Overview

“Whist is very helpful to me when I experience tinnitus. Prior to Whist, I would have to find noisy places to work in so that the ringing in my ear wouldn’t bother or distract me. Now, I can stay in the comfort of my room and let Whist generate sounds that relieve my tinnitus. Whist’s sounds are completely customizable – I get to create ones that both mask my tinnitus and bother me less than the ringing in my ear. I would highly recommend Whist to anyone bothered by their tinnitus and looking for relief.”
Laura D., Age 20
Tinnitus sufferer
Whist for iOS

Whist – Tinnitus Relief for iOS

Whist - Tinnitus Relief for iOS Preview

Whist for Windows PC

Whist for Windows PC

Use Whist 1 – Tinnitus Relief at your convenience and at your own speed to find the sounds that provide the most tinnitus relief for you. When you find the best therapeutic sounds, you can save them to provide immediate access to tinnitus relief when you need it most.

Based on clinical research on sound therapy, Whist – Tinnitus Relief provides a flexible and easy-to-use interface for masking and residual inhibition of tinnitus. Each of Whist – Tinnitus Relief’s controls adjusts an essential and easily-understood characteristic of the sound. By following the simple instructions that are provided, you will be able to match the pitch, noisiness and loudness of your tinnitus to find the best sound for your unique tinnitus relief.

Whist – Tinnitus Relief provides you with the sounds that are at least as effective as those that might be gotten with the best matching and sound delivery device, all at a small fraction of the cost.

The one element of some sound therapy programs that Whist – Tinnitus Relief does not provide is counseling. Developing an accepting attitude towards tinnitus can help sufferers cope, and the counseling that an experienced clinician can provide can facilitate that change. A start on that sort of counseling can be found in some written materials that are referenced in the “Background” section.

Whist – Tinnitus Relief Features

  • Easy-to-use interface for controlling sound level, pitch, noisiness and balance.
  • Works with iOS and Android mobile devices, or Windows computers (Windows 7 or higher)
  • Internet connection not needed to run
  • Save and load sound settings
  • Schedule intermittent sound presentation
  • Online Help/Tutorial

Android Hardware Requirements

  • An Android Phone or Tablet
  • Running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (or higher)

iOS Hardware Requirements

  • iPhone 4 (or newer), iPad 2 (or newer)or iPod Touch (5th Generation, or newer)
  • iOS 7 (or higher)

Windows Hardware Requirements

  • Intel Core 2 Duo (equivalent) or better
  • Microsoft Windows 7/8
  • 2GB RAM
  • 300MB of available hard-disk space
  • 1024×768 monitor resolution or higher
1 “whist” is most commonly known as the name of a card game. However, the original definition of the word was as a verb meaning “to silence,” or as an interjection meaning “hush!”

Purchase

Mobile

Whist iOS App
Get it on Google Play

Windows PC

Whist Windows Download

Background

Whist – Custom Sound Therapy for Tinnitus Relief

Whist – Tinnitus Relief is a computer program for creating the sounds used in sound therapy for tinnitus. Whist is not a therapy itself — it is a tool. With Whist you can try known therapies such as masking and residual inhibition that offer immediate short-term relief of tinnitus. You can control sound characteristics and presentation schedules and customize them so that they work best for you.

What is Sound Therapy?

Sound therapy is the presentation of sounds to a person with the goal of reducing the loudness or annoyance of tinnitus. See our sound therapies page for a description of the most common types of sound therapy.

Is Sound Therapy Effective?

The question needs to be sharpened.

Is sound therapy effective in providing a cure for tinnitus? No, it is not. After a rigorous evaluation of clinical evidence, impartial experts found insufficient evidence that any sound therapy program provides long-term tinnitus relief (see Pichora-Fuller et al., 2013).

However, it is also true that some forms of sound therapy – such as masking – have been used successfully by tinnitus sufferers for many years. Many have found that external sounds that cover up (i.e., mask) their tinnitus can take their minds off the tinnitus or even help them grow accustomed to it.

Other forms of sound therapy – such as low-level stimulation and residual inhibition — have not been used as widely as masking, but they do show promise for providing immediate relief.

These methods all act to relieve tinnitus loudness or annoyance while the therapy sound is applied, or for a brief time after. They do not provide long-term relief, or a cure, of tinnitus.

