Attending Classes and Masking with Headphones? Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Jomo, Oct 3, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. Jomo

      Jomo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/4/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      going for a rim shot on the snare drum.
      Although my tinnitus is usually pretty mild I tend to prefer to have some sound around me in quiet locations... since I am attending a class I can't just set my iPhone to a low volume...

      Can anybody give me the type of headphones that they use in situations like this? Thanks.
       
    2. glynis-harbron
      Feminine

      glynis-harbron Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      Best not to use headphones or ear phones but if you must then keep it to the lowest setting possible.
      @Steve H did have some that go infrount of your ear but not sure what they were called....lots of love glynis
       
    3. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Jomo I agree with Glynis, and strongly advise you not to listen to any type of audio through headphones, especially as your tinnitus was caused by exposure to loud noise. If I were you I wouldn't even listen to headphones at low volume.
      Michael
       
    4. Jomo

      Jomo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/4/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      going for a rim shot on the snare drum.
      so basically i gotta duke it out with the T if it gets annoying. ohh boy....i appreciate the words of wisdom guys...i definitely dont wana make it worse
       
    5. Mentos

      Mentos Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2015
      Still as part of TRT they advise in-ear maskers with white noise played directly to your ears. I prefer pink noise over white and i play it sometimes through headphones. I don't see any difference between headphones and the maskers in this respect...
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    6. glynis-harbron
      Feminine

      glynis-harbron Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      Might be worth letting your tutour know about your tinnitus and see if you can have a break from the class when need to.
      If your tinnitus gets to distressing try download white noise but again play it on the lowest setting or maybe sit near the window with it open....
      See your doctor of need too and ENT and audiology...lots of love glynis
       
    7. Jomo

      Jomo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/4/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      going for a rim shot on the snare drum.
      This is a brutal all day CPA prep course lol so we will see how this goes.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    8. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Jomo @Mentos

      I wrote a post some time ago about the difference between listening to music through headphones and listening to white noise. Please find it below titled Headphones and tinnitus.
      The white noise frequency remains constant so shouldn't do any harm listening through headphones unlike music. However, I still wouldn't advise listening to white through headphones as this wont be as good as in-ear white noise generators. By the way, white noise generators are not supposed to masked tinnitus. If you masked the tinnitus, cover it up so that it can't be heard, then your brain will never habituate to the tinnitus. As soon as the white noise is removed (stopped) the brain will immediately focus back on the tinnitus. This can make the tinnitus appear louder and more intrusive.

      The preferred way to apply white noise to the ear, is to set the volume slightly below the tinnitus. In other words, make sure the tinnitus can be heard above the white noise. Doing this allows the brain to focus on the white noise and push the tinnitus further into the background. Doing this over time habituation usually occurs.

      Headphones and Tinnitus.


      The views on whether a person with tinnitus should listen to music through headphones are controversial. Some people show no adverse affects while others do even when the volume level is kept low.
      We are all different so the only way a one can know is to experiment for themselves if they want to. In my opinion, when the tinnitus was caused by exposure to loud noise/music and it has become intrusive - by this I mean a person having to seek help at ENT, then they shouldn’t listen to music through headphones no matter how low the volume is set.

      Most music has syncopation throughout its frequency range, so it’s constantly changing in pitch, rhythm and timbre. The beat of the music and volume can also change while listening. This evokes pleasure and can stir our emotions. This happens whether we listen to music loud or soft, although certain types of music does sound better played at a higher volume than others, and vice versa.

      Once the Cochlear in the inner ear becomes damaged by noise exposure, it is much more sensitive to sound. This is one of the reasons hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound) is often experienced with noise-induced tinnitus. The wearing of WNGs (white noise generators) as part of TRT treatment can often cure the condition. I have covered Hyperacusis and Habituation in a post further down in the forum.

      The organ of the Corti, which is attached to the Cochlear, has approximately 20,000 hair
      cells. These hair cells move to the vibration of sound and are just one of the components in the auditory system that enable us to hear. Someone that already has a sensitive auditory system due to noise-induced tinnitus and listens to music through headphones at a low volume, risks irritating the Cochlear further; this can make the tinnitus louder and more intrusive.

      In my opinion, it can be misleading when some health professionals tell tinnitus patients, listening to music through headphones is fine as long as long as the volume is kept low. These health professionals mean well and know a lot about the anatomy of the ear and therefore, it is not my intention to try and undermine their abilities or expertise. However, It must be said, that many of them have never experienced intrusive tinnitus. This leads me to say, one of my ENT consultant’s who is an Audiovestubular consultant, and someone that I have a lot of respect for, once told me: " You know more about tinnitus than me because I have never experienced it".

