How can I use sound therapy for Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the sound of ringing, clicking, whining, or buzzing heard in your ears that isn’t attributed to an external source. This sound can be caused by a variety of things including underlying health conditions or hearing loss, or a combination of the two. While there is no single cure for tinnitus, sound therapy can assist with the management of the condition and can provide patients with some relief from the constant sound of ringing and improve their quality of life.
What causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can have a variety of causes, but the most common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss. Once the ear sustains an injury that diminishes your ability to hear the sound as clearly as you used to, your brain can create noises to fill in the gap between what you used to be able to hear and your new limited range of sounds. Tinnitus is also commonly caused by underlying health problems like high blood pressure, sinus and ear infections, tumours, and hormonal changes.
How does sound therapy work for tinnitus?
Along with hearing aids, tinnitus sound therapy is one of the best forms of tinnitus management. Sound therapy can be a successful tinnitus treatment providing relief for the condition, as it creates new neural pathways within your brain as well as helping the inner ear mechanism to heal. Tinnitus sound therapy works by retraining your brain to perceive tinnitus sound in your ear as something neutral or unimportant, diminishing the amount of emotional stress the sound causes you.
How to get started with tinnitus sound therapy
Sound therapy involves playing soothing tinnitus masking sounds like white noise and nature sounds into your ears, often at night, which hide the ringing, hissing, or clicking tinnitus sound. This can be done with either an app or a dedicated tinnitus therapy device. This provides tinnitus relief by training your brain to filter out the background sounds it doesn’t want to hear. To begin tinnitus treatment with sound therapy it is best to speak to your audiologist about which devices or apps would be ideal for your specific case of tinnitus.
Who can benefit from tinnitus sound therapy?
Those who have experienced hearing loss and as a result have tinnitus constantly ringing in their ears can receive a large amount of tinnitus relief from sound therapy.
Hearing aids and other tools for sound therapy
Tinnitus management apps: there is a huge range of paid and free sound therapy apps that can be downloaded directly to your smartphone, which may help with tinnitus management. These apps, often listened to as you sleep, play a range of different background noise; from soft chimes to nature sounds and white noise, masking the tinnitus you would otherwise hear.
Hearing aids: Hearing aids can assist with tinnitus management as they augment the sounds you hear in daily life providing a distraction from the perception of tinnitus.
Sound masking devices: therapy sound machines can be desktop or bedside devices that provide tinnitus treatment by playing anything from ocean sounds to white noise providing relief from your tinnitus. The ideal noise emitted by a sound masking device is one with positive emotional connections for the patient. These devices tend to only be effective while they are playing a sound and not after the sound has been turned off.
Notched music devices: these devices assist in the treatment of tinnitus by teaching your brain to ignore the tinnitus completely. These devices aim to target the frequency of your tinnitus, the amplification of the sound is then turned down and your brain begins to perceive the tinnitus you are hearing as background noise.
Find a tinnitus specialist
If you experience tinnitus and find it debilitating or uncomfortable, speaking to a tinnitus specialist can assist in the treatment of your tinnitus and relief from the condition in a variety of ways. A tinnitus specialist will ensure you are receiving the ideal sound therapy for your particular tinnitus, selecting the right app, guiding you as to whether to listen to your device or smartphone while awake or during sleep and can help guide you towards the ideal hearing aids for you which may assist in tinnitus relief.
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