Hearing aids today don’t just help provide better hearing. With the incredible advances in today’s mobile technology, hearing aids are able to work with our mobile phones, smartwatches and tablets. Apart from our hearing aids, we have mobile apps that can help us manage our tinnitus, tell us when to wear hearing protection and more!
We caught up with Chris Howes, Senior Strategic Software Product Manager, and Penny Tyson, Product Manager, to talk about some of Starkey’s most popular mobile apps and how they can provide healthy hearing benefits. Below are summaries of the apps and some questions we asked Chris and Penny.
Starkey Relax – Tinnitus Relief
An estimated 50 million Americans are affected by tinnitus, an annoying sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. These phantom sounds, which may take the form of “ringing,” “buzzing,” “roaring,” “clicking” or “hissing,” can vary in pitch and be heard in one or both ears. For some people, the noise can be so loud that it interferes with their ability to concentrate or hear actual sound.
While many patients with tinnitus have found relief from the Multiflex Tinnitus technology found in Starkey’s Muse, Halo 2, Z Series and SoundLens Synergy hearing aids, others may also desire an option with multiple relief sounds for the changing state of their tinnitus.
The Relax app is a free mobile app designed to help provide personalized tinnitus relief and comprehensive tinnitus education. The app features 12 unique relief sounds coupled with soothing images, which can be adjusted, customized, and streamed: 1) to Bluetooth audio devices (headphones/speakers), 2) directly from an iOS device to the Halo or Halo 2 Made for iPhone hearing aids, or 3) to any 900sync hearing aids via the SurfLink Mobile device.
The app also provides a variety of tinnitus education materials about symptoms, causes, and solutions.
For what purpose was this app developed? The app provides the tinnitus sufferers with a comprehensive tinnitus education and self-management tool.
What are the benefits of using the app? The Relax app enables the users to create and customize highly-personalized relief sounds when standard sounds don’t meet the specific needs of their tinnitus. The app is also an informational resource. Users have many unanswered questions about the ringing, buzzing, hissing, roaring, or whooshing noise they are experiencing. Many answers are provided in the nine informational sections within the “Learn” screen, including symptoms, causes and dietary considerations.
What’s the coolest part of the app? The Create feature is really cool, because it enables a user, via a smartphone, to fine-tune the selected relief sound in order to best suit the user’s unique tinnitus at the current moment. For example, the user can create a new, customized relief sound to specifically meet his needs in the evening, when tinnitus tends to roar. A soothing image may then be selected from the Starkey Relax stock-image gallery or from the user’s personal camera roll for full customization of the personalized relief sound.