      I have spoken to people and corresponded with them by email and at Internet forums, complaining their tinnitus has become worse after listening to music through headphones even though the volume was kept low. My advice to anyone that has tinnitus that was caused by exposure to loud noise is not to listen to music through headphones, as the auditory system is more sensitive.

      White noise generators.
      Some may question the use white noise generators and in-ear types that emit white noise directly into the ear. White noise generators don’t usually irritate the auditory system due to the volume being kept low and its frequency range remains constant, so there is no syncopation within it unlike music.

      Although white noise generators can be bought privately to treat tinnitus I don’t advise anyone to do so, unless a Hearing Therapist/Audiologist has first tested their auditory system for suitability. A person must also be shown how to use these devices correctly, as improper use can make the tinnitus worse. Furthermore, they are normally used in conjunction with Tinnitus Retraining Therapy to get maximum benefit.

      Michael

      PS. I also don't advise listening to white noise, pink noise, brown, noise etc through headphones even at low volume. It is best to always be under the care of an ENT clinic /Hearing Therapist.
       
    9. Jomo

      Jomo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/4/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      going for a rim shot on the snare drum.
      @Michael Leigh

      Thanks for the info and i agree with you...i havent put anything to my ears since my incident...luckily i am seeing my ENT tomorrow for a follow up hearing exam so I will see if he may be able to help in any way as well.
       
    10. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Jomo Best of luck at ENT. If you keep away from loud sounds. When going to clubs etc wear noise reducing earplugs if the music is too loud. Keep away from headphones, I believe you will make a very good recovery. It will be tempting to go back to headphone use once your tinnitus improves (and it will) I strongly advise you don't use headphones again.
      Wishing all the best
      Michael
       
    11. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      The whole "head phones or not?" debate recently played out here. I won't clog up the thread by repeating myself.
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/i-got-my-tinnitus-today.17736/#post-205844

      Should you go the head phones route, might want to a small head set with ear pieces that sit outside the ear, not ear buds. They are considered safer and will make it easier for you to hear the instructor as well.
       
    12. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      And you can't turn the volume low on headphones? White noise on 30 dollar headphones that have 100 X the sound quality of the noise gen are not to used hey? What company do you work for? Why spam up TT? Are you here to keep people buying a 20 dollar piece of plastic for the insane ripoff price of 3k that spits out shit quality sound that they could actually get for free? You state over and over that the experts don't know anything but you recommend going to a expert to buy these glorified rip off headphones? Smells a little fishy to me. Don't use these headphones ever, they are DANGEROUS, but DO use the lower quality (noise generator) ones at astronomical prices, they will cure you. Give me a break.
       
    13. Steve H
      Creative

      Steve H Director Staff Benefactor Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      York, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Flu, Noise-induced, Jaw trauma
      Headphones will give you a much better quality sound, white noise generators are easy to use and discrete. It depends on your preference.

      The danger of headphones is that you can potentially listen to things too loudly without realising it. If you do as was written above by Michael and you make sure the noise is at a level where you can still hear your tinnitus then you are going to be okay volume wise.

      If you need to listen to things in class then there are a few options. I personally love sound quality so I use good quality open-backed headphones that let in sound from outside - but also leak sound. If you want something for class then they may be a little too much.

      White noise generators have inferior sound by design, just as ear-buds do to headphones. You need to move air to create sound and that is not easy to do in such a compact package. They are very handy as you can just pop them in and forget about them but the sound is not what you would think of as white noise This chart is from a GHI product, one of the best on the market:
      Screen Shot 2016-10-04 at 08.54.48.png
      The profile is very poor in comparison to a decent set of headphones that have a near flat response. That's the trade-off.

      There are compromise solutions, which are way cheaper than WNG's; things like the EarHero, which are based on an in-ear design that is non-occluding like a WNG, they fit into any phone or player. You will get a similar frequency response, I think they may be a little better. I think that AirDrives are discontinued now but they sit on top of your ear, a different approach to non-occluding earphones.

      There are also bone conduction headphones that can sit outside of your ears, I have some AfterShockz but the sound quality wasn't right for me.

      Of course the biggest compromise solution of all is to use the class as an exercise in distraction. As a long-termer I would say that is the best way sometimes. If you are picking up and having to absorb a lot of information you can find that your brain will tune out the tinnitus. I have loud tinnitus and it still happens to me sometimes.

