How to Use Pink/White Noise for Treating Reactive Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by alex1975, Sep 24, 2019.

    1. alex1975

      alex1975 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Las Vegas
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound induced
      Hello again, I'm trying to get my hyperacusis (so called reactive tinnitus) under control and tinnitus as well. It has gotten worse after a concert I went to over a week ago now. My tinnitus is a screeching 8500 Hz type buzz that goes up if the TV or fan come on (even if they're not loud) but if I play certain sounds that have a high frequency as well, it helps drown it out. I found a particular track on YouTube that sounds like high pitched crickets that is soothing.

      My question is, should it be played at a volume a bit over my tinnitus, or a step under? Also is it OK to sleep with it on? I've read that drowning it out might help the brain move the tinnitus to the background and get better once again...
       
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      HI @alex1975

      Tinnitus can be complex to treat when it is intrusive and if hyperacusis is present more so. These are the facts and it's something that you have to realize. To treat these conditions is not as simple ase people think and they may need to be referred, to a Hearing Therapist or Audiologist that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis management. Using sound therapy alone is a delicate operation and must to done correctly and slowly, as the tinnitus and hyperacusis can be made worse. Furthermore, some people do not realize that "tinnitus counselling" in many instances is required when treating tinnitus and hyperacusis in order to gain significant improvement. I am not trying to discourage you from using self help, on the contrary, it's something I feel a person should try but at the same time one has know the facts that tinnitus and hyperacusis are not easy conditions.

      When using sound enrichment at night, whether white noise or nature sounds, it's important to keep the volume slightly below the tinnitus. You must not try and mask or cover up the tinnitus so that it can't be heard. I have written information on using sound enrichment in many of my articles on tinnitus and on TRT treatment which you will find in the links below. Read my post: Hyperacusis, As I see it. This explains how to treat hyperacusis using self help. I advise you not to attempt playing white or pink noise through headphones into your ears, as you risk making the tinnitus and hyperacusis worse. There are people that will tell you to do this I strongly advise you not to. Someone I used to counsel with tinnitus used headphones and played low music through them on the advice of her Audiologist, to treat tinnitus and hyperacusis. This woman was very emotional over the phone because her tinnitus and hyperacusis had increased. She stopped listening to low level music through headphones and began making improvement.

      Sound therapy played into the ears to treat tinnitus and hyperacusis has to be done correctly using white noise generators. These are specialist devices and should be used under the care of a Hearing Therapist or Audiologist.

      Michael

      PS: Please take your time and read through my articles below which explains the use of sound therapy to treat tinnitus and hyperacusis, and the importance of "tinnitus counselling" which may be needed in order to achieve good results treating these conditions.

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/can-tinnitus-counselling-help.22366/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-and-mental-health.21978/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/trt-as-i-see-it.19555/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/what-is-trt-and-when-should-it-be-started.19024/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/what-happens-in-trt-sessions.18195/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/should-i-mask-my-tinnitus.17964/
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      alex1975

      alex1975 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Las Vegas
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound induced
      Thanks Micheal, I really appreciate it. I had no clue about the complications that exist with hyperacusis & tinnitus. I have an appointment with an audiologist Wednesday and hope to get some more clarification. Meanwhile I'll go through your articles to get some info. Cheers!
       
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    4. BuzzyBee
      Bookworm

      BuzzyBee Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not Sure
      @alex1975 What Michael says is on track with what my audiologist says and the sound therapy is similar. The one thing my audiologist said was that rather than sound generators you can use bone conduction headphones which sit over your ears and rest on your cheekbones. They're easy to find on Amazon. Also, rather than pink noise she recommends a neutral sound (crickets, waves, birds) but it has to be neutral and something your brain can tune out -- no talk radio, etc. The sound is supposed to be played just under the volume of your tinnitus -- not masking it. For some reason my doc recommended against pink and white noise for me, but that doesn't apply to everyone. Go with what your specialist says, but keep in mind that you may be able to use bone conduction headphones rather than sound generators.
       
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    5. IntotheBlue03

      IntotheBlue03 Member

      Location:
      Philadelphia PA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Cervical/TBD
      @BuzzyBee, bingo love, my bone conduction headphones still haven’t really found a sound therapy that doesn’t severely spike my reactive tinnitus though.
       
    6. BuzzyBee
      Bookworm

      BuzzyBee Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not Sure
      For me, it depends on the type of tinnitus. If it's tonal tinnitus I can easily mask it or listen to music or do all the things the books tell you to do. Those techniques work very well for run-of-the-mill tinnitus. However, at the moment I'm having my usual later afternoon monster tinnitus that sounds like a bathtub in my ear. The only thing that helps is being in QUIET and resting my ears or distracting myself (again, in quiet) until the tinnitus goes down on its own. Sound therapy just makes this loud, hissing, running water sound much worse.

