Should I Use White Noise to Mask My Buzz/Ring? Or Continue Listening to My Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by JohnCG, Jul 25, 2021.

?

Should I Mask My Tinnitus with White Noise?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Maybe

Results are only viewable after voting.
    1. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I believe you added the second part of your post after I had responded to the first.

      Please note the following:

      When a person habituates, and I feel confident you will one day, there will be no need to place fingers in your ears to stop the low level drone you refer to. The more attention you give it the more noticeable its presence will be. The idea is to use low level sound enrichment as I've mentioned and in time your brain will learn to accept it and no longer will it be of such significance. One shouldn't try to stop the noise, as this will not help the habituation process, nor use any form of masking to facilitate cancelling it out.

      Giving the headphones to your girlfriend to listen doesn't mean much. As I have mentioned many times in this forum, tinnitus is mostly mental. Learning to habituate is a process and it takes time but for most people it is achievable even when it is severe like mine. My ENT consultant and Hearing Therapist have said I have a severe form of it. It has large fluctuations in intensity: completely silent, mild, moderate and severe. It has improved over the years since I had my second noise trauma in 2008, but still take Clonazepam occasionally when it is severe. This does not mean I haven't habituated.

      Please read my post: The Habituation Process as it explains it in more detail.

      I wish you well.
      Michael

      The Habituation Process | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
      • Like Like x 1
    2. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      JohnCG

      JohnCG Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Feb 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (potentially Stress)
      @Michael Leigh, thank you so much for the detailed message.

      I seem to be able to sleep well without any sound enrichment (but not in the first 3-4 months). I am currently sleeping with a Dyson fan noise due to the hot nights.

      I also had a couple of other questions which I am not sure if anyone here could support:

      HABITUATION ACCELERATION
      In terms of habitation, do you think it be slowed down if I don't use sound enrichment? My rationale is that the more I hear the buzz, the faster I will habituate...

      HEADPHONES/CONCERTS ETC
      2 different ENT doctors (and 1 audiologist - The Tinnitus Clinic) told me I was OK to continue to use headphones, going to concerts etc as before, but just to take the normal precautions (earplugs if very loud etc). Would you agree with that? I obviously don't want to further impact my ears

      TINNITUS STOPPED FOR 1 SECOND
      During this 6 months, it happened for a couple of times (including this week) my tinnitus stopped for a second in one of the ears, and then slowly restarted... it was a bliss of silence... is this a good sign?

      BLOOD PRESSURE
      My blood pressure has been really high due to stress, and I have a theory that might be linked to the tinnitus... Any opinion here? At night when I am tired and sleepy, my tinnitus gets quieter, so I have the theory that might be connected to my blood pressure...

      Thank you so much,
      John
       
    3. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Thank you for your kind comments @JohnCG.
      Habituation cannot be rushed. Please read my post in the link above: The Habituation Process. I advise you not to sleep in silence. Use low level sound enrichment preferably using a sound machine.
      ENT doctors are physicians. They treat underlying medical problems that cause tinnitus but they do not treat tinnitus. Most (but not all) know very little about it because it's not their area of expertise. They are telling you what you want to hear. If you use headphones even at low volume, you risk making the tinnitus worse especially if it was noise induced. Even if the tinnitus wasn't noise induced I advise not to use headphones.

      Some Audiologists that practice tinnitus management with patients have tinnitus. However, some are not aware that headphones can make tinnitus worse for some people. It is a risk using them. Do you really want take that sort of a chance with your health? Remember, if the tinnitus increases due to headphone use it is unlikely to return to its previous baseline level. Type Headphones in the search box at the top of this page and read the posts, from members that regret returning to using headphones because their tinnitus increased.
      You are still in the early stages of tinnitus. It is a good sign but read my post: New to Tinnitus, What to Do?
      Blood pressure can affect tinnitus. If it is controlled with medication it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Tinnitus can fluctuate a lot in the first 6 to 12 months then usually it will settle down in time.

