Masking Question...

Discussion in 'Support' started by stophiss, Oct 9, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. stophiss

      stophiss Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      too full a life
      Masking gets discussed here a fair amount and a question please to those that know a lot about it and perhaps make a practice to mask their tinnitus for two possible reasons:
      a. They don't like hearing their tinnitus
      b. An external sound source that covers mind generated tinnitus has been proven to actually improve (lower) tinnitus volume with time.

      So...if one introduces a masking noise...for example, my tinnitus sounds like a running shower and I just got out of the shower which masked my tinnitus and made me forget about it when I was in there..

      Does distraction of the mind toward an actual sound (percussion of air) in the environment statistically lower tinnitus which is mind generated based upon absence of air percussion...once the outside masking sound is removed?

      Thanks
       
    2. gotyoubynuts

      gotyoubynuts Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      Are you asking if tinnitus masking permanently makes tinnitus less loud after masking is discontinued?
      Answer is no... it can make it less loud for a period of time but not permanently.

      The term you are lookin for is residual inhibition
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    3. stophiss

      stophiss Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      too full a life
      Thanks gotyoubynuts...
      So retraining the mind to true outside stimulus versus a mind generated internal sound aka tinnitus which is a close replicate in sound has no affect on improving tinnitus unmasked? Begs the question as to why people mask I suppose?...presuming masking with an outside source overlays almost the same sound as mind generated tinnitus. Perhaps you could elaborate.

      Also can you elaborate on residual inhibition versus say habituation...that is since masking doesn't lower tinnitus level when unmasked later. What is the difference between residual inhibition versus habituation...if tinnitus truly doesn't abate?

      Thanks
       
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @stophiss
      Tinnitus is experienced differently by each person, so it can be difficult to give a definite answer to each of your questions. I will try to give my account of the use of masking tinnitus and hope this is of some help.

      Tinnitus is a complex condition and if hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound) is present it is even more. Many newbies have difficulty coping with tinnitus and understandably, getting rid of this constant intruder, that has suddenly invaded their life becomes paramount on their mind. In an attempt to do this, they will usually try every means possible to distract themselves from the tinnitus which will include masking it completely with another sound so that it can’t be heard.

      However, tinnitus is quite resilient, any attempts to mask it completely are usually unsuccessful. As soon as the masking sound is removed or stopped temporarily, the brain will immediately focus back on it and often, it appears to be louder and more intrusive. This causes stress especially for someone new to tinnitus. For anyone that doesn’t know, the more stressed we are the tinnitus becomes more intrusive, and the louder the tinnitus is the more stressed we are. It can become a vicious circle.

      Anyone that is seasoned to tinnitus and has habituated, knows that trying to mask it completely so that it can’t be heard is not achievable. A much better way and preferred method that Hearing Therapists advise tinnitus patients, is to use sound enrichment. One can use music or nature sounds from a sound machine and set the volume slightly below the tinnitus. By doing this, the brain over time will learn to no longer see the tinnitus as a threat and gradually push the noise further into the background giving it less importance, which is called habituation.

      In-ear or BTE (behind the ear) white noise generators can also be used as part of TRT. They do a similar thing. By setting the volume slightly below the tinnitus, over time the brain habituates to the white noise and gradually pushes the tinnitus further into the background.

      Michael
      PS: in my opinion, it is not a good idea to use headphones even at low volume to play music or white noise for sound enrichment.
       
      Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
    5. Michael B

      Michael B Member

      I don't know where I'd be with masking. Not in a good place I can assure you.
       
      • Funny Funny x 1
    6. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Michael B If you apply masking (sound enrichment) in the way that I've described, coping with your tinnitus would become much easier.
      Michael
       
    7. Martin69
      Artistic

      Martin69 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      (Health) Anxiety
      @Michael Leigh
      You made a good description and one hear it very often. I can say that it all depends on loudness and frequency (at least for me). I can go some days without any sound enrichment at all. This is when my T is milder (like on a 5/10 or 6/10). Being outside then is even much better since there is some natural sound.

      But sitting in my home office and hearing 2-4 high-pitched dog whistles in my head is still very difficult. I normally not listen to radio since I never did that and preferred working in silence. So the only sound distraction I have is when opening the window. Even listening to bird sounds (from the ipod) whole day is exhausting and annoying.

      So I do masking with crickets (which is very loud) when sitting at my desk. If I am doing phone calls or move away from my desk, I try to go without any headsets. But it is still difficult. Anxiety, depression and exhaustion is still medium to high. With mild T, I would recommend to not mask at all. But with T not covered by the shower, it is in my opinion another ballgame. You need doing everything not going tensed up too much (pills, masking, distraction, positive self-talk, hope).
       
    8. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Martin69 I am just a little curious at the mention of headsets. Does your job require you to them?
      Michael
       
    9. Martin69
      Artistic

      Martin69 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      (Health) Anxiety
      @Michael Leigh I am working in customer support. So I use headsets for calls with customers.
      If not on a call, I use in-ear headsets connected to my mobile and listen to sounds from there (normally crickets).
      Music, sounds etc. has no influence on my T and I have no H (maybe minor in the high frequencies).
       
    10. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Martin69. One has to do what they have to do to earn a living. Many people have contacted me complaining of tinnitus who work in call centres and wear headsets for long periods of time. Dangerous things in my opinion but that's life.
      Michael
       
    11. Martin69
      Artistic

      Martin69 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      (Health) Anxiety
      @Michael Leigh
      Hi Michael. Yes, luckily I do not work in a call center. Far from it. I do Level 2 VMware support in a huge American company. Most days I do not have any phone calls at all, but do everything via Chat and eMail. So there is no more danger for my ears. I even don't know if my T is an ear issue. It started with health anxiety (since I had some other symptoms) and somehow my brain is/was full with Cortisol. But who knows?

      It would be really interesting to know if T is an ear issue (and in particular a damage that cannot be repaired) or an overactive nervous system - which maybe can go down again.
       
    12. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Martin69
      Hi Martin, if it's possible can you tell me what Level2 VMware support is as I've never heard of it? Thanks. The experts say, with noise induced tinnitus, the cochlear sends the tinnitus signal to the hearing centre of the brain and the Limbic system. It is here that the tinnitus signal is generated. Many people believe their tinnitus is coming from the ears but it's actually coming from the brain.
      Michael
       
      • Agree Agree x 1

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