Four Tinnitus Masking Treatments
As there is no real cure for tinnitus, most doctors will recommend a tinnitus masking approach that will help you take your mind off the tinnitus noise. Tinnitus masking is a technique where the tinnitus noise is covered or “masked” by another more pleasing sound. This is done by playing back “white” noise which contains all the sound frequencies in the audio spectrum. Depending on the frequency of your tinnitus, there are “pink” noise which contains more of the lower frequencies and “brown” noise (also known as “red” noise) which contains even more lower frequencies than “pink” noise.
Tinnitus masking is just one type of tinnitus treatment. It may not work for everyone especially for those whose tinnitus sound fluctuate in frequencies or those who falls into the higher frequencies. Tinnitus masking devices usually provide sound at a constant frequency. Try one out before committing to its use.
List of Tinnitus Masking Techniques
1) The “DIY” (Do it yourself) method is one that you can use to determine if the tinnitus masking method works and they can be found in your house. For example, turn on the faucet in your kitchen. See if the the noise of running water masks out the noise. Try also a whirling fan, the static noise from an AM radio station, noise from an air conditioner, fan from a desktop computer. You can even purchase DVDs from companies that contains various sound frequencies. You won’t have too much mobility with these techniques but at least it will provide some temporary relief. If your tinnitus noise is reduced or even eliminated then you are a good candidate for tinnitus masking.
2) If you want to be mobile, the tinnitus masking technique here is to wear a hearing-aid device that provides “white”, “pink”, “brown” noise generator. These are called wearable sound generators (WSG). As most tinnitus sufferers noise frequencies falls in the 10-20KHZ range, make sure the device has a good quality speaker that is able to produce sound at least in this range. The wider the range, the better. Some device includes sound amplification as well.
3) Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) is a 2 part method. The first part is the use of “white” or “pink” noise generator through a hearing-aid device. The second part is therapy. This is the method recommended by doctors. The tinnitus masking technique here is to “retrain” your brain into blocking out the noise. As tinnitus noise is “phantom” noise generated in the brain, it is thought that using TRT will train the brain to ignore this “phantom” noise. The TRT treatment process takes about 1-2 years to complete.
4) Neuromonics is the latest in tinnitus masking. Relaxing music is integrated with neutral sound and the tinnitus sufferer wears a special high-quality headset. Therapy is required as part of the tinnitus treatment. The goal is to retrain the brain to “filter” out the tinnitus noise. The length for this type of treatment is from 6 months to 1 year. While this techniques sounds like TRT above, its owners claim that it is not.
The question you may be asking is does this not create just another type of noise? No, because the tinnitus noise is usually high, sharp, piercing and unpleasant whereas the tinnitus masking noise is more soother, calmer and pleasant. Remeber that the tinnitus masking does not remove the tinnitus noise, but hides it so that your brain is now focusing on the more pleasing sounds.