      Hope this helps.
      All the best

      Michael

      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    4. mcomeaux
      Cowboy

      mcomeaux Member

      Location:
      Maryland, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ear infections, unknown
      @JohnCG, I agree with lots of the replies that are saying to not mask it all the time because your brain will get used to it. At the same time, I would recommend using it at night to help you sleep if it starts to interfere with that. Not being well-rested will probably stress you out even more. Other than that I would try not to use it.
       
      • Like Like x 2
      • Agree Agree x 1
    5. Oabmarcus

      Oabmarcus Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/30/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress and years of using earbuds/headphones
      Mask in the acute stages during the onset months. Once you have no issue with sleeping, slowly ween off it by turning down the volume until you get to silence and can sleep in silence with your tinnitus.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    6. Simon85

      Simon85 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably noise exposure, but unknown.
      This was my experience too. Low level sound enrichment would cause me to wake up with nasty spikes in the beginning. I find that my ears are generally quieter in the morning after a good night sleep and no agitation / sound enrichment.
       
      • Useful Useful x 1
    7. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      @Ben Winders, I use my hearing aids from time to time, with sound generator - using pink noise. I never ever mask it, and I do not recommend masking. Nor do any therapists/specialists that I know. You should set the therapy sound just below your tinnitus.
       
    8. Ben Winders
      Pensive

      Ben Winders Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic
      Problem is that my drone/buzzing generally only needs a very, very low volume drone to completely stop it. I get the entire theory that @Michael Leigh is always bringing forth of setting white noise just below the tinnitus volume, but for (my) drone/buzz, this theory does not fly as almost inaudible white noise (buzzing, deep space sounds on YouTube) make my buzz/drone completely stop, not masked. (I know what masking is as I also have electric buzz tinnitus. For that kind of tinnitus, the Michael Leigh theory is applicable.)
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    9. Wrfortiscue
      Probing

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Is your electric buzz tinnitus super high frequency? Do you ever feel your head buzzing from it? Lol
       
    10. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      My advice on using white noise to treat tinnitus and hyperacusis is not actually a theory because in the majority of cases it works. It must be administered correctly using white noise generators and not listening to it through headphones or speakers. White noise through these devices sounds crude and harsh, when compared to sound generators worn behind the ear or in-ear types that fit in the entrance to the ear canal. I have both. Once you hear white noise generators, you will soon realize, the sound is smooth and regulated without a hint of harshness.

      You will probably find white noise generators to be far better than listening to sounds from YouTube. You should use white noise generators that have an independent volume control and the fixed type that is set by an audiologist.

      Michael
       
    11. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      @Ben Winders, you should use white noise generators that have an independent volume control and not the fixed type that is set by an audiologist.
       
    12. JHH

      JHH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1994
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise-Induced
      @Michael Leigh, I recently had a hearing test and do have hearing loss (I'm 65). I've scheduled an appointment with an audiologist to discuss hearing aid options.

      Are the white noise generators you are talking about a separate device from a hearing aid or can they be the incorporated in the same device?

      Truthfully, I can live with the hearing loss that I currently have. My biggest concern now is trying to find a way to habituate the recent spike I had (about a month ago).

      Maybe all I should talk to the audiologist about is the white noise generator.
       
    13. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hearing loss can cause tinnitus and often improves with hearing aids.
      White noise generators look very similar to hearing aids but they are a completely different device. They emit a white noise, to treat tinnitus and hyperacusis if it is present. They don't assist in improving hearing by amplifying external sound into the ear.

