Abstract

Chronic tinnitus, the perception of a phantom sound in the absence of corresponding stimulus, is a condition known to affect patients’ quality of life. Recent advances in mHealth have enabled patients to maintain a ‘disease journal’ of ecologically-valid momentary assessments, improving patients’ own awareness of their disease while also providing clinicians valuable data for research. In this study, we investigate the effect of non-personalised tips on patients’ perception of tinnitus, and on their continued use of the application. The data collected from the study involved three groups of patients that used the app for 16 weeks. Groups A & Y were exposed to feedback from the start of the study, while group B only received tips for the second half of the study. Groups A and Y were run by different supervisors and also differed in the number of hospital visits during the study. Users of Group A and B underwent assessment at baseline, mid-study, post-study and follow-up, while users of group Y were only assessed at baseline and post-study. It is seen that the users in group B use the app for longer, and also more often during the day. The answers of the users to the Ecological Momentary Assessments are seen to form clusters where the degree to which the tinnitus distress depends on tinnitus loudness varies. Additionally, cluster-level models were able to predict new unseen data with better accuracy than a single global model. This strengthens the argument that the discovered clusters really do reflect underlying patterns in disease expression.

Links and resources

DOI:
10.3390/brainsci10120924
URL:
https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3425/10/12/924
BibTeX key:
brainsci10120924
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