Why Custom Sound Therapy?

Several factors come together to suggest the need for a user-controlled custom sound therapy tool.

Research and clinical experience have shown that:

  • Tinnitus is idiosyncratic; everyone’s is different from anyone else’s
  • The sounds that people find effective for tinnitus relief are also highly individualistic
  • There is no consensus on the clinical management of tinnitus.
  • In addition, technology has advanced so that:

  • There is no obstacle to the creation of custom sounds on home computers;
  • There are many options for playing audio by cell phones and other portable devices, eliminating the need for hearing-aid type devices for delivering masking sounds.

There is also no obstacle to patients making tinnitus measurements themselves. Tinnitus is entirely subjective, and, as yet, there is no objective measure of it. The method of matching to an external sound that a clinician would do to measure your tinnitus can be done at home, using essentially the same procedure. Likewise, in searching for sounds that provide relief, you are the only judge of what works best.

All in all, it is most direct and convenient for tinnitus sufferers to measure their own tinnitus, and to search for sounds that provide relief, at their own pace and in the comfort of their home.

Further Information

If you have serious concerns about your tinnitus or your hearing generally, you should consult your doctor.

For further information on tinnitus, its causes and proposed treatments, including sound therapies, please consult these websites:

For those seeking help coping with tinnitus, these sources are recommended:

References

Franz, B. and Offutt, G. (2003). “Tinnitus suppression with threshold and subthreshold stimuli,” Inter. Tinnitus Journal 9, 11-16.

Goldstein, B.A., Shulman, A., Lenhardt, M.L., Richards, D.G., Madsen, A.G., and Guinta, R. (2001). “Long-term inhibition of tinnitus by UltraQuiet therapy: Preliminary report,” Inter. Tinnitus Journal 7, 122-127.

Goldstein, B.A., Lenhardt, M.L. and Shulman, A. (2005). “Tinnitus improvement with ultra-high-frequency vibration therapy,” Inter. Tinnitus Journal 11, 14-22.

Hazell, J. and Wood, S. (1981). “Tinnitus masking: A significant contribution to tinnitus management,” British Journal of Audiology 15, 223-230.

Meikle M.B., Creedon T.A., Griest S.E. (2004). “Tinnitus Archive, second edition,” <http://www.tinnitusArchive.org/>

Reavis, K.M., Rothholtz, V.S., Tang, O., Carroll, J.A., Djalilian, H., Zeng, F.G. (2012). “Temporary suppression of tinnitus by modulated sounds,” J. Assoc. Res. Otolaryngology 13, 561-571.

Vernon, J.A. and Meikle, M.B. (1981). “Tinnitus masking: Unresolved problems,” in Tinnitus Ciba Foundation Symposium 85 (Pitman Book, Ltd., London).

Vernon, J.A. and Meikle, M.B. (2000). “Tinnitus Masking,” in Tinnitus Handbook, edited by R. Tyler (Singular Publishing Group, San Diego, CA).

Pichora-Fuller, M.K., Santaguida, P., Hammill, A., Oremus, M., Westerberg, B., Ali, U., Patterson, C., Raina, P. (2013). “Evaluation and Treatment of Tinnitus: Comparative Effectiveness. Comparative Effectiveness Review No. 122,” (Prepared by the McMaster University Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-2007-10060-I.) AHRQ Publication No. 13-EHC110-EF. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; available here

Sound Therapies

There are many types of sounds that one can explore for tinnitus relief. But to focus your search and make it manageable, we describe three types of sound therapy that have achieved positive outcomes. These provide good places to start.

Detailed help is provided by Whist for following each of these types of therapies. In addition, all three of the example therapies described here will require that you first estimate the pitch of your tinnitus. You will also receive help making this measurement with Whist.

Masking

Tinnitus masking is the oldest and best known sound therapy. The basic idea is simple – present an external sound that renders the tinnitus inaudible (i.e., it masks the tinnitus), effectively replacing the tinnitus with a sound that is more acceptable.

Any external sound can be used; popular ones are music and nature sounds such as ocean surf and running water. Masking can also be achieved with portable audio players and with special-purpose tinnitus maskers, which are small ear-worn devices that look like hearing aids but which produce their own sounds rather than amplify external sound.

