Masking with White Noise Aggravates Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by Hopeful, Oct 20, 2013.

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    1. Hopeful
      Wishful

      Hopeful Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/13
      Dear TinnitusTalk,

      I am wondering if any of you experience this (or maybe has some kind of explanation):

      If I am masking my T with white noise, the T is louder and sharper in pitch when I turn off the noise. Significantly. I am playing the noise through laptop speakers at a low level.
       
    2. JTP
      No Mood

      JTP Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shit happens
      Hi,

      I don't know if it means anything, but we seem to have very similar kind of tinnitus and I've noticed something similar behavior with my T. The frequencies over 10 kHz irritates it, be it random noise, nature sounds or music. 'Modernly' limited music with less dynamic range and piercing highs is very bad for me right now whereas older softer stuff is ok more or less.
       
    3. Hopeful
      Wishful

      Hopeful Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/13
      How does your T sound?
       
    4. Erlend
      Question it

      Erlend Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Scandinavia
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2013
      Absolutely. I think this goes for people without T as well. Just like when you watch an optical illusion and then look at the walls and they're bouncing back and forth.
       
    5. Erlend
      Question it

      Erlend Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Scandinavia
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2013
      On a white noise video on youtube someone said: "When I turn it off I can still here it for a few minutes, is this normal?"

      And the uploader said yes
       
    6. JTP
      No Mood

      JTP Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shit happens
      Some days it is quite pure 13.5 kHz tone, some days it takes a little shrill character and keeps fading in and out. Then again sometimes it is like somebody played randomly on keyboard and pitch was shifted well above 10 kHz. .. and sometimes the white noise with high pass at 12 kHz. Left ear, right ear and everything in between many times with rotation effect. In addition there is soothing silent 1.5 kHz pure tone that I try to concentrate to when going to sleep.

      Anything familiar ?
       
    7. seal

      seal Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      Yes my Tinnitus goes crazy when I'm trying to mask it with white noise. It also hates the noise a hot pan makes while frying...
       
    8. stargazer

      stargazer Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tampa, Fl
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2013
      Listening to white noise (all frequencies present) seems to aggravate mine too. I had better luck with a narrow noise band around my tinnitus frequency (say +/- 500Hz), that masked it completely. I used Audacity to create it.
       
    9. JTP
      No Mood

      JTP Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shit happens
      May I ask what is the frequency of your T?
       
    10. stargazer

      stargazer Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tampa, Fl
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2013
      When it started it was around 11775, though inadvertent noise exposure without protection has added more noise to the mix and made it harder to mask.
       
    11. JTP
      No Mood

      JTP Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shit happens
      Oh, pretty high freq like mine. I just asked because I create my own masking files too. Narrowband noise above 10kHz sounds pretty harsh in itself, I use to mix it with some nature sounds to mellow it down little bit.
       
    12. Sybs
      Inspired

      Sybs Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Mine is aggravated by running water, the shower, toilet flushing, kettle boiling, TV audience applause and I should imagine, like Seal, a hot pan frying. Does anyone know the significance of this?
       
    13. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      @Hopeful Your tinnitus is probably irritated because of an auditory gain mechanism. Do you also have hyperacusis? Often people with hyperacusis will also have sensitivity to various sound frequencies. I used to have hyperacusis, but it is no longer a problem. But I have many problems with various frequencies spiking my tinnitus.

      I can't locate the specific article on auditory gain being responsible for tinnitus spikes. But I believe this is how it works. Apparently, you have dead regions in your cochlea (not uncommon for people with tinnitus), and the hair cells next to these regions are hyperactive. This hyperactivity is not only responsible for your tinnitus, but also may affect its volume. As such, when you irritate these cells--by exposing them to sounds in the dead region--their hyperactivity increases and the erroneous signal they send to your brain is stronger. And so your tinnitus spikes accordingly.

      Sounds are both the best friend and worst enemy of tinnitus sufferers. Sounds are used to mask tinnitus, supress it, and facilitate habitation. Conversely, sounds may irrititate tinnitus. Sometimes this irritation is temporary but therapeutic. Your tinnitus will increase in volume, then decrease as the sounds help induce habitation. This is why many people using sound therapies will initally report a worsening of their symptoms, which later resolves and over time the tinnitus is reduced or eliminated. But unfortunately these same therapeutic sounds in some people will be detrimental in others. Specifically, the therapeutic sounds in some individuals will create a prolonged or permenant tinnitus spike in people whom researchers call "non responders." Researchers do not currently know which people will respond to sound therapy or get worse. Responses, however, are probably affected by different tinnitus etiologies, the degree of cochlear damage, and perhaps the duration of symptoms.
       
    14. Hopeful
      Wishful

      Hopeful Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/13
      No, I don't have hyperacusis. My tinnitus is super fluctuating. Both in form and volume. And very high pitched >15kHz when it presents itself in the pure tone form.

      Edit: Thanks for the explanation, jazz.
       
    15. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      I also have fluctuating tinnitus. This doesn't mean the tinnitus can't be masked. But I believe you should only mask when you're loud. (This is what I do, but I always have soft background noise on 24/7.) You're going to have to experiment with narrow band sounds to see if you can find a range of tones that mask or suppress your noise. I'm sure there are apps that let you select a range of frequencies. Just don't do too many at once or you may end up irritating yourself. Though you don't have hyperacusis, I believe your problem results from auditory gain. But I could be totally wrong! You probably should have a thorough tinnitus evaluation with an audiologist, who specializes in this disorder. He or she might be able to tell you what sounds or sound frequencies to use. :)
       
    16. JTP
      No Mood

      JTP Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shit happens
      @Hopeful , how is your hearing above 15kHz ? I mean you should be careful not to blast 15kHz narrowband noise too loud in your ear if you have hearing loss there. I check levels at 1kHz first, since my T is partly higher freq than I can hear.
       
    17. Hopeful
      Wishful

      Hopeful Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/13
      @JTP: Oh, yes, I am aware of that. The latest audiogram I had was up to 12,5 kHz . 8kHz and 12,5kHz was 0 dBHL. I have dips down to -10dBHL up to 6 kHz. Haven't had my audiogram done for higher frequencies, but I can hear pure tones up to 17,5 kHz without boosting the volume too much
       
    18. JTP
      No Mood

      JTP Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shit happens
      Okay, you are on the safe side then. Good luck!
       
    19. Erlend
      Question it

      Erlend Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Scandinavia
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2013
      Found this, I think it is very relevant

      Scitation: “Negative Afterimage” in Hearing

       

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