      Sometimes rubbing along the mastoid bone helps a little, but not always.
       
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    7. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      This takes time. It took me at least 6 months to find something I was comfortable with in regards to sound.

      Nowadays I prefer soft pink noise for sound therapy.

      Early days I didn't really like anything, and felt reactive to pretty much any sound. But some of this may be related phonophobia and possibly misophonia - in other words fear of sound. This is quite common with this condition...

      For me it took time for the brain to readjust and rewire so that I managed to slowly find comfort in sound again. Positive sound enrichment.

      Yes, I did feel a lot of reactivity with sound therapy in the beginning, but it didn't make it permanently worse. I had to somehow fight through it. And find those sounds the was less aggravating.
       
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    8. IntotheBlue03

      IntotheBlue03 Member

      Location:
      Philadelphia PA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Cervical/TBD
      @BuzzyBee, sorry to hear you have the hissing monster as well. That’s what my tinnitus is at 14-15 kHz, electrical/hissing/CRT TV sound that is reactive to every single sound and oscillates/vibrates in the center of my head. Not being able to mask this in any way has been maddening. However, I hope that means neuroplasticity wise that I’ve made some progress since I’ve had to listen to it this entire time. Neuromodulation tracks were very briefly helpful at the beginning.
       
    9. IntotheBlue03

      IntotheBlue03 Member

      Location:
      Philadelphia PA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Cervical/TBD
      EXACTLY @MindOverMatter, it’s so hard to find sound therapy that isn’t aggravating like colored noise. Happy to hear you eventually were able to warm up to pink noise. Curious what sound therapy did you find at 6 months in that worked?

      Since I’m listening to my tinnitus 100% of the time, I hope I can find some low level background noise as I know this helps with habituation in the long run.

      Even though I’m still in this state of revolving panic, I feel the tinnitus in volume is lower than it was at the start and I’m sure that has a lot to do with my lessened reaction at this point. I make every commitment I can to fall asleep (from sheer exhaustion) to my tinnitus which was not a reality a week or 2 ago but currently is (knock on wood).
       
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    10. BuzzyBee
      Bookworm

      BuzzyBee Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not Sure
      This is so true! It took me about 2 years to accept sound as therapy. Even though some sounds does make the tinnitus worse, there are some sounds that make me feel less terrible about it (if that makes sense).

      Sometimes you have to fight sound with sound.
       
    11. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      @MindOverMatter, I suffer from severe reactive tinnitus.

      Your statement above is my exact feeling. I am using pink noise now but it still seems to aggravate my tinnitus. I believe I have no other option than push through this.

      Just a couple of questions?
      1. Did you start out very at a very low volume? Just above threshold?
      2. Did you use the pink noise all day long or just for some hours?
      3. How long did it take until you could increase the volume?
      4. Did your tinnitus improve once the reactive tinnitus got better?
      5. Are you still using pink noise?
      6. Did you do anything else besides pink noise to improve?
      Thanks and have a good weekend.
       
    12. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      Yes, very low. I use pink noise through my hearing aid.
      I started of very slowly, maybe 20 minutes in the beginning, to build tolerance over time. Building up over several months to up to 6 hours.
      I can't recall this, I didn't keep a journal. Step by step, and sometimes a step back. I believe you have to find out what works out best for you. But volume wise I never had it above level of my own tinnitus, but audible.
      Tinnitus has not improved, isolated, but my reaction to it. To me, reactivity is a subset of hyperacusis. Less reactivity, less sound sensitivity.
      Yes. Still using it after more than 2 years onset of hyperacusis. Averaging usually 4 hours a day.
      Surrounding myself with natural sounds is the best I do. A walk in a forest for instance. I usually take a walk or an easy jog for 30-60 minutes each day if I can/have time. Studies has also shown that being in nature lower your stress levels a lot when you do it regularly. Stress management is imo the most important thing in order to get better with this condition. I often combine my walks with photography - something that shift focus to a positive aspect.
       
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    13. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      @MindOverMatter, thanks for kind the answers!

      I did white noise for some hours yesterday and my tinnitus spiked but today it seems to be back to normal. I realized that my hearing aid also has got pink noise as an alternative. I will use that instead for a shorter time and we will se how that goes. I am very motivated to get this going because I do not see any other alternatives.

      How much did you improve over time? Can you travel by car or to the grocery shop without protection?
       
    14. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      @David S, white noise has always been a "no go" for me. I prefer the softer pink noise.

      I couldn't not look every week or month for progression, rather every 3 months as setbacks do occur along the road.

      I wear musician's earplugs in car only if I have a long drive. I don't wear earplugs at shops, nor in restaurants (unless they play loud or annoying music).

      Overall it's a big change to the better compared to 28 months back when I could not tolerate my own kid's voice, or others' for that matter. Time is a healer.

