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

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

    1. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      It may not be the pink noise that is causing the tinnitus to increase @David S because a similar thing happens to me. Take your time by keeping the pink noise low and carry on using the sound generators. Tinnitus will fluctuate especially when oversensitivity to sound or hyperacusis is present. Take things slowly and don't give up.

      Michael
       
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    2. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      I sleep with raised pillows because of GERD and my neck gets bent out of shape lol.
       
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    3. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      @David S, you should go forward slowly with the pink noise. Gradually building tolerance.

      Small steps.
       
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    4. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      I understand that now the hard way. Sort of felt in the middle of the second day that I overstimulated myself with pink noise. I should have stopped.

      I am so full of anxiety now even though I am on SSRI and Benzo. Just a mess now.
       
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    5. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Thanks for your support Michael! It is just so hard with these setbacks. I am just so stressed out.

      It is just a nightmare. 2 months ago I was on the right path forward without any meds. Then just a stupid factory noise sent me back to full panic mode.
       
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    6. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      I know the feeling. It will get better, with time. Try to shift your focus to something that can draw your attention away from it. For a little while.

      The starting point of this is tricky and difficult, and it will take some time for you to adjust in regards to the sound therapy. Might be enough with 30 minutes a day at this point, on a just audible level.
       
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    7. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I understand how you feel David. This is the reason I advise people to consider talking things over with their doctor who may advise medication to manage stress. Stress can make tinnitus worse and tinnitus make stress worse, it can become a vicious cycle, because tinnitus is intrinsically linked to our mental and emotional wellbeing and cannot be separated from it.

      I want to clarify, this does not mean one should reach for tablets each time they get a setback. However, when recovering as you are and on a treatment programme wearing sound generators, tinnitus will fluctuate in intensity. This doesn't necessarily mean the generators are causing this, it's just the nature of tinnitus. Medication acts as a safety net so one doesn't become too down should a setback arise. An alternative to prescription medication is herbal, something like St John's Wort or Kalms which are available over the counter.

      Whilst it may be admirable not to take any medication, remember that tinnitus can be quite resilient and will put up a fight. Therefore, I believe forewarned is forearmed so one can prepare themselves.

      Even a seasoned veteran such as myself with a severe form of tinnitus that fluctuates immensely still has difficulty at times. I ride it out but occasionally I need to take Clonazempam, fortunately just for one or two days to calm things down.

      Take care,
      Michael
       
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    8. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Not sure if you have mentioned this or not (you probably have) but why is it you still have severe days after doing years of sound therapy?
       
    9. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I have a very severe form of tinnitus according to my ENT consultant and hearing therapist. My tinnitus changed to variable after my second noise trauma in 2008.

      Please read my posts: My Experience with Tinnitus, Can I Habituate to Variable Tinnitus? Please note people that are affected with this type of tinnitus are mostly those with noise induced tinnitus who have suffered a second noise trauma or have been using headphones after habituation and then their tinnitus increased. This increase can make the tinnitus change to variable which is quite different from tinnitus that occasionally fluctuates. More is explained in the posts so please read them.

      Whether a person has TRT or CBT with sound therapy or sound therapy by itself, these are treatments to help a person manage their tinnitus and in the process habituation will usually occur. I have explained this in my threads: How to Habituate to Tinnitus and The Habituation Process.

      Tinnitus treatments are not cures. Each person will respond to them differently but ultimately their aim is to help a person manage the condition better. This does not mean they won't still be affected by the condition. My hyperacusis has been cured for over 20 years. When I had my second noise trauma in 2008, the tinnitus increased and changed to variable, however the hyperacusis did not return.

      Hope this answers your question,
      Michael
       
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    10. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Thanks Michael. So the tinnitus fluctuating is not due to hyperacusis, it’s just the nature of your tinnitus. That’s what I was wondering. Makes sense.
       
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    11. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Fluctuating tinnitus and tinnitus fluctuating or spiking because of hyperacusis are two different things @Wrfortiscue. It is quite easy to tell the difference.

