Should I Mask My Tinnitus? Can Masking Make Tinnitus Worse?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Nich, Jun 27, 2014.

    1. Nich

      Nich Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      So far I've not masked at all. I have the radio turned on really low at work but if I got it close to the volume of my tinnitus it would bother others. But I think a little masking is needed to help me focus better.

      I was thinking maybe I could mask the sound some and maybe it would help? It would require ear buds or headphones. But I'm unsure what sounds I should try and if there are any ear buds I could still hear through if someone came in my office to talk to me?

      So far I've only noticed a couple things that mask the tinnitus. The shower, a loud exhaust fan in our bathroom and a mixture of road noise and the radio in the car. My tinnitus is super high frequency sounding. Like if you've ever heard some electronic device give off a high pitched squeal that's what it is like. Any suggestions?
    2. LadyDi

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hi @Nich. If you search this board, you will find a lot on masking. Some people feel masking thwarts habituation because you are covering your tinnitus, vs listening to it to the point that you and your brain ignore it. Me, I think if you keep your masking sounds below your tinnitus volume and don't mask all the time, it's fine. I am a journalist. So I have some days, like you, where I am writing for hours on end When I do, I often mask. Helps me concentrate.

      I am doing the Neuromonics sound therapy right now, so listen to that device vs mask. But before, I used the TM Soft White Noise app on iTunes. Has multiple sounds and a program where you even can combine them. Just give them a test run and your ears will tell what sounds they like. App is only about $10. And there also is a free downloadable masking track here on the TT home page.

      You will see mixed opinions here on TT about headphones but I don't think they are a problem. After all, sound therapies like Neuromonics are delivered through headphones (my device uses high quality Bose ear buds). Just keep the volume low enough and you can hear people. My masking headphones are Seinhesser sport headphones with ear pieces that rest lightly inside the ear but aren't inserted like ear buds. It is designed to be used as a smart phone headset, so you can easily hear what is going on around you.

      I am sure others will have suggestions. Given your work, I think you might give masking a try.
    3. billie48

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      If you have high pitched tinnitus like mine, then you need things like shower, heavy rain, waterfall, rapids, crashing waves (the continuous type), faucet or tap etc. etc. I think if the sound bother you to the point of making you stressful or emotional, then you need masking, even temporary masking or partial masking. By that I mean not blocking out the entire tinnitus sound. This way you can get used to it among other competing sounds.

      I used to need masking at bed time (a CD player), on the go (an iPod with ear buds), and at work (PC). For the iPod I just bought the cheap iPod nano and download some high frequency nature sounds (rains, waves etc) from I used iTunes to load the sounds to the iPod. This is a super light ipod so I can go anywhere with ear buds to mask my tinnitus. Nowadays any android based mobile phone should get you free APP for sound generator software. For my PC, I download a free sound generator called 'Aire Freshener'. You can google it to download a free copy. It has many types of sounds to choose from. At work, I just told my colleagues that I have ringing ears with pitch 10 times the pitch of a dentist drill 7/24 and that I needed masking with ear buds plugged to my PC. They don't understand how much tinnitus can hurt, but they can relate to the unpleasant sound of a dentist drill, LOL. So they were OK for me to put the ear buds on at work during those early days when I couldn't survive without masking (and meds too).
    4. Lilah

      Lilah Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Can not masking tinnitus worsen tinnitus? My tinnitus is louder when not using masking or music, since I focus on it more. Just curious if not masking will push my tinnitus to new boundaries of loudness.

      My T can very loud, but if I'm on a phone call or talking to someone I don't hear it. As soon as I hang up the phone, it quickly rises. Is this the same for everyone, regardless of cause of T?
    5. Pax

      Pax Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noice induced
      I realise that this is an old thread but I might as well add my experience.

      Mine too is super-high pitched. After having had quite a good period it's much worse again (no new sound trauma). I'm scared that I'm doing something mentally wrong and my thinking follows the same lines as @Lilah's. I can also relate to your experience regarding phone calls (during longer calls I often do hear the TT at times).

      What do you end up doing regarding masking and how did it work out for you?

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