Distraction and Sound Techniques for Coping with Tinnitus
One of the key ways that people who suffer from Tinnitus are able to cope with the symptoms is through distraction and sound techniques. At night time the symptoms of Tinnitus can be worse as the sounds seem much louder, making it difficult to mentally switch off and relax enough to sleep. A range of products and techniques are available that use other sounds which are much more bearable to distract from the Tinnitus, and to prevent you from focusing on the symptoms which intensifies the symptoms further. Although the tinnitus sounds doesn’t disappear, over time the brain becomes trained to ignore the tinnitus so it no longer bothersome.
Some of these products and techniques are discussed below:
Hearing aids are designed primarily to help people with hearing loss regain some or all of their hearing. They can also however be very beneficial reducing the symptoms of Tinnitus, particularly if the Tinnitus is caused by hearing loss. When a person strains to hear sounds and conversations, this can exacerbate the symptoms of Tinnitus.
Hearing aids help to minimise the effects of Tinnitus by amplifying external noises to distract from tinnitus and can provide more soothing tones. Audiologist use the latest technology to work out the severity of hearing loss, in order to try correct it. A study published by Deafness Research UK suggests that almost 40% of tinnitus sufferers surveyed could benefit from properly prescribed and fitted hearing aids in both ears.
Tinnitus maskers are designed specifically to help sufferers cope with the symptoms of Tinnitus. They work by producing sounds which mask or cover up the tinnitus sounds and create a soothing sound which is much more bearable. This technique is particularly useful when there is very little background noise so the symptoms of Tinnitus appear intensified, such as late or night or early in the morning. Tinnitus maskers use therapeutic sounds to effectively drown out the symptoms of Tinnitus, these therapeutic sounds are found to be much more relaxing than the range of noises caused by Tinnitus, and people find much easier to fall asleep to.
Tinnitus maskers have been around sine the 1970S in a many forms. They are now many different types available from a small device fitted to the ear which resembles a hearing aid, right up to large sounds system. These are some examples of the type of sound therapies available:
- Small device for the ear – this creates a gentle, steady rushing noise throughout the day which masks the tinnitus sounds. The brain begins to recognise this new noise as a peaceful sound which is not distracting.
- Sources of sources – noises such as fish tanks, small indoor waterfalls or fountains, fans or low volume music can provide a steady background of comforting noise that can be useful at night or in a quiet environment.
- Sound generators – produce a steady background noise such as white noise or sounds of nature such as gentle waves on the shore or a gentle breeze in a forest which are just below the sounds of your tinnitus. These devices can be worn like a personal stereo or stand alone and can turn themselves off so you can use them to fall asleep to.
As discussed, night time is when the symptoms of Tinnitus are worse. Additionally lack of sleep, and stress caused by lack of sleep, also exacerbate the symptoms of Tinnitus. Some tinnitus maskers have therefore specifically been designed for sleep as follows:
- Tinnitus masking pillows – these essentially have speakers embedded into the pillow which emit relaxing, soothing sounds. These have the advantage of not disturbing partners.
- Bedside sounds systems – this emits a variety of natural sounds such as the sounds of the ocean or rainfall.
- Audio books and music – the right type of audio books and music can help some Tinnitus sufferers by focusing the brain
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