      Most people that have oversensitivity to sound or hyperacusis whether it's with pain or not have noise induced tinnitus. The tinnitus will usually spike due to the auditory system's oversensitivity to sound or hyperacusis. This spike can happen quite randomly and will continue to happen if the oversensitivity/hyperacusis doesn't improve by itself or treatment is not sought.

      One can try self-help which I refer to in my post: Hyperacusis, As I See It. If that doesn't work then it's advisable to try and see an audiologist that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis management. One of the best ways to treat this oversensitivity to sound (hyperacusis) is with white noise generators under the guidance of an audiologist. Counselling may be necessary especially if a person has had this oversensitivity to sound for a year or more, due to the negative impact this condition can have on a person's mental and emotional wellbeing.

      Tinnitus and hyperacusis are complex. Please read my post: The Complexities of Tinnitus and Hyperacusis.

      All the best,
      Michael

      The Complexities of Tinnitus and Hyperacusis | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
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    12. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      @Michael Leigh, thanks again for the kind advice.

      How would you describe your severe tinnitus going back to 2008? How would you describe it today?

      And also forgive me for this question if I misunderstood anything, but you said you cured your hyperacusis, but in another post recently you said that your typewriter caused some discomfort? Are those different things?
       
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    13. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Yeah I got you. Been seeing a tinnitus therapist, I was hesitant on sound therapy as I’m sensitive but it seems I fluctuate back and forth with reactive or non reactive days/periods and it’s frustrating.
       
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    14. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      You have asked a good question David. The severity of my tinnitus now compared to when it changed in 2008 (to variable) and the 4 years it took to habituate has significantly reduced. I hope I never return to those dark dismal days.

      Most of the time I can easily cope with its large fluctuations in intensity which range from: complete silence, mild, moderate and severe. The severe period usually lasts for one or two days and then it will reduce to either moderate, mild or complete silence, there is no set pattern to the way it behaves. Sometimes the severe period will last longer than two days and I can cope with it for a while without the need to take Clonazepam - then it will reduce as mentioned above.

      It can still surprise me as it did ten days ago. It gradually ramped up from silent, moderate to severe within a day. I hadn't been listening to my HI-FI or using my typewriters. After enduring two days of it I took two 0.5 mg Clonazepam tablets because the noise was so intense, much more than usual and was quite a wakeup call. Fortunately by morning the tinnitus reduced to a more comfortable moderate level that I can easily cope with. However, by midday it had increased to very severe reminiscent of the dark days I wrote about in my post: My Experience with Tinnitus.

      I began feeling concerned and hadn't felt this way about my tinnitus in a very long time. I decided to pull out all the stops and return to basics, as I didn't want to take more Clonazepam. I went to Holland & Barrett and bought a bottle of high strength Magnesium citrate tablets. Magnesium can help calm the nerves in the auditory system and throughout the body. An ENT doctor told me many years ago that he advises all his tinnitus patients to take Magnesium and Ginkgo biloba. I hadn't taken Magnesium tablets regularly in many years.

      In addition to this I applied some Lavender oil around my ears and neck and hoped for the best. There is information on Lavender oil for tinnitus online for anyone that's interested.

      Fortunately the tinnitus has calmed down and for the past two days it has been silent to mild.
      I don't experience any hyperacusis and my ears are not sensitive to most sounds.

      However, when I first started using the Olympia 33 typewriter my ears felt some discomfort this is quite true but experienced no pain. Due to being in such close proximity to the typewriter and the high pitch sound that's emitted as the typebars strike the platen, was just too much for my ears to cope with. I didn't want to push it so decided to use my noise reducing earplugs.

      My plan was to return to using my white noise generators for up to 10 hours a day. After 6 months I was able to use my typewriter without experiencing any discomfort. If I am going to be using it for long periods, rather than tempt fate I use my noise reducing earplugs.