Masking is usually used for the immediate effect of making the tinnitus inaudible, without expectation of long-term benefit. Some patients have reported, however, that extended use of masking has led to a reduction in the severity or annoyance of tinnitus even in the absence of a masker. A few, though, have reported that maskers have made their tinnitus worse (Hazell and Wood, 1981).

Some studies of masking have indicated that wideband2 sounds, such as nature sounds and music, may not be the best maskers. Such sounds have very low as well as very high pitches. Narrowband sounds may be better, for two reasons. First, a narrowband sound near the tinnitus pitch is able to mask it more efficiently (i.e., with lower loudness) than a wideband sound, which can make the masker less annoying to listen to for long periods of time. Second, a narrowband sound is less apt to mask sounds around you that you want to hear.

Low-Level Stimulation

Several recent studies (Franz and Offut, 2003; Goldstein et al. 2001, 2005; Reavis et al
2012) have reported positive results for methods that are similar to masking, except that they use sounds that are adjusted in volume to be either barely audible or even inaudible. Some subjects in these studies report that their tinnitus is partially or completely suppressed by those sounds – in some cases only while the sound is present and in others for longer time periods after a long-term regimen of stimulation.

There are many questions about these methods, such as what kinds of sound are necessary to suppress the tinnitus. However, reports that some patients’ tinnitus was completely suppressed by external sounds that could not be heard (resulting in SILENCE!) are intriguing enough to make them worthy of exploration. With Whist you will be able to see if these methods are effective for you.

Residual Inhibition

Residual inhibition is the temporary reduction or complete suppression of tinnitus following exposure to a sound. Residual inhibition is the continued suppression of tinnitus after a masker is turned off. Again, this is the ideal outcome – SILENCE!

Of all the phenomena described in the research literature on tinnitus, residual inhibition is one of the most reliable. Somewhere between 60% and 90% of tinnitus sufferers report either partial or complete suppression of tinnitus (Meikle et al., 2004). The problem is that residual inhibition lasts only a short time. In typical studies, a person with tinnitus listens to a sound for about a minute. After the sound is turned off, the tinnitus is either reduced or extinguished completely for a brief time, usually a minute of two. A small fraction of tinnitus sufferers find that the duration of inhibition can be lengthened with continued use (Vernon and Meikle, 2000).

Despite the fact that the typical duration of residual inhibition is short, many people who are bothered by tinnitus appreciate even that brief period of true silence when there is no tinnitus (and no masking sound). The very nice thing about residual inhibition is that it can be reliably repeated and so is available whenever you need it.

Healthcare Professionals

Whist lets you put the possibility of tinnitus relief in your patients’ hands. Contact us to learn how to get a complimentary copy of Whist for PC to use in your office or clinic, or download it from the App Store to use it on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch or download it from Google Play to use it on your Android device.

Use it yourself as a tinnitus measurement tool, demonstrate it to patients, or recommend that they download it to use on their own.

You can finally stop telling your tinnitus patients to “learn to live with it.” Now you can recommend Whist — an affordable, easy-to-use tool for at-home and on-the-go sound therapy.

Documentation

Please consult the following documents for important information about Whist:

 

FAQ

Android

 

Q: Why do I need to set my device’s volume to the highest setting?

A: Setting your devices volume to the the max setting ensures that the volume control inside of Whist is producing a consistent volume between sessions.

Q: What kinds of headphones are compatible with Whist – Tinnitus Relief?

A: Any modern good-quality headphones/earphones should work well with Whist – Tinnitus Relief.
 

iOS

 

Q: Why do I need to set my device’s volume to the highest setting?

A: Setting your devices volume to the the max setting ensures that the volume control inside of Whist is producing a consistent volume between sessions.

Q: What kinds of headphones are compatible with Whist – Tinnitus Relief?

A: Any modern good-quality headphones/earphones should work well with Whist – Tinnitus Relief.
 

Windows PC

 

Q: Do I have to have my Windows computer with me to use Whist?

A: You will need your computer to create and test the sounds. Once you have created the sounds that work best for your tinnitus, Whist for Windows can create standard audio files which may be copied-to and played on any portable audio playback device, such as a smartphone or digital music player.

Q: What kinds of headphones are compatible with Whist?

A: Any modern good-quality headphones/earphones should work well with Whist.