      White noise generators can also be fitted into hearing aids and are known as dual purpose units. The white noise can be used in conjunction with the hearing aids and can also be switched off. My BTE (Behind The Ear) white noise generators are dual-purpose units that incorporate hearing aids. Since I don't have hearing loss, my Audiologist disabled the hearing aids via computer when I was being fitted.
      Your hearing needs to be at its optimum and if hearing aid(s) are required to do this then I advise that you wear them, otherwise your tinnitus is likely to increase. Spikes in tinnitus usually occur for a reason. Either it is further exposure to loud sounds or more likely it's hyperacusis that hasn't been successfully treated. Since you have had noise induced tinnitus for quite some time, I believe your spike is related to an oversensitivity to sound that could indicate hyperacusis.

      Michael
       
      • Like Like x 1
    14. JHH

      JHH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1994
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise-Induced
      @Michael Leigh, well, I got my hearing aids yesterday (Oticon miniRITE R) and they did help my tinnitus a lot. I was hoping that I could habituate without needing the amplification that the hearing aids provide and just use the Sound Therapy option that is also part of the hearing aids. Another option I thought of was just using the amplification mode "part time" in an effort to habituate, but the audiologist said that was not a good idea and they should be worn pretty much all day.

      I was wondering if you think I should just try the Sound Therapy functionality in an effort to habituate or bite the bullet and commit to the hearing aids?

      Habituation seemed like a good option because I still need to deal with the noise when I sleep.

      Thanks.
       
    15. Manex

      Manex Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced 1995, Azithromycin 2018
      Based on your situation, don't mask it. Work on habituating by simply not giving it active attention or emotional attention. But also please avoid loud sounds and ototoxic medications. You have the warning now. That's where you're at. The warning shot. Now you know that you have the potential for this, so just adjust your life accordingly. Get foam earplugs to wear when around loud sounds. I would skip loud concerts all together due to bone conduction. Avoid -mycin antibiotics.

      So take action to protect further damage. You will ironically actually have better hearing than your friends in 25 years if you do.
       
      • Winner Winner x 1
    16. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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

      Since you are under the care of an audiologist, I think it's best you follow his advice regarding the wearing of your dual purpose hearing aids. Habituation takes time to achieve so give yourself time. Please read both my posts on habituation, which you will find on my started threads.

      All the best.
      Michael
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    17. Wrfortiscue
      Probing

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      How would you say it helped your tinnitus?
       
    18. JHH

      JHH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1994
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise-Induced
      I have moderate to severe hearing loss and the amplification must be picking up the sounds I'm missing. This is mainly when listening to the radio or watching TV. Without the hearing aids those sounds are pretty muffled and my tinnitus is fairly loud... Now I can hear them clearly and am able to turn down the volume on the radio/TV.

      Without the hearing aids I would say my tinnitus is in the 5-7 range.

      With hearing aids it's 2-3 most of the time.

      Note, in silence they don't work as well. It's only been a few days, so we shall see.
       
      • Friendly Friendly x 1
    19. Wrfortiscue
      Probing

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      That’s awesome. It gives me hope. Do they have built in noise generators? I think my ENT said the hearing aids connect the missing frequencies so your brain calms down a bit on the noise.
       
    20. JHH

      JHH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1994
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise-Induced
      Yes. Mine have room for 3 noise generators. The audiologist put three in there - white noise, ocean waves and I think pink noise. Not sure she really understands how they should be programmed but I'll find out in a couple weeks when I have my next appointment. They aren't quite loud enough right now, but I think that is by design.
       
      • Friendly Friendly x 1
    21. Wrfortiscue
      Probing

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Awesome man. That’s good news.
       
    22. Ben Winders
      Pensive

      Ben Winders Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic
      For my drone tinnitus I switched from hearing aids (with white noise) to Aftershokz bone conducting headphones.

      1000 times cheaper and 1000 times more effective to cancel my drone tinnitus.

      + added (very important) bonus: the Aftershokz are worn ON the ear, not INSIDE the ear (like hearing aids), which results in much better connection with the people and sounds around you + at least the sound of your own voice/chewing does not sound louder than it should.
       
    23. Ultra

      Ultra Member

      Location:
      Europe