      Hope this helps.

      Take care,
      Michael
       
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    15. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Sounds like a wild ride you have gone through. Thanks for sharing. It also shows all of us have to be careful for the rest of our lives.
       
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    16. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      That is exactly right. Tinnitus is not something to take lightly. Get to know your limitations as it can be ruthless and very unforgiving when severe. I am particularly referring to noise induced tinnitus.

      Michael
       
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    17. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      @Michael Leigh, did you have mild or tinnitus free days back in 2008 or was that something that improved over the years with the treatment?
       
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    18. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I rarely had mild free days from 2008 to 2012 @David S. There were periods when the tinnitus was moderate but never mild and they were sporadic that would last no more than a day, then it was back to variable intrusive noise. I was living my life by going through the motions but not enjoying it.

      Many days I spent in bed not having the will to carry on. I was an avid reader and by 2010 hadn't read a book in two years. I hadn't been able to listen to my HI-FI either as I couldn't enjoy music with the cacophony of noise in my head. It was then my ENT consultant prescribed Clonazepam and all I can say it was a life saver. She explained about its addictive nature and not to take too often. Fortunately I haven't had any problems with it and only take it occasionally now.

      Michael
       
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    19. DaveFromChicago

      DaveFromChicago Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headcold/Flu
      WARNING:
      Michael Leigh reported that he had taken "high strength Magnesium citrate tablets."

      I tried those and believe me, you had better be no more than 10 feet from a toilet; it will clean you out so fast with no warning that you will not be able to go anywhere.

      My wife (who was a Surgical Tech for 32 years) said that it is given to hospital patients to completely clean out their intestines before surgery. You can Google this for confirmation.

      What he reported regarding the fantastic vicissitudes and charging levels of his tinnitus reminds me of Veterans who were prisoners of war who said that no one's frame of mind can really remain unaffected by torture.

      I know how much I have irremediably lost from this psychological slow motion smash-up. It is equivalent to even the most overwhelming traumas in creating crippling PTSD symptoms.
       
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    20. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Here’s to us getting better :beeranimation:
       
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    21. DougT

      DougT Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxic
      I just read an article that said white noise is bad for tinnitus and that it is full range of sound. It changes your neuroplasticity over time so your tinnitus becomes louder. I also wonder if the white noise generator is so high that it could be triggering you tinnitus.
       
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    22. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      It is good to have a positive attitude @Wrfortiscue, a positive mindset will help you achieve your goals with tinnitus.

      Well done,
      Michael
       
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    23. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Whilst there is some useful information online about tinnitus, unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation that can instil negative thinking and make you feel worse, so it's something to keep in mind.

      White noise has been used to treat tinnitus and hyperacusis for many years but it must be administered correctly, otherwise it could make these conditions worse. Sound generators are designed to deliver white noise into the ear safely and should be used under the guidance of an audiologist or hearing therapist when treating tinnitus and hyperacusis.

      White noise generators should be slowly introduced to the auditory system to prevent irritating the tinnitus and hyperacusis if it is present. If a person has hyperacusis, one of the best ways to treat it is using white noise generators but I hasten to add, this should be done under the care of an audiologist or hearing therapist as counselling may also be necessary.

      Headphones, earbuds, AirPods, headsets and bone conduction headphones are designed differently from white noise generators. If a person plays white noise through them to treat tinnitus and hyperacusis, they risk making these conditions worse. The sound is crude and often abrasive compared to the smooth regulated sound of white noise generators which emit white noise through a tiny aperture at the end of a narrow plastic tube. The tube goes over the back the ear and into the entrance of the ear canal.

      Headphones, earbuds, AirPods etc use a speaker/diaphragm. This is a much larger device that generates sound waves and is not the same thing as white noise generators. I have corresponded with many people that have used these devices to play white noise into the ear for treating tinnitus and hyperacusis, the majority of them have reported their tinnitus or hyperacusis increasing.

