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What are Tinnitus Maskers and How Do They Work?

By Edited May 4, 2016 0 2

Sound Maskers for Treating Tinnitus

Can They Provide Relief for Sufferers?

A tinnitus masker does just what it sounds like it does--masking the persistent noise sufferers must deal with.  Since tinnitus sufferers can’t escape from the ongoing ringing in the ears, they find it hard to concentrate, to fall asleep or sometimes just to hear in general.  Tinnitus maskers do not treat the condition except to drown out the ringing so that that a sufferer can function without being consumed by the noise.  In this article, I’m going to talk about the range of tinnitus maskers available for those suffering from the condition.

White Noise As a Tinnitus Masker

One category of tinnitus maskers generate white noise which is the same kind of noise you would hear on

Relief for Tinnitus
 the radio when it isn’t tuned to a station.  White noise takes the sufferer’s mind off the noise with the ongoing static.  Specific maskers for tinnitus sufferers including white noise generators worn inside the ears (like hearing aids) as well as ones that can play white noise through speakers embedded in a pillow.

Other Kinds of Sound Maskers

People with tinnitus may actually use all kinds of strategies to mask the ringing in their ears.  Some might prefer the low hum of a fan in the background or loudly play the TV or radio to drown out the noise.  To take the focus away from the ringing, tinnitus sufferers will use the background sounds they prefer--sometimes they may do so all day.

Depending on the individual’s preference, a sound masker can use artificial and/or natural sounds to mask the ringing noise.

Hearing Aids as Sound Maskers

A masker cannot be useful if the person who needs it can’t hear the masking noises properly.  Therefore, hearing aids can be used to amplify external noise in order to drown out the tinnitus as well as provide the individual who has hearing loss with help.

Using Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and Sound Maskers

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) can utilize sound maskers but at a significantly lower level if at all.  Since the aim of TRT is to retrain the brain to ignore the noise in the way our brain tunes out other noises, moving towards habituation must be managed by trained professionals.  Further TRT must be paired with counseling to help a sufferer deal with the negative association given to the condition.  Therefore, using a sound masker to tune out the ringing can be counterproductive to TRT.

Achieving Success with Tinnitus Maskers

Not all tinnitus sufferers have success with sound masking but this is due to the different kinds of tinnitus and how they affect individuals differently since each person’s condition can vary in severity and range.  Sometimes, turning off the masker can cause the ringing to be louder than before.  Because of this, sufferers might combine a masker with another treatment method for relief.



Dec 8, 2011 3:16pm
This is interesting information. I know someone who suffers with tinnitus and I'm sure he would be interested in this.
Dec 9, 2011 11:58pm
This is quite a debilitating condition, especially as there is usually no indication of it to outsiders.
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