Our latest investment through the University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund is supporting the commercialisation of Tinnibot - an evidence-based chatbot programme using behavioural change, therapeutic soundscapes and mindfulness training to make treatment more personalised and accessible for Tinnitus sufferers, which is often associated with age-related hearing loss.
Audiologist and neuroscientist Dr. Fabrice Bardy, a co-founder of Tinnibot, is leading research into its effectiveness at the University of Auckland’s School of Psychology.
Dr Bardy describes Tinnibot as like having a tinnitus expert in your pocket. He says accessibility is important, given 15% of the global adult population suffers from hearing problems (i.e. hearing loss and tinnitus) but only 1 in 4 people access and benefit from currently available hearing services.
“This chatbot interface is the first one designed specifically for the treatment of tinnitus, a tool that offers direct therapy and support which is convenient and affordable,” he says.
“It will help people better understand their condition and to manage symptoms, give them a sense of being in control and a confidence boost because that’s an important part of successful treatment.”
UniServices Commercialisation Manager Pau Medrano-Gracia says: “We heard about Dr Bardy’s work and think it has great potential to scale up as a science-backed digital solution supported by an excellent team. Tinnibot has been endorsed by the British Tinnitus Association and is already advancing talks about distribution with a partnership with a large provider in the audiology industry.”
After putting the case forward to the Return on Science Digital Technologies Investment Committee in October 2020, an investment has been made through the University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund and the Tinnibot team is also welcoming other investors.
“Tinnibot has reached beta testing stage and early feedback from users is really positive. We look forward to seeing how the chatbot builds with results from the survey underway at the University of Auckland,” says Dr Medrano-Gracia.
Find out more about Tinnibot by visiting hearingpower.co/