NHS UK White Noise Generators

Discussion in 'Support' started by Pink Noise, Mar 24, 2020.

    1. Pink Noise
      Artistic

      Pink Noise Member

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones (Overear) coupled with age (sigh)
      Hi @Michael Leigh,

      I have been prescribed some white noise generators from the NHS, and wondering if it made your tinnitus louder even by setting the level so that both the noise and tinnitus are heard?

      I feel like my tinnitus level is becoming louder. Not sure if I'm doing anything wrong. I am wearing them for over 6 hours a day as instructed by the audiologist.

      Thanks in advance.
       
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi @Pink Noise

      For twenty years I have been using white noise generators prescribed by the NHS and fortunately, they have never made my tinnitus louder. Some people have difficulty with WNGs for a variety of reasons and stop wearing them. I understand this but in some cases, this might not be such a good idea until every avenue has been explored to try and find out the cause of the adverse reaction. Sometimes the volume of the WNGs are set too high, or the person has been advised by their Hearing Therapist/Audiologist to wear them straight off for 6 to 8 hours which might cause irritation to the ear and auditory system.

      White noise generators can help treat tinnitus and in my case completely cured hyperacusis. From what you describe, it seems that your Audiologist has advised you to set the volume of the WNGs at what is called the mixing point. This is where the tinnitus and the WNGs can both be heard. I do not agree with this method as it can cause irritation to the auditory system for some people and thus make the tinnitus louder. In addition to this, if you have been instructed to wear the WNGs straight off for 6 hours without building up wearing time, this can also cause irritation and make the tinnitus louder.

      My Hearing Therapist advised that I set the volume of the white noise generators slightly below the tinnitus and then, slowly build-up the wearing time so they cause the least amount of irritation to my ears. Therefore, I advise you to try the following which might be of some help.

      Put the WNGs on in the morning and set the volume slightly below the tinnitus. If this causes irritation set the volume as low as possible. After this has been achieved wear them for just 1 or 2 hours then take them off for the same duration. After 1-2 hours has elapsed put them on again and continue wearing for another 1 or 2 hours. Continue doing this throughout the day. The idea is to slowly build up the wearing time so your ears and auditory system get used to them and hopefully your tinnitus wont become louder. This may take two weeks or more until you can wear them continuously for 6 hours as you have been instructed. I wore my WNGs for 8 to 10 hours without any problems after slowly building up the wearing time.

      Once you are able to wear them continuously for 6 hours or more, try not to keep adjusting the volume of the WNGs. Some people do this when leaving their home and going out on the street. Traffic noise and other environmental sounds can make it difficult to hear WNGs. To compensate some people turn up the volume so they can be heard. Please do not do this as it's the wrong thing to do.

      Once you put the wngs on in the morning set the volume slightly below the tinnitus and leave them alone. Over time the brain will habituate to the WNGs and slowly push the tinnitus into the background making it less noticeable. If you keep adjusting the volume of the white noise generators, it makes it more difficult for the brain to habituate to them. If you have hyperacusis the WNGs will also treat it.

      Best of luck.
      Michael

      PS: After 2 years wearing white noise generators, my tinnitus reduced to a very low level and the hyperacusis was completely cured and has remained this way. In 2008 I had a second noise trauma and my tinnitus changed dramatically and it took 4 years to habituate again. However, the hyperacusis did not return.
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Pink Noise
      Artistic

      Pink Noise Member

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones (Overear) coupled with age (sigh)
      Thanks Michael for the info. That's really helpful. I've been mucking about with the volume throughout the day. Maybe that's where I'm going wrong. Will try the 1-2 hours technique.

      I plan to see it through as the audiologist mentioned that she had a lot success with her patients which gave me hope that one day a good position with my tinnitus.

      :thankyousign:
       
    4. KWC

      KWC Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection/TMJ ??
      Did you get benefit from using the white noise generators?

      Thanks,
      KWC
       
    5. weab00
      Alone

      weab00 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      depression-ville
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise, whiplash; 08/20 H
      Since the only thing we have to rely on are anecdotes, I'll share mine. I did 20 minutes of low volume white noise generators with pain hyperacusis and it immediately caused pain and spiking. Threw that thing in the trash.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Pink Noise
      Artistic

      Pink Noise Member

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones (Overear) coupled with age (sigh)
      Hi,

      I'm still working with them. I feel that it's my only sense of control. My audiolgist said I should start feeling better in 12-18 months.
       
    7. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      It all depends how you used the white noise generators? There is much more to it than simply putting them on and keeping the volume low. I have used them for over 20 years. Throwing in the towel at the first little hiccup may not have been a good idea. It took 4 years for me to habituate for the second time and was unable to read for two of those years. I didn't give up. I dusted myself down and kept on trying and thankfully I'm here today. Try, try and try again eventually one succeeds. If you fail at least you know that you tried your best.

      Michael
       
    8. KWC

      KWC Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection/TMJ ??
      @Pink Noise do you think they are helping? I have been trialing Oticons with just white noise function for a while but not consistently.

      @Michael Leigh I am now trying your 1-2 hours on/off cycle to see and do build up. I have this fear of making it worse and then how do you determine if it is helping. I have to make a decision later next week to see if I want to buy. My insurance will cover most of the cost.
       
    9. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I have only seen your post by chance and didn't receive an Alert message.

      I use Oticon white noise generators and find them very good. Please keep in mind white noise generators take time to work, and regular counselling is usually recommend when using them.

