Notched Sound Therapy Seems to Be Helping Me. A Guide:

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by Darryl, Jan 18, 2018.

    1. Darryl

      Darryl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shotgun blast coupled with severe nasal congestion
      I first read about notched music/sound therapy over the 2017 Christmas holidays (yeah, late to the party) and, given that the long nights of Winter are a bad time for my tinnitus, thought I would give notched sound therapy a try. I have been very pleased, and thankful, for the results thus far. My tinnitus has not gone away, but it is reduced. The effect I am most thankful for is that the therapy seems to have reduced the "morning roars" of my tinnitus. I hate it when I wake up in the morning and my tinnitus is roaring. This notched sound therapy seems to have helped that quite a bit.

      This is not a scientific trial and I am not a doctor or audiologist. What I did may have no benefit for you. However, it cost me nothing to try and it seems to be helping a good deal, so I wanted to find a forum to share my experience. Please comment if you have questions and also comment with your experiences if you try this.

      Pros: Has reduced my tinnitus including the "morning roars" that cause me so much trouble
      Free to try (and use). Seriously. It costs nothing and never will. The therapy doesn't cost anything if you already own a computer and some "in the ear" earbuds of decent quality.

      Cons: You have to listen to a lot of notched music and notched white noise. I listen for an hour or more each day.
      It takes time. My tinnitus did not improve until after listening for an hour or more each day for at least a week, then things started to get better. Things actually got a bit worse on day two or three.

      Caution - DO NOT LISTEN TO LOUD NOTCHED MUSIC OR NOTCHED WHITE NOISE! Listen at a normal, comfortable level. Don't damage your hearing further with loud sounds!

      Steps:
      Test yourself to find out what frequency your tinnitus is. There are several sites out there that are basically audio generators that you can change the frequency of the generated tone until you match the tone of your tinnitus. My tinnitus tested originally as about 7700Hz. As I progressed in this notched therapy it seems to have shifted higher, to about 10kHz, so you may want to test again after a couple of weeks into the sound therapy. Enter "test your tinnitus" into a search engine and find a site that works for you. Test in a quiet area, using good quality earbuds. Do not use a volume that may damage your hearing further! You just need to find out what frequency your tinnitus is ringing at.

      Download the computer program called "Audacity" and install it on your computer. This is a free, open source audio editing program for Windows. audacityteam.org (Sorry, I only know Windows. If you have a Mac, then any audio editing program that can notch a mp3 track should work)

      The fun part - get some of your music and notch it at the frequency of your tinnitus. For Audacity you do this by going to file "open", opening an audio file, then typing Cntrl A or commanding "select all" to select all the audio in the file, then go to "Effect" and scroll down to "Notch Filter" (this Notch Filter command is off the bottom of my screen on my laptop so you have to intentionally scroll down to see it to select it), in the pop up window for the notch filter enter your tinnitus frequency, then enter a Q value of 1.0 (you can play with the Q, this is just how wide and deep a notch is applied to the audio. A Q value setting of 1.0 has worked for me). Then click OK. The program will notch your audio track and take out those frequencies on and around your tinnitus frequency. Note - I notch my audio twice, that is, I take the notched audio from the first command and notch it one more time. This deepens the notch. If you want to see what effect this notching has had on your audio, you may go to Analyze, then Plot Spectrum and you will see the notch that was created.

      To save your new notched audio file, go to File, Export and I export as an MP3. You may want to export as a different file type.

      Now you have a piece of notched music to listen to! The entire process takes me about 3 or 4 minutes per song.

      If you want to listen to notched white noise is it very easy to set that up.

      In Audacity click on File, New then Generate, Noise. In the popup, select White noise, 0.8 Amplitude and set a 30 minute duration ( or length of your choice). Let the program create this and then export to MP3 as before. Now you have a 30 minute track of white noise. Now take this new track and notch it for your tinnitus frequency as above. Export the notched white noise file and you are done. Now you have 30 minutes of notched white noise you can listen to.

      I listen to notched songs and notched white noise while I am on the computer reading the news. I am probably listening for an hour in the morning and 30 minutes to an hour in the evening. The songs are much more fun to listen to! However, I think the white noise is important to help retrain my brain around the tinnitus, so I listen to that, too.

      Good luck! Please come back and comment with the success or failure of this process to help your tinnitus so we may learn from our shared experience. If nothing else, this has shown me that, even after 18 years of suffering with tinnitus, things can still change, there is still hope! It is good to have been able to move the tinnitus ball and chain around a bit. Even if it is still there, for me it is reduced in amplitude and the timbre has changed. Also the spatial characteristics of my tinnitus change some times after a session.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    2. J.Hartog
      Worried

      J.Hartog Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Life
      I have been experimenting with this a little, on this website you can make notched white noise at your tinnitus level. https://tinnitusnotch.com/

      Only problem for me is I have a VERY high pitch T over 15000 Hz or it sounds more static like an old TV also very high pitched. So I don't know what Hz level to use.

