or a whistle - around three million people in Germany know this when a constant noise in the ear disturbs. And every hundredth suffers so badly that this tinnitus has to be treated by a doctor - and not every method leads to success. A new app now offers sufferers an amazingly simple treatment alternative: by listening to their favorite music for at least 90 minutes a day for a period of twelve months, they can train their hearing center on the imaginary sound. This is made possible by the “Tinnitracks” app. It will be available to policyholders from the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) on prescription from early October - prescribed by Hamburg ear, nose and throat specialists.
The so-called “imaginary” tinnitus does not arise from a real sound but from an overactivity of certain nerve cells in the hearing center of the brain. They are arranged there - comparable to the keys on a piano - according to their frequency and cause a corresponding noise when they are overexcited. For the therapy, the ear, nose and throat doctor determines the individual tinnitus frequency and thus determines which cells should be spared during the therapy by filtering out the sound from the favorite music. Regular listening to the filtered music should then reduce the overactivity of the affected nerve cells and thus sustainably alleviate tinnitus.
In clinical studies, the frequency filtering method used by Tinnitracks has already proven its effectiveness in patients between the ages of 18 and 65 and with a tinnitus frequency below 8,500 Hertz. The results are a good basis for TK to try out the app as an alternative to conventional therapies under routine conditions.
“With Tinnitracks, the app becomes a therapist. And it can be an alternative to conventional treatment options, ”says Klaus Rupp, head of supply management at TK. Once the ear, nose and throat specialist has precisely determined the individual tinnitus frequency, therapy is carried out using a smartphone alone. This is made possible by the invention of the Hamburg start-up company Sonormed GmbH in combination with a supply contract from the TK and the German Professional Association of Otorhinolaryngologists. V. The goal: to gain initial experience with tinnitracks as a treatment alternative under routine conditions and to roll out the treatment concept nationwide if successful. For this reason, around 30 ear, nose and throat specialists are starting in Hamburg. Patients can participate regardless of where they live if they are being treated by one of these doctors.