Question About Masking (Maximum Volume)

Discussion in 'Support' started by Tom Barry, Jun 1, 2012.

    1. Tom Barry

      Tom Barry Member

      USA Connecticut
      Tinnitus Since:
      constant since april 2012
      Hello all. I joined a few weeks ago and have read many of the posts. My tinnitus has stayed about the same for 5 weeks now. The anxiety has diminished quite a bit since then. I went to my primary physician and he prescribed Xanax in a low dose to help that. It's 0.25 mg up to three times a day as needed. I only take one about an hour before I go to bed.

      There is one thing that confuses me, however. The hissing always seems louder than the masking. I started with rainfall sound which covered the hissing but brought out a high frequency tone which is always louder than the masking. I then found that music worked better for me. The problem is the volume I need to cover the tinnitus seems very loud. My wife couldn't believe how loud I was using.

      Now it gets really strange. The masking volume is loud enough to make conversation hard and the tinnitus is still always a little louder. But when there is no masking the tinnitus has no effect on my hearing.

      I went to an ENT, had a hearing test and the results were severe high frequency loss.

      My biggest problem is getting to sleep. I have two fans on full and an air purifier on full which provide hardly any masking. I listen to music using earbuds at a volume that may be too loud. The ENT said 80 dB should be maximum safe volume. Of course I have no way of knowing what the dB is. Anyone else have symptoms similar?
    2. DezDog

      DezDog Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hi Tom, sounds very similar to me, though I apparently don't have the same loss spectrum as you. I've noticed that my noise is very high pitched, like narrow-band high-frequency noise. I can hear it through any music or white noise.

      I think the trick is not so much to hide the noise, but to bury it slightly to the point where can then be distracted by a book, your thoughts, a film, your work etc. I can't speak for everyone, but I suspect that if you put your masking track on, and then "test" yourself (can I still hear it?) you'll always hear it. Your brain is extremely good at paying attention to things that worry it, and at this early stage, you are very worried about it.

      Put your music on, and work on distraction. The distraction will come easier. You'll inevitably become absorbed, and just as inevitably, realize you've been absorbed, and then listen for it again. Don't worry when you do this; revel in the accomplishment that you *were* ignoring it. The amount of time you stay absorbed (ignoring your noise) will increase. This is habituation.

      For me I couldn't conceive of being able to ignore it (being "habituated"); how can you ignore something so intrusive? But the key really is removing the anxiety, and removing the noise from the brain's warning list. You'll be aware that you can sleep with traffic noise, perhaps even on a plane, but quieter noises that are on the warning list will wake you immediately (front door opening, child crying, etc).

      I really hope this helps. I guess I'm suggesting you turn your music down a little and work at it more the way I described.
      All the best to you
      • Like Like x 4
    3. AUTHOR
      Tom Barry

      Tom Barry Member

      USA Connecticut
      Tinnitus Since:
      constant since april 2012
      Thanks DD I'll give it a try
    4. SymphonSilencio

      SymphonSilencio Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      What DezDog is saying is right on the money. You'll always play catch up with yout tinnitus if your try to cover it completely. Theres only 3 things that relatively "outdo" my tinnitus at my advanced stage. 1. A shower (obviously the constant flow of water splashing all around will wash out the tinnitus) 2. turning on the water facuet ( if you can hear your T over a faucet running at full power you may be in a little trouble at least on the hearing loss side of things) 3. A walk in the night after no rain or cold (the sounds of nature always tend to overpower my tinnitus without trying to overcome it).

      Problem is even the most perfect recording of a shower wont work to mask it because you cant replicate the sound waves of a shower on a 2.1 or multichannel speaker system. Try any sort relaxation substance like green tea, valerian, melatonin (I have bad experiences with overuse of this so go easy on that one) passion flower, gaba, HTP. If you find enough that works work out a routine where you switch off from one to another. It isnt a perfect strategy for myself in terms of sleep but I find that if I dont let my body acclimate to anything for too long it seems to be more effective overall.
    5. Deb

      Deb Guest

      Just want to share my 2 cents on green tea. It's not a relaxant, it's a stimulant, and a diuretic - you really don't want to be dehydrated (which that in itself can cause tinnitus). Chamomile, valerian, passion flower, lemon balm -- in extract or tea, are effective relaxants for some people. Using lavender extract in aromatherapy, in your soap, and in shampoo, body sprays, lotions, and linen sprays, etc., is a calmative (preferably natural versions without synthetics added). Just putting a little lavender extract on a cotton ball or tissue and inhaling can bring some people out of a panic attack. Albizia (mimosa) is also a "feel good" herbal extract with a long history in Chinese medicine for assisting with depression. All of these may help mask the severity of one's tinnitus (and the nervous anxiety that comes with it for some people). The body can be quick to adapt, so having a few routines to switch back and forth from for coping/masking, is worth a try.

      As far as fighting sound with sound, here is an interesting finding/study on just that:

      Dr. Hamid Djalilian, a UCI physician who treats hearing disorders, points out that a custom sound can be created for the patients, who then can download it into their personal MP3 player and use it when they need relief.

