Partially vs. Completely Masking Tinnitus While Asleep

Discussion in 'Support' started by Poseidon65, Jul 27, 2020.

    1. Poseidon65

      Poseidon65 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert
      Hi folks,

      I have tinnitus which is not severe, in the sense that I can mask it completely with white noise at night.

      My first instinct it to do this, i.e. to mask my tinnitus completely so that I don't hear it, allowing me to sleep easily.

      However, I've seen others (including Michael Leigh I believe) advocate for only partial masking. The idea being that in order for your brain to get used to your tinnitus, you need to hear your tinnitus. Partial masking allows this to happen. Though my biggest question about this is: if I'm already hearing my tinnitus during the day, is that enough to help get my brain used to it? Do I need to hear it throughout the night as well?

      I'm curious: does anyone have thoughts or experiences on which is best (i.e. partial vs. complete masking)? Any and all comments are extremely appreciated.
       
    2. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      My question is what is your goal of masking? Is it to help sleep? Or to induce habituation? Something else?

      I personally am not a fan of masking, and think too high of a level can induce additional acoustic trauma to the ear. I figured that out when I masked it with an electric heater, with a dB in the high 60s, which should be safe, and then woke up with ear fullness and increased tinnitus, ie: additional acoustic trauma.

      Wearing my ear plugs at night fixed the issue, and habituation ensued for me over approx 18 months.
       
    3. Thuan

      Thuan Member

      Location:
      California
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      @Digital Doc So you try to use natural sound generators like a electric heater but also wear ear plugs at the same time? Does the electrical heater sounds get through your ear plugs? If it doesn't, then why not just don't use the electric heater? I'm trying to introduce as much appliance noises as I can but I want your experience to see what works best. Thank you.

      @Poseidon65 I find that complete masking is too loud and actually gives me more stress. So when I do need masking, I try to do partial masking. I hate trading one sound for another. The only exception is appliance noises (refrigerator, AC, heater but not fan noises). Some appliance noises actually soothes me instead of bothering me.
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Poseidon65

      Poseidon65 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert
      I guess the question is what ought to be the goal of masking at night? If the goal out to be only to help sleep, then complete masking is clearly the most effective solution. If the goal ought to be to help habituate, then partial masking (or even no masking) seems most effective for this.

      But I guess I don't know if it's actually helpful to habituate while sleeping, or if hearing my T during the day is enough habituating...
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    5. Mister Muso
      Creative

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Masking sounds that are loud enough to mask loud tinnitus, can themselves be loud enough to distract from sleep. I've learned to settle for what you call partial masking most of the time. Having said that, I never sleep well anyway. Four hours again last night.
       
    6. Deniseh

      Deniseh Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly b12/folic acid deficiency and GERD
      Personally I’ve been able to sleep without masking, at the very beginning I would wear an earbud to fall asleep this was more to do with my anxiety than anything else but it wasn’t practical and I felt it made my tinnitus louder for some reason so, I don’t use anything now, and I suppose in a way I’ve habituated to this but initially it was definitely to help me sleep so I had a better coping mechanism during the day.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    7. Lilah
      Bashful

      Lilah Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I use a SoundPillow, because it is next to my ear it is loud. My volume level is 25/40. I sleep sideways so sometimes my ear is on/near the speaker; I also use a white noise machine for the other ear. Because my tinnitus changes and the pitch is high, I am still aware of my tinnitus most of my time. If my tinnitus is intense I need complete masking, however when it is not I can fall asleep while hearing my tinnitus a bit.

      During the day, I have habituated well I think, but when I'm reading/working in a silent bedroom I turn on the fan which has no masking effect at all because it has a low hum whereas my tinnitus is high pitch, but it distracts me from listening to my tinnitus. Sleep is still an issue but better than before. I can sleep 6-7 hours most of the time which is enough for me, but half the time the quality is bad where I wake up after 3 to 4 hours and then wake up every hour.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    8. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      @Thuan

      The electric heater with a fan in it was really to stay warm. I found that I slept better, but woke up with a minor acoustic trauma situation. As I needed the warmth, I used ear plugs to make it bearable.

      At night, I generally don't use the heater, but sleep much better with foam ear plugs anyway.
       

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