      Its very hard to pinpoint the Hz level for me, the sounds of app also change when I put the volume way up. And to hear the higher Hz levels I need to turn up the sound waaaay up. If I would use the same volume to listen to like 7000 Hz I the sound is WAY TOO loud. So I am also kind of worried I am messing up my ears by listening to high pitched sounds I can barely hear but still have the volume way up.

      I have read somewere that very high pitched sounds always sound softer but it hasn't been easy to try this method for me.

      Also I have read that this only works for tonal tinnitus. One strange thing though is that sometimes my T turnes down shortly when I listen to the high pitched beeps. Same like taking a shower... Tinnitus is so weird sometimes
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Darryl

      Darryl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shotgun blast coupled with severe nasal congestion
      I understand your dilemma. My hearing as I age is poor above 10kHz, so I almost have the same problem you have. Near 10kHz my tinnitus sounds more like a "ssssssss" than a pure tone. I can just barely match it using a tone generator. Nonetheless, notched songs and notched white noise at 10kHz are helping me.

      First, please do not turn the audio really loud to hear a tone. You may do more damage and no one wants that.

      You may want to try the frequency that gave you some relief (it is probably at or near your tinnitus frequency) and notch that. The notch filter on Audacity with a Q setting of 1.0 is fairly broad, about +/- one octave if I remember correctly. If you are close, it will hopefully work for you.

      Years ago I tried matching the tone of my tinnitus using a audio signal generator. After listening to the tone for a while (even a minute or two) and then stopping the tone, my tinnitus would be gone for a few minutes. Such a relief at the time! The problem was that when it came back after a few minutes, it came back with a vengeance. Kind of like my brain said " I want that sound to be restored and I want it now!" I didn't like this rebound effect, so stopped listening to the tones fairly quickly.

      There are a number of scientific papers written concerning what might be happening in our brains with the notched sound therapy. Search "lateral inhibition" to read up on it.

      I'm just a layman, no special training in medicine, hearing or audiology. I am an engineer though and can make my way around signal generators, Audacity notch filters and the like. Given what I did was using open source software, it cost me nothing to try, and listening to notched music while I'm on the internet isn't that big a deal. Listening to the notched white noise is a little harder, but it may be that the white noise is more effective for those with tinnitus above 8kHz. There is a research paper on that and it says above 8kHz the best results are from notched white noise.

      Good luck and feel free to post any questions and especially results.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    4. MBH

      MBH Member

      Location:
      Upstate NY
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Overloaded stress
      My hearing person recommend signal notch therapy where it goes by your tone and cancel out T. It is by signa. You listen to ocean sounds for 4 hours a day. But I think you are doing. Something different you are doing sound therapy. Im glad it works for you. I like to try something, but I think on this site other people did music therapy. It's all a little confusing.
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Darryl

      Darryl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shotgun blast coupled with severe nasal congestion
      It is my understanding from reading on the web that Signia (the new name for Siemens?) offers hearing aids that can be programmed for notch sound therapy. I do not know what sounds they use or if they simply program a notch in the normal every day amplified audio stream.

      I believe they are doing generally what I am doing, but instead of using a hearing aid and its built-in audio processor, I am using my laptop computer and the Audacity software to process the audio of my choice (mostly my music library) and add my custom notch at 10 kHz (a notch is simply suppressed or attenuated frequencies) to music, white noise, ocean noise, etc. and then play the notched music, sounds, etc. on my laptop, tablet or cell phone at my convenience during the day.

      To learn what may be going on here, search for scientific papers on "lateral inhibition". Here is the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateral_inhibition#Auditory_inhibition The theory is that by listening to sounds near, but not on, your tinnitus frequency, that the neurons in your brain interpreting the adjacent frequencies near your tinnitus frequency suppress, to some degree, the false firing of the neurons that are falsely "hearing" your tinnitus frequency. Over time it may be that listening to these notched sounds may retrain the brain into not false firing and thus not "hearing" tinnitus anymore.