      To touch on Michael's point above about music. The thing with music is that it depends a lot on the production of it. I saw something that got me to explore an artist called Sheila Chandra a few days ago. The production on some of the music is beautiful, total wow factor. She has an amazing voice but the balance between the voice and the instrumentation is beautiful on tracks like Shanti Shanti Shanti.

      Contrast that to pretty much anything in the charts. The producers here are concerned with a few things. They want their music to sound good on many devices and they want it so that when you hear their song it feels bigger than others you hear. They are talented at sound design and manipulation but often the oldest trick in the book is used - they ramp up the mid ranges. This gives perceived loudness but it also means that where our ears are more sensitive they are getting pounded by more sound, which is bad.

      I think I've written enough now :) I could go on a lot about sound. Hopefully this is helpful.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    14. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Awesome as always, @Steve H. Thanks for the info.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    15. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Steve H
      Hi Steve.
      Thank you for writing such an informative post and if I may say so, you do a great job on this forum. We haven’t corresponded before but it’s a pleasure to meet you even if it’s only on this platform.

      I hope that you don’t mind me saying. Whilst I agree with you that the quality of the white noise coming from a good pair of headphones will be better than a BTE (behind the ear) or in-ear type white noise generators. Using them to treat tinnitus and hyperacusis following a TRT programme, which can last 12 to 24 months, I don’t think they would be suitable.

      As you know, to treat tinnitus and hyperacusis following the TRT protocol, one has to wear white noise generators up to ten hours a day. They are put on in the morning, the white noise adjusted to slightly below the tinnitus and then left alone. Before retiring to bed at night, they are taken off and a sound machine is used by the bedside for sound enrichment until morning. However, if one were to choose to walk around with a pair of headphones with cables dangling around them for up to 10hrs a day I suppose its possible but I don’t think it’s ideal.

      If a person were to use white noise via headphones at home or in a classroom and in a stationary position I suppose this would suffice, but for TRT treatment I don’t think they are as good as BTE or in-ear white noise generators.

      Please keep up the splendid work
      All the best
      Michael
       
    16. Steve H
      Creative

      Steve H Director Staff Benefactor Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      York, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Flu, Noise-induced, Jaw trauma
      Thanks Michael. And you - we could have been near neighbours not so long back. I lived in Brighton for a few years, migrated up to Yorkshire in 2008. Started off near the Pavilion then went out to Preston Park.

      Totally agree with you, if someone is going to do TRT and wear the generators all the time then the headphones or even the discrete EarHero (which I believe is the same non-occluding design as a hearing aid) have that wire that is a massive pain. I don't think you could do it. It just isn't compatible with everyday life and it is also a constant reminder that you are wearing the device and listening to it.

      You also have the issue that if you are using a piece of tech that doesn't have a flat frequency response you should really have the sound shaped specifically for it. That could be done by ear if you have the right software but it won't be precise.

      I wish there was a better solution but the WNG's are the best there is for a TRT protocol until wireless tech truly comes of age and the battery life is better than current.

      For short term, being relatively still and distraction / coping I would always go with the higher quality but it is very much dependant on the situation.

      I personally crave balance so WNG's aren't too good for me, although I do know that I am in the minority here. I would say that for an audiophile they possibly won't cut it but for everyone else they are absolutely fine.
       
    17. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Steve H

      Hi Steve.
      Thanks for your reply and comments they are much appreciated. I was born and bred in London and moved to Brighton two years ago and like it here a lot. I live in Patcham, just 2.5 miles from the seafront and around 15mins by car. I have yet to take my flight on the British Airways i360 but hope to in the near future.

      You touched on something that got my attention. I am also an audiophile and have been since the age of sixteen, which was many moons ago. I always wanted a Linn Sondek LP12 but the price was never right…lol. However, I have a large CD collection now so never bothered with the Linn, but use a clearaudio turntable when listening to my LPs. As you know CDs will never sound as good as analogue but I had to move with the times.

      I have Pair of ProAc D28 speakers, connected to a Valve/Tube 300B Parallel single Ended amplifier, with Chord Signature speaker cables. The source is: Marantz SA11S3 SA CD player, connected to the Amp with Chord Indigo interconnect cables. I use chord shielded mains cables and Nordost Quantum QX4 mains conditioners. Equipment supports are: Atacama Evoque.

      Lastly, my listening room has been acoustically treated as I’m a discerning listener something I’m sure you will understand. Audiophiles are never happy with their HI-FI system, and always looking for something to change or to be tweaked.

      Musical tastes are: classical, opera and some jazz-fusion.

      Take care and wishing you all the best
      Michael
       
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