      This may not happen to everyone but my advice is to use proper white noise generators under the guidance of an audiologist/hearing therapist for treating tinnitus and hyperacusis. I have been using white noise generators for many years and haven't had an adverse reaction to them.

      Michael
       
    24. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      @Michael Leigh and @MindOverMatter, what to believe?

      This article says that white noise improves hearing:

      Good noise, bad noise: White noise improves hearing

      And this article says it make tinnitus worse.

      Unintended Consequences of White Noise Therapy for Tinnitus—Otolaryngology's Cobra Effect

      However, they assumed white noise in the level of 60-70 dB above the hearing threshold. That is quite a lot. I only use it around 7-15 dB above my hearing threshold so it must be very safe.

      I still have problems to get adjusted to the pink noise. I must be more disciplined to use at least for 30 minutes a day. Realistically I know this is my only way forward.

      It is also hard to distinguish between what’s reactive tinnitus and what might be some distortions.

      I had a 9-hour car ride some days ago. My tinnitus got worse despite that I used double hearing protection. What is that an indication of? Could it be that my auditory system is in a high alert mode from my sound trauma? Should I just let my nervous system to rest for a couple of more months?

      On the other hand, I had some super quiet days noise exposure wise and my tinnitus was still bad the next day.

      Thanks for helping out.
       
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    25. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      That is s really tricky one, and a good question @David S.

      I don't have any certain answers, and I cannot relate to white noise as I never felt too comfortable with it.

      To me, the main aspect of desensitization, is to gradually involve yourself in sounds again. On a low, but audible level. But I will take time to adjust, and it is a slow process. 15 minutes might be enough for you for now.

      But it is also important to try and find some kind of ambient noise that give you at least some positive vibes. This part is hard for the first 6 months + it was for me at least as pretty much any sounds felt aggravating at one point.

      Sometimes you do have to take one step back, and rest your ears.

      Regarding your long car ride, I would say your auditory nervous system is in high alert mode. When in this state, to my own experience, you will still experience spikes after such long rides. Protection or not. Having the guard up, being stressed out, is a big strain for you in such situations at this point. I would avoid those long rides if I could - for now.
       
    26. nogg
      Angry

      nogg Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1984
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Computer noise
      Yeah. Definitely go slower. I've recently been using sound generators. Initially I set the volume at a level I could tolerate (per directions from a TRT audiologist) and used them for only about 10 minutes a day (again per instructions). It was fine in the moment, but after 4 days my tinnitus was so bad that I had to stop for several days. This happened 4 times in a row. The input from the audiologist was to forge ahead, and noted that the sound level was not high enough to cause problems. That was SO wrong, and when I read Jastreboff's book I found that he advised against using levels that caused increased tinnitus. After a few months, I started again (without the audiologist), but this time with the volume set at a level that could just barely be perceived. I'm using them all day and doing fine with that.
       
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    27. DaveFromChicago

      DaveFromChicago Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headcold/Flu
      Yes, Wrfortiscue, here's to us getting better.

      But, just remember that Michael Leigh's advice about Magnesium Citrate could lead to the most unfortunate, explosive voiding of your bowels in the most inopportune of situations (which frankly is not much different from all sorts of other advice from him).
       
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    28. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Dave, why do you have to do this? There is enough of suffering here already. Can’t we just please try to stick together. Hugs to you all!
       
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    29. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Funny, as soon as I said that, I got worse lol. Sharp shooting ear pain that’s random, especially lying down, and minor burning in ear canal.

      I need to research my next steps, we all have to find a way to push through. Seems TRT may not be good for noxacusis.
       
    30. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      You don't need to research anything more about tinnitus or hyperacusis @Wrfortiscue, because I believe you have enough knowledge about these conditions. Try to direct your focus to other things that you enjoy doing or start a new interest.

      Gradually your attention will be taken away from tinnitus and hyperacusis to more positive things in your life, and tinnitus will no longer be so much of a concern.

      Michael
       
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