      “The treatment, though, does not represent a cure,” Zeng said. “This low-pitch therapeutic approach is only effective while being applied to the ear, after which the ringing can return. But it underscores the need to customize stimulation for tinnitus suppression and suggests that balanced stimulation, rather than masking, is the brain mechanism underlying this surprising finding.”

      Low-pitch Treatment Alleviates Ringing Sound Of Tinnitus
      • Like Like x 1
    6. Gruodis

      Gruodis Member

      Vilnius, Lithuania
      Tinnitus Since:
      youth, louder since 2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      idiopatic (noknown cause)
      I have lived with tinnitus since my childhood. Never bothered much about it. This year after severe stress it became much louder and started driving me nuts. Few months passed, I am coping much better and I have made some observations and conclusions while dealing with it:

      - distracting is better that masking (mechanical wind-up clock besides my bed is my favorite distractor, I also listen to the cicadas sound generated by the free of charge "Relaxing sounds of nature Lite" app on my iPad placed besides my bed on the floor, and I don't use headphones. (for Android users there is also good app called "Relax and sleep"). So, when I have 2 different distracting sounds andI lay in bed before sleep I can play with my attention switching from one to another.

      - some natural masking that involves action is doing great job if you want to give few minutes for your brain to rest. I prefer vacuuming my apartment, taking shower, jogging (in the rain is the best) or playing sports or riding bicycle. When I do sports I listen to my breathing.

      - for me avoiding noisy places is important. I don't mean loud places like cinema, but noisy like huge humming supermarkets when there's no particular sound to concentrate my hearing attention and my T goes crazy.

      - loudness of (at least mine) tinnitus is relative and cannot be measured. This is why masking for some people is complicated. There were good busy days when I forgot having tinnitus and thought that it's gone for good. And then if I closed my ears I've heard it ringing in my head at almost the same level as before in the bad days. At first it scared me but now I understand that my T has no particular loudness. It's like air flowing through the window. There is always air, a lot of it outside. But it's flow to your room depends on how much you open your window. Every time you check the air flow, you must open the window and it makes it increase instantly. It's very difficult to control, because T is controlled by your thoughts and attention. Trying to control your tinnitus brings your attention back to it. Vicious cycle - it's hard to get out off it but I am sure it's possible. Now after 2 months of psychotherapy I am almost sure that my T is not louder than before. And imagine, I have lived with it already more than for 20 years with no problems at all, because I was't paying much attention to it. Mostly because I always had other problems to deal with, I had hobbies, people to love and care for, my job, my family and my LDS religion. My T seems louder when I worry, have a headache, stress, back pain, because my body somehow opens a window for it.

      - There are other things to listen for: not for masking but for distraction and relaxation. I've found an iPad/iPhone hypnosis app with sessions created by Glenn Harrold that cost just few bucks for a session download, and you can listen to them every day. There's a separate Tinnitus session. It will not heal you, but might help you to calm down and relax. I believe there are another free hypnosis or self hypnosis apps for iOS or Android devices.

      Hope it helps.
      • Like Like x 2
    7. Sven

      Sven Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I must say I think DezDog's post above is great. It's spot on.

      Btw, do you others also feel a strange sensation in your ears sometimes when you can't actually hear the T (because of other noises)? For me it feels as if there's something stuck inside the ear. Something that sometimes feels like it's vibrating.
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    8. carlover

      carlover Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hello Tom see you live inthe states so dont know the financial situation about this.
      But with severe high freq loss if you got hearing aids ,I promise you when in, your Tinnitus would diminish instantly by at least 50%.(only while In) Its the only way I can sleep, my t is loud.I live in London and got them free on the NationalHealthService.Hearing aids saved my life,I was going nuts. I can here ok without them,like i guess you can hear ok.
      Also youtube pinknoise I like that it blends in with the T and sort of knocks it out and my audiologist said its the best for High Freq Loss.
    9. Alue
      No Mood

      Alue Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Didn't realize how old this thread was, but mine sounds similar to Tom Barry. Just seems to compete or pierce through any masking sound. When the hearing loss is in the very high frequencies (above 12kHh) you are SOL as far as hearing aids being of any benefit.

      Thanks for posting Ohiotech. It's both comforting that you have are able to ignore it sometimes, and distressing that it's still bothersome even after 40 years.

      Can I ask you what caused it?
    10. Ohiotech

      Ohiotech Member

      Eastern Tennessee
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      That is unknown as to what caused it. I just noticed a pop in my ear (pick a side) and a either a steady frequency gets louder until it goes away (still happens on the left side) or after the pop (preceded by a hiss like a TV off channel) a low frequency climbs steady until it goes beyond my hearing range (still happens on my left ear). Back then we used to get aircraft sonic booms above the house air space I where I lived, but I don't think that would have caused it. Nothing biological or accidental that I know of or remember.
    11. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      Bumping this old thread.
      My naturopath has suggested Albizia for lowering histamine. Does anyone else have any experience with this? She said it is very similar to Quercetin.

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