      On your Avatar it reads: Cause of tinnitus, ear infection / TMJ... Are you sure of this? I ask because white noise generators are not usually used to treat tinnitus caused by these conditions. For TMJ you should really see a Dentist/Orthodontist as a mouth guard may be needed if you grind your teeth. Tinnitus caused by an ear infection usually improves and goes away with time.

      If possible please give me more information about your tinnitus. How long you have had it? It could be possible that you have noise induced tinnitus. Were you a regular user of headphones or earbuds? Were you exposed to loud noise before the onset of tinnitus? White noise generators are usually prescribed for people with noise induced tinnitus and hyperacusis. However, they can be used for other types of tinnitus as a form of distraction from the noise - not to totally mask it but keep the white noise below the level of the tinnitus.

      Michael
       
    10. KWC

      KWC Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection/TMJ ??
      Thanks @Michael Leigh, I had also posted in Tinnitus Masking - In Ear Maskers thread to which you responded to.

      My tinnitus started in January of this year. I have no sensitivity to sound or hyperacusis.

      As far as cause, I'm not completely sure. I am guessing. My sequence was I was having sinus headache and jaw pain in January and went to urgent care and was put on Augmentin which I have taken before. About 5 days later the ringing started and I developed fluid in my right ear. My facial pain continued to get worse after seeing ENTs as well and I was eventually diagnosed with TMJ on my right side.

      I have used earbuds for work mainly for calls in an office environment. No loud music, sports or gun ranges.

      I have had three standard audiograms done that did not show hearing loss. No extended audiogram done. My audiologist tried to match my tinnitus sound and only could get close at 8 kHz @ 30 dB SL.

      My tinnitus is on my right side as is my TMJ.

      My audiologist wants me to try WNGs to see if they would help.

      For TMJ treatment I am on dual splint therapy, going on 6 months.

      Thanks,
      Ken
       
    11. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      @KWC

      HI Ken,

      I did not receive an alert message probably because you put a comma (,) at the end of my name. Please write it as: @Michael Leigh without a comma or full-stop, hopefully I'll get a notification.

      Whenever someone develops tinnitus my first thoughts of the cause are: Headphones, earbud or headset use. Followed by exposure to loud noise of various types. Next is an underlying medical problem within the auditory system including pulsatile tinnitus. Then TMJ and stress.

      If you use earbuds regularly for work even at low volume, I suspect this has caused the tinnitus even if it's just in one ear. The actual noise is coming from the brain. It is not uncommon not to experience no oversensitivity to sound with noise induced tinnitus. Nor is uncommon to have no hearing loss.

      Take care
      Michael
       
    12. KWC

      KWC Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection/TMJ ??
      @Michael Leigh

      Thank you. I am not sure WNGs will work for me.

      Seems to make my tinnitus louder.
       
    13. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      How long have you been using the white noise generators? Have you tried wearing them for just 1 hour, then taking them off for 1 hour? Putting them back on and doing this throughout the day? Do you keep the white noise low? Do you increase the volume when you go out side on the street for instance?

      Michael
       
    14. weab00
      Alone

      weab00 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      depression-ville
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise, whiplash; 08/20 H
      Why would I continue it if it made me that much worse from a short sitting on low volume. I don't like playing with fire. I've talked to both people who is has worked for and people who it has not, no one size fits all.
       
    15. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      That is your choice.
       
    16. KWC

      KWC Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection/TMJ ??
      Only a couple of days. I find it hard to wear both at the same time. I have the setting at "0" which my audiologist indicates is between the 30-40 dB range across frequencies. She calls it shaped noise. I had to increase the volume a couple of times.
       
    17. bobvann
      Cheeky

      bobvann Member

      Location:
      Inside the vortex
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud shit
      They have not worked for me.
       
    18. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Can you finely adjust the volume of the white noise? From zero, where there is no sound and slowly increase the volume? Or is the volume preset. This means the volume is fixed as in 1,2,3, and cannot be finely adjusted. My white noise generators have a variable volume control like a radio. They can be set to zero and the volume slowly increased.

      Some white noise generators use preset levels: 1,2,3. I am not in favour of these as the volume cannot be finely adjusted. If this is the type you have then you're right not to use them. If the lowest setting is 0 and this is the lowest volume and still causing discomfort, it might not be suitable for you. The type I use would be better.

      Michael
       
    19. KWC

      KWC Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection/TMJ ??
      The 0 value is the default preset value based on my audiologist trying to match pitch and loudness. I can increase volume via the app to a +5 and decrease to a -5. They are the Oticon Opn S miniRITE aids. You can also adjust via a button on the aids themselves.
       
    20. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      The way I understand things KWC your white noise generators have "fixed" volumes. If the default is 0 and this still emits sound, then the volume cannot be set to complete silence like my white noise generators. My WNGs have a small rocker switch at the rear. On the lowest setting there is no sound... Pressing the switch a faint white noise can be heard and further pressing increases the volume. Mine are: Oticon H160v2I. Not as high-tech as yours as they cannot be controlled by an app.

      When I was fitted with them I asked the Audiologist to disable the wireless dual volume control. This means when setting the volume on one WNGs the other is automatically adjusted in sync. I prefer to adjust them independently.

      Some Audiologists advise their patients to wear the WNGs straight off for 6 to 8 hours but I do not like this method as it can cause irritation. A better way is to slowly introduce them by wearing for just 1 or 2 hours and them removing them for same duration. Do this throughout the day for 1 or 2 weeks. The idea is to slowly increase the wearing time to a recommended 8 to 10 hours a day.

      If you have set the volume to default 0 and worn them for just 1 hour and then remove them in the manner I've mentioned above, and you still find they make the tinnitus more intrusive they might not be suitable for you.

      All the best
      Michael
       

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