Tinnitus is a buzzing, whistling or noise which affects patients without a locatable source. It may always be there or can temporarily appear in one or both ears and can affect anyone. Tinnitus can be triggered by physical or mental illnesses as well as by noise. In some patients, the symptoms can be so severe that the psychological strain causes physical consequences in the long term.
A distinction is made between two types of tinnitus: acute (up to 3 months) and chronic (over 3 months) tinnitus, which can last a lifetime. In principle, it can occur at any age, but most frequently between the ages of 40 and 50.
In Germany around 3 million adults suffer from chronic tinnitus and approximately 270,000 new cases are diagnosed every year.
The aim was to develop a non-invasive treatment method which can be performed by the patient in his or her own home environment without requiring any inpatient stays.
The motivation to improve tinnitus therapy comes from the founder of Cleanhearing. Whilst suffering from tinnitus himself he discovered a treatment method which he tailored to his personal needs, making him symptom free.
Sono works with pulsed electromagnetic field stimulation on the inner ear (PEMFs – Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Stimulation).
By mixing these fields with personal music, acceptance of the treatment increases and it becomes easier for the patient to handle. This procedure is called Sound Enrichment and the mixed music is called Notched Music. Certain frequency ranges of the music around the frequency of tinnitus are filtered out which is proven to reduce ringing in the ears. Now users can convert their favourite music to notched music on a variety of online platforms.
The system consists of two components, the control box and headphones or a smartphone with headphones. The user can adjust the system to their personal tinnitus frequently independently. The treatment consists of two half-hour applications per day over a period of up to six months. In the meantime, several hundred test subjects have been successfully treated with this method.
With the alternative application with control box or smartphone, the system enables a mobile application as wearable as well as a POC application at any given location.
Our task was to bring together all the different components into one overall system. To create a user-friendly device and a headset with great wearable comfort, which can be operated intuitively and error-free due to good usability of the software and hardware interfaces (GUI on the device, APP, Website).
WILDDESIGN was involved with the project from an early stage and started by clarifying the brand image of Cleanhearing from which the corporate identity could be derived. As a result, the design family was created for the products and also for the interface of the website and Notched Music APP. A design was established which provides the patient with simple, intuitive operation of the device and creates an antistigmatized effect. The main focus was on simplified usability and creating a product language which reflects this characteristic. The device is therefore perceived as an everyday consumer product which thereby offers the patient good user comfort.
The simple and error free use of Sono essentially depends on a coherent design of the system interfaces so the design of the website and APPs for smartphone and tablet, as well as the GUI of the controller, was also in our hands.
The design of the softcase for the controller and headphones with corresponding outer packaging rounded off the overall process.
In close collaboration with a team of international specialists in electronics and audio technology, a compelling and user-friendly concept was developed. Intuitive, easy to use, antistigmatizing and very cost-effective due to the use of standard components.
The visual levity of high-quality consumer electronics is effortlessly conveyed here into the medical devices sector.