People who have high levels of tinnitus-related distress but no hearing loss may prefer to wear customized sound generators also called ‘maskers’, ‘sound generators’ or ‘white noise machines’ – in both ears. These devices need to be fitted by a trained tinnitus professional as part of TRT. Environmental sound can be used in conjunction with customized sound generators. There are so many treatments now available for the disease of tinnitus. Thanks to the modern technology and the advancement in biology. Some of them are mentioned below in this article. Let us find more and get ourselves updated with the latest technique of the treatment used for ear ringing.
Wearable sound generators look similar to hearing aids, fit either inside or just behind the ears and provide bland, nonfluctuating white noise that is easy to ignore and sounds like gentle rushing or hissing. The advantages of such wearable devices are that they are discreet and provide a well-controlled, stable sound source for however long you want, wherever you want and at whatever volume you want. Moreover, they provide many frequencies of sound, which stimulate all the nerve cells in the auditory pathways. This improves their plasticity and allows them to be reprogrammed more easily, making it easier for habituation to be achieved.
Behind-the-ear sound generators are usually preferred as they don’t interfere with your ability to hear. When the devices are ready for you to collect, your tinnitus professional will set the volume level correctly – at either just below your tinnitus sound or to mix with it.
As soon as an acceptable level of habituation is achieved, you can stop using the devices. Note, though, that the use of wearable sound generators when worn on one side only, can worsen your perception of tinnitus. Thus, even if you only hear the noises in one ear, the generators should be worn in or behind both ears. Moreover, don’t think that needing to wear one or more hearing aid(s) precludes you from wearing sound generators in or behind your ears, too. They can even be combined with hearing aids nowadays.
In the UK, if you are taking part in an NHS tinnitus management class, wearable sound generators are often provided free of charge. They can also be purchased privately from hearing aid dispensers, but are often expensive.
Table-top or bedside sound generators
This type of sound generator can sit on a table or desk during the day and on your bedside cabinet during the night. At the touch of a button, a range of soothing sounds can be heard – for example, a waterfall, light rain, lapping waves or birdsong – at whatever volume is right for you. This type of sound generator has many of the advantages of the wearable devices. Furthermore, if you can’t sleep in your wearable sound generator(s), you can use the table-top variety instead at night. Table-top or bedside sound generators are freestanding.
If you already own in-ear or behind-the-ear sound generators but prefer not to wear them all day, another option is to use a table-top sound generator for a period of time to give your ears a rest.
During the night, not all partners of those with tinnitus like the constant low-level sounds produced by table-top or bedside sound generators or other sound sources. Fortunately, you don’t need to wear headphones to avoid this problem – you can use a special pillow speaker.
Pillow speakers do not generate sounds by themselves but are connected to a sound source (a sound generator, cassette or CD player, for example). Because the sounds come through your pillow only, it’s less audible to your partner. Before use, the pillow speaker should be slipped under your pillow.
If you suffer from both tinnitus and hearing loss, you may assume that your poor hearing is the cause of your tinnitus, but that is not the case. Tinnitus can be a symptom of hearing loss, but certainly not the cause. However, hearing aids are usually very useful in the management of tinnitus and it’s advisable that you wear your aid or aids for all or most of the day. Doing so will raise your awareness of environmental sounds and allow the tinnitus to fade into the background.
Straining to communicate in the presence of head noises can be a great source of fatigue, frustration and stress. It can also make the auditory system more aware of its own internal noise. However, wearing your hearing aid(s) amplifies external sounds while at the same time reducing the tinnitus sounds you hear.
Hence, hearing aids can play an important role in habituation therapy.
When you are choosing your hearing aids, ask for a pair with a wide frequency response and that are fitted with open moulds, to avoid blocking the ears and interfering with external sounds. When used for tinnitus, your audiologist or ENT specialist will explain that the aim of the aid is to amplify the environmental sounds rather than improve your perception of speech, which is opposite to the aim when they are used by people who have hearing loss.
It’s a great bonus that, rather than amplifying all sounds indiscriminately, modem aids can provide maximum amplification of low-level sounds, medium amplification of moderate sounds and little or no amplification of high-level sounds. It is the amplification of low-level sounds that helps in tinnitus as it reduces the contrast between the tinnitus noise and that of background activities. The tinnitus is often more easily ignored.
Hearing aids can take time and patience to get used to, but when you feel confident with yours, negative emotions related to communication should significantly reduce. If you need further guidance in using your hearing aid(s), request another referral to your audiologist or ENT department. The British and American Tinnitus Association websites also offer invaluable expert information on how to get the best from your aid. If you have a hearing aid already, you may wish to take this opportunity to obtain a more up-to-date one and so improve your ability to communicate with background noise.
Unfortunately, when there is no external sound to amplify, hearing aids are less effective at reducing tinnitus in a quiet environment.
On removing your aid at the end of the day, your tinnitus is likely to sound louder. This is due to the fact that the environmental sounds are not then being amplified. It’s advisable, therefore, to avoid removing your aid when it’s very quiet and increase the volume of your sound enrichment source for a while. To find out more, you can check out Homeopathic Remedy For Tinnitus.