      For me, only into this a few weeks, my tinnitus is reduced, but certainly still there. I did have two mornings in a row earlier this week where I woke up to basically little to no tinnitus sound. What a relief that was! One, it was great to just hear almost nothing for a short while and two, it gave me hope that, even after 18 years (in my case), tinnitus may not be forever. At least not at the same level and tone. The real quiet only lasted the two mornings, but the tinnitus level is still generally reduced. I think this therapy has lessened the morning roaring of my tinnitus when I wake up. At least the past two weeks have been kind and Winter is usually very bad for my tinnitus for some reason. My tinnitus has also changed its tonal qualities (its timbre) from time to time during this period as well.

      I don't want to make this out for more than it is. I am hopeful that I will continue to benefit from a reduction in level that makes dealing with tinnitus easier. I am also quietly hopeful that, over a longer time frame, it may have an even greater effect.

      Good luck and let us know how you do if you try this method. If I can answer any questions here on the forum I'll be glad to try. I'll check back in as I continue this therapy to let you know how it goes.
       
      • Like Like x 3
    6. J.Hartog
      Worried

      J.Hartog Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Life
      I will definitely keep trying this stuff also as it clearly is doing something to my tinnitus. Hope not for the worse tough and I will keep in mind the volume! Thank you for your posts.

      I only turned the volume way up to listen to > 15kHz as I could barely hear them. Is it that maybe my laptop speakers are not good enough to produce clear sounds this high up? From the very little I know very high pitched sounds are always softer in volume or at least harder to hear or reach the inner ear or something.

      Maybe it could be some hearing loss although I am 32 years old with twice tested hearing and ears were ''100%'' claimed by ENT docs. I never listen to sounds that hurt my ear so I was always very careful! when I tried the lower Hz beeps the volume is way lower then the higher ones. What is your opinion about that?

      And do u use quality headphones, earbuds or speakers?
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Darryl

      Darryl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shotgun blast coupled with severe nasal congestion
      I am using a pair of in-the-ear, wired ear buds that are branded by Samsung. They came with a tablet I bought. They seem to be of good quality, but are nothing special.

      The in-the-ear earbuds work well for me because they have a good high frequency response and send most of that energy directly into my ear canal. They also filter out a bit of room noise because they block the ear canal.

      I am not an audiologist or doctor, but I think it is very normal for the human ear to be more sensitive at the lower frequencies. Most of our speech is in the range of 200Hz to 2000Hz (not all, but much of it). Our ears are very sensitive in this lower range. The lowest volume you can hear at 1000 Hz you might not be able to hear at 10,000 Hz. Very normal for all of us.
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Darryl

      Darryl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shotgun blast coupled with severe nasal congestion
      Update:

      Here is website (not mine, one I found on the internet) that lays out the steps to create your own notched songs, sounds, noise, etc. using the free, open source, Audacity software. It describes the process much better than I did in my posts above.

      https://sites.google.com/site/freetinnitussoundtherapy/clients
       
    9. dnl
      Wishful

      dnl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Dec 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wellbutrin/Bupropion
      There's a notched white noise album on Apple Music (it's probably on other music services as well). I can't vouch for the product or how they create the files, but if you want to try notched sound therapy, and you subscribe to a music service, this might be a good way to try it. You'd have to find your frequency, and then choose the appropriate file. The 2 albums contain notched white noise files from 100 Hertz - 20,000 Hertz going up by increments of 100 (100 'sound files' on each album).

      https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/notch-white-noise-tinnitus-therapy-vol-1/1154206428

      https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/notch-white-noise-tinnitus-therapy-vol-2/1154730692
       
    10. MeBeSurfer

      MeBeSurfer Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/17
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSRI Medication, Movie Theaters, or Gaming Headphones
      Does it ever irritate your T? My worry is that I'm slightly off on the tuning phase and figuring out the Hertz my T is at. If I'm off, I wonder if notched therapy would make it worse?
       
    11. dnl
      Wishful

      dnl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Dec 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wellbutrin/Bupropion
      @MeBeSurfer I'm actually not sure. I just started reading about notched therapy last night. I've been trying to isolate my frequency. If I can figure that out, I'll probably give the sound files a shot later this week. I've read in another thread that your T could become worse temporarily due to the therapy and then get better. I'm also not sure if this works for everyone. My T is a pretty high frequency (somewhere between 12,500 - 14,000), so I'm not sure if any of this will help me.
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Darryl

      Darryl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shotgun blast coupled with severe nasal congestion
      In trying the notched sounds and music, I did notice that my T was worse after a day or two, then seemed to get better. I still have tinnitus, it has not gone away, but the notched sound therapy does seem to have helped me thus far per my post above.

      I would not listen to anything that is loud! Just notch some music or songs and listen (and listen and listen...)
       
    13. Peg M

      Peg M Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Question for Darryl: why did you "deepen" the notch? Do you have a theory-based reason--or did trial and error suggest it?
       

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