      But that being said, there is still the occasional bad day with this condition... and sometimes a week or so. But I know by now this is temporary as I've had this many many times. I worry less about this part, which makes it easier to manage in everyday life.

      It's a draining condition at times, we can't deny that. But life can still be good.
       
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    15. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      I think that’s all we can do, do our best and move forward.
       
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    16. Eleanor89
      Approved

      Eleanor89 Member

      Location:
      Barrow in Furness
      Tinnitus Since:
      1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hello @David S, I also use in-ear sound generators and I too have built up my usage of them slowly over months.

      I find them extremely soothing. The volume of mine is barely audible.

      And I immerse myself in natural sound etc.
       
    17. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Could not agree more but it is a very bumpy road for me now. I really need to get those sound generators in place but it is so hard to find the balance with reactive tinnitus. My ears feel so sore every second day. Can´t really get my emotions under control for the moment and that is so essential. Got a beautiful family with my wife and 3 almost grown up kids. I feel so much that I am letting them down.

      Mornings are the worst. I just struggle to get out of bed. Afternoons and evenings can be reasonably good. Bedtime is the best. I take my insomnia pills and know that I can sleep and get away from this pain for 6-7 hours.

      Had setbacks before but this is almost as hard as when I got tinnitus the fist time.

      Thank you again for your kind help.
       
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    18. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Thanks @Eleanor89 for your kind help. I will keep trying. I know sound therapy is the only way out of this nightmare.
       
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    19. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      I understand. I just have to get my limbic brain to chill off. It happened before but every time I messed it up again. I just have to go through the process again.
       
    20. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      I feel you 100 % @David S
      I have family/kids myself, and know the feeling. Try not to be too hard on yourself. You are not letting anyone down. Remember, you didn't ask for this - none of us did.

      Sometimes we have to focus on ourselves, and turn things down/say no. Being open around this "condition" to the ones around you/closest to you makes it a bit easier. Even though they never will fully understand what you are going through.

      It can be rough, depressing and saddening, but you will get through this with patience and belief - and with the love of your family. All the best to you.
       
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    21. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      @MindOverMatter, thanks for your amazing support when needed the most. It makes all the difference and put me into tears. I just had so much grief that I had to get out.

      Dr. Nagler who once supported us here used to say “to those who hear what I hear.”

      No one else but those with tinnitus will really understand what we are going through.
       
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    22. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      No worries! We are all in this together @David S.
       
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    23. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Short update:

      After finding the pink noise setting on my sound generators, I can actually tolerate them for the full day without my tinnitus reacting too much. I can sort of hear my tinnitus like high pitched electric pulses through the pink noise. I would assume I set them around 6-8 dB above my hearing threshold. I could also do shorter trips in my car with them inserted without any other hearing protection. Hope this is a small step in the right direction.

      I plan to use the sound generators for all waking hours. For many years if I have to. I come to the conclusion that sound enrichment is the best and safest option out there to treat severe reactive tinnitus. I still do not use any sound enrichment during nights. Partly because it seems to spike my tinnitus more and I have to negotiate with my wife.

      Anyone has any good natural sounds to recommend?

      My tinnitus comes in high pitched pulses, like intense sparks/shortcuts. Not pulse related at all. It's also reactive to some external noise, such as vacuums, fans, frying pans etc.

      Has anyone seen a correlation between this type of tinnitus and inflamed muscles in the jaw?
       
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    24. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Glad you’re able to tolerate sounds. I have been doing research and I too believe sound enrichment is the way to go for hyperacusis and reactivity unless you have pain or low tolerance. Maybe mixed hearing protection and slow sound introduction.

      I have similar tinnitus to you and mine is noise/vaccine induced, for what it’s worth...
       
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    25. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      I always hope that my tinnitus is caused by TMJ, inflammation. Realistically I know it is some kind of nerve damage in the cochlea. If these misfiring nerve cells just could die off...
       
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    26. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Have you gotten your jaw checked? It could be that.
       
    27. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      Sounds like a good plan to try out @David S.

      There could certainly be a connection with inflamed muscles, such as TMJ/TMD issues, in regards to hyperacusis and reactivity.

      I've had jaw issues for many years, and my reactivity seems better when muscles, such as the masseters, are more relaxed.
       
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    28. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      I think the neck and jaw affect tinnitus for most. If I sleep wrong on my neck, I’ll wake up middle of the night with the loudest tinnitus. Then I lie flat and 30 minutes later it dissipates.
       
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    29. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Is that when you sleep on the side with the head tilted forward? Like a forward head posture?
       
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    30. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Sorry to say that, I had a setback this morning. Tinnitus screaming loud. Guess full days with pink noise are still too optimistic for me. Need to go slower but it is all so random.
       
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