Masking Levels vs. Damage

Discussion in 'Support' started by Per, Jul 13, 2013.

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    1. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Hi,

      In addition to high pitched T I have Hyperacusis. This is the first thread I create here in the forum. I haven't managed to find any other thread or post on this exact topic so here we go:

      I'm a little hesitant to using masking sounds because for it to have any effect I need to raise the volume so it almost reaches my own high pitched T. It's pretty loud. I have downloaded different pink, white and brown noises in addition to effect sounds like shower, rainfall, paper ripping etc. After a while playing white noise signals I almost feel that I "adopt" more ringing sensations. I'm using my portable mp3 player with my trusted Koss PortaPro headphones, but each time I put on my headphones I get this "this could very well be what got me here in the first place" feeling, alltough it has never been proved. I have no severe hearing damage on last test done a week ago. I'm sceptical to play more loud sounds trough my headphones cause when I got T I put my mp3 player and headphones on the shelf. I hope you catch my dilemma.

      Since I was struck by constant T I have avoided music as well, for the very same reasons. I read stories on people with T going to concerts and enjoying music even more than before because it helps them hide the T. I'm also afraid of falling to sleep with a very repetitive signal in my ear because I feel that's not very good for my inner ear etc. Actually falling to sleep with the mp3 player and headphones with music is the cause of T for some.

      So, who should I consult to get scientific answers to this? Can I measure my max db tolerance level with an audiologist? Should masking sounds always be very low? Half of my own T level? I feel that I need the masking level to be almost as high in volume as my own T to have any effect at all. I've read that it should just under the sound level of my own T but not sure. Anyone that has a comment on the music on normal level versus no music at all dilemma as well?

      Thanks.
       
    2. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      I too had hyperacusis early on. It was probably worse than the T for me because it intensified all sounds in my head including the T. It was not until the hyperacusis began to subside (about 6-8 months) that my T started to improve. I tried masking but with hyperacusis, it is very hard to mask and it did not help me. I did turn to audio books. I got a subscription from audible.com, download books and started to listen to them. They helped distract me enough. This is just my experience though. I know others have had success masking with music. I think I probably could have to if it were not for the hyperacusis.

      Yes, masking is supposed to not be louder than your T. You should be able to hear your T and the music.

      As far as measuring your loudness, you can have tinnitus matching done. Markku had a post here that describes what it is https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-pitch-and-loudness-matching.242/
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Hi erik,

      Hi eric,

      Thanks for the links. It's good to know that the hyperacusis can end, I've actually read that it can get better rather quickly but some say its good to actually protect the ears from environmental sounds because that gives the inner ear some time to recover from whatever it suffers from, the ENT surgeon that assessed me said that I should not use ear plugs to cope with the hyperacusis because it didn't do my ears any good, he meant I was better off exposing myself to the environmental sounds so that my brain would learn to accept them easier. I really don't know, some say they recovered by following the protect strategy.

      When it comes down to masking I guess I will need to pursuit some more information about my own T level, I can't do that where I live now but will start investigation when I move back to my home country. I still wonder if it could hurt my inner ear to listen to normal leveled music now, and/or if a too loud masking sound could do the same. As a matter of fact I'm clueless to how external sound waves and ALL types of input will affect me now that I got a loud T. It's not that I feel the urge to go to concerts or anything but I'm worried to expose myself to all sounds at the moment. If sound waves is the very creator of my T I would hate to feed the problem if you catch my drift. Since I got this condition recently I don't have too many personal references or experiences to weigh my theories towards.
       
    4. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      Yes, as much as you want to, I wouldn't recommend ear plugs for normal, everyday sounds. This was especially hard for me because my ears really were bothered by almost every normal sound: tv was too loud (when it wasn't) dishes in kitchen, dogs barking, kids playing, cars driving buy, etc. I did wear earplugs for extra loud noise places when I wasn't too scared to visit them.

      It does take time, but your inner ear/brain will adapt to your changes and you should return to normal. I have always been a bit sensitive to sounds but nothing like it was with Hyperacusis. I am glad to be back to normal hearing.
       

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