Do Noise-Cancelling Headphones Help?

Discussion in 'Support' started by rod77, Apr 21, 2016.

    1. rod77

      rod77 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure; possible hereditary, possible loud music
      I'm new to tinnitus; its just whammied me hard in the last month or so and I'm really struggling.

      I wake up in the middle of the night now and the ringing is so loud I cant get back to sleep. Often this has happened to me in the past, and I get up and read for awhile. However, that was before, when I could experience silence, and now I cannot.

      I was wondering if getting some noise cancelling headphones to play low volume soothing sounds or light classical music would help mask the noise while I'm reading.

      Could this help or would it make things worse? I'm a musician and I'm worried that I'll never be ever to use headphones again...

      any help would be appreciated. I have my first audiologist appt in a couple of weeks.
       
    2. Aussie Lea
      Dramaqueen

      Aussie Lea Member

      Location:
      Melbourne Yarra Valley
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/09/2013
      A better solution would be to buy open-back headphones for reading. Why do you want noise-cancelling?
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      rod77

      rod77 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure; possible hereditary, possible loud music
      I dont know, I'm so new to this I just guessed they would be good. Why do you suggest open-backed phones? Are they better for masking tinnitus? I'm not arguing at all, I'm trying to figure out what my options are. Do you have any suggestions for particular models of open-backed phones?
       
    4. seal

      seal Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      Noise cancelling headphones don't soften the noises you are experiencing with your tinnitus if that's what you mean. They only work for external steady noises like aircraft noise during a flight. Some people say that noise canceling headphones make their T worse. But I haven't experienced that. If you only want to play music at night pillow speakers would probably be more comfortable
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      rod77

      rod77 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure; possible hereditary, possible loud music
      I cant read in bed because the light will wake my wife up. So I go into the living room where I have a nice chair, a good lamp, and a stack of books. Hence the need for the headphones. I dont want to wake anybody else up.
       
    6. annabel16

      annabel16 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New England
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      The noise cancelling headphones are great for mowing the lawn or otherwise very noisy conditions, but not necessary for reading in the house. My guess is the reason someone might think they make things worse is because if you baby your ears too much it might intensify symptoms of hyperacusis. Normal headphones played low for short periods of time should be fine inside.

      I like to read in bed on my ipad, that way I don't have to worry about the light. Docs would say you're doing the better thing, though, that it's better sleep hygiene to get out of bed when you're tossing and turning.

      I'm sorry for what you're going through, I know how bewildering and unbelievable those first few months are. Best to you.
       
    7. squeek

      squeek Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise impact/maybe seaborn
      Yes, they can make you more comfortable in a noisy environment. And yes, they can also aggravate tinnitus if you wear them without any music playing in a quiet environment.

      If you are trying to figure whether or not to buy them then yes, you should buy a pair. They should be a part of your toolkit to tackle tinnitus. And don't be cheap. Buy the best you can afford.
       
    8. zombiechick
      Probing

      zombiechick Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication and hearing loss
      I had an audiologist tell me that noise canceling devices are going to kill people's hearing and cause a spike (see what I did there) in tinnitus and hearing loss.
       
    9. daniel1111
      Shitfaced

      daniel1111 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced, repeated exposure with loud headphones.
      The problem with them is that they make you more comfortable in loud environments and less aware of the noise levels around you. You can be in a dangerously loud situation, while also adding music on top of that, which is what can cause hearing loss and tinnitus.

      The best headphones to protect your ears are noise barrier instead of noise cancelling.
       
    10. Song interpreter
      Creative

      Song interpreter Member

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Too much noise
      To distract me from the ringing at night, I play a podcast, just loud enough that I can understand the words. I play it under my pillow. My husband doesn't seem to mind and I can drift off to sleep before the program is over. You could do the same with music. Set up a limited number of songs. For me, I'm usually asleep before 15 minutes. Before, it might be an hour. The music doesn't need to be loud. As I focus outside myself to understand the words, it distracts me from the ringing.
       
    11. NimQ
      Torn

      NimQ Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2011, got worse 09/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Did the audiologist tell you why this would be the case? I can't see any harm coming from using noise-cancelling headphones with no sound on, to get quieter ride in the bus or so.
       
    12. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @rod77
      I advise you not to listen to any type of audio through any kind of headphones even at low volume, and this includes noise cancelling headphones. Many people in this forum have habituated to their tinnitus and returned to listening to music through headphones at low volume. Most of them have regretted doing this as their tinnitus has become louder and remained permanent.

      The most common cause of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise/music. If you haven't been seen at ENT yet then I advise you to do so. You might find the post below helpful and also my article at the bottom of the page: Tinnitus, A Personal Veiw. Please click on the link

      All the best
      Michael

      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.

      As I have already mentioned 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 Cochlea in the inner ear is affected 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 will be covering Hyperacusis and Habituation in more detail later on.

      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 that I know more about tinnitus than she/he. This person explained, for the simple reason they had never experienced it.

      I have spoken to many people and corresponded with them by email and at Internet forums, complaining their tinnitus has become worse because 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. However the choice is entirely up to them.

      Michael
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-a-personal-view.18668/
       
    13. Yu.3

      Yu.3 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      maybe listen music too loud
      My tinnitus has become louder after use headphones at loud volume (for an error)..3 seconds of loud music.
      I hope that i have ONLY irritate the Cochlear hair cells..and i hope with time i could be better..probably now my Cochlea is much more sensitive.
      I have active noise cancelling headphones (bose quietcomfort,the best).
      I'm not sure that noise cancelling headphones are worse than normal headphones..because with my Bose i can set the volume very low and listen..
      With normal headphones if i set volume low,the esternal ambient sounds bother me and cover what i'm listening (music or a movie).
      I think that noise cancelling headphones are useful for reduce external sounds not for reduce tinnitus because tinnitus is an internal sound..
      Reducing external sounds is possible to set headphones volume very very low and i think that this aspect could be useful.
       

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