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Tinnibot: your companion for tinnitus relief

Over Tinnitus Awareness Week (February 1 – February 7) we met with the founders of Hearing Power who developed Tinnibot, the first virtual companion to help tinnitus sufferers.

Did you know that tinnitus, commonly described as a ringing in the ears, affects an estimated 2.4 million people in Australia and over 700 million people worldwide? In addition to the significant distress caused by tinnitus, it can result in individual economic loss up to $30,000 annually in lost earnings, productivity, and health expenses. The cost to society as a whole has been estimated upwards of $2 billion annually in Australia.

Sydney-based startup Hearing Power has been developing the app Tinnibot to help those suffering from tinnitus identify and manage the condition through evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy with exercises that are personalised to the individual user and delivered at the convenience of their smartphones to use anywhere and at a low cost.

Hearing Power is founded by two French-Australian entrepreneurs who met in Australia during their doctoral study. Dr Fabrice Bardy and Dr Matthieu Recugnat developed Tinnibot in collaboration with psychologists, audiologists, neuroscientists and people affected by tinnitus. Tinnibot has so far secured three international grants to conduct clinical trials in collaboration with the University of Auckland, New Zealand and Leeds Trinity, United Kingdom.

Tinnibot aims to provide a solution to people at the beginning of their journey towards finding peace with their condition. Here’s how it works: Tinnibot is a conversational agent that asks users daily questions related to emotional and physical well-being. Over time, it helps the user challenge negative thoughts linked to the distress caused by the condition and to reframe them in a more positive way.

Audiologist, neuroscientist and co-founder Dr Fabrice Bardy explains that “Tinnibot will offer direct therapy that is accessible and affordable. It is designed to help people at the beginning of their journey with tinnitus and allow them to better understand their condition and manage their symptoms. It’s about empowering the user and giving them the tools that will enable them to improve their quality of life. Tinnibot provides a confidence boost that is an important part of successful treatment.”

Looking to the future, Tinnibot intends to develop technology that digitally accompanies all parts of the tinnitus care chain and complements conversational therapy in the best possible fashion. Tinnibot plans to further develop its offerings, expand geographically and reach more people in 2021, while establishing partnerships with stakeholders such as hearing clinics and universities.

Tinnibot is a chatbot that helps users manage their tinnitus. Co-founders Dr Fabrice Bardy and Dr Matthieu Recugnat along with the team at Hearing Power is working on Tinnibot’s artificial intelligence-based capabilities to provide tinnitus care to everyone, sooner, cheaper, and more efficiently.

More information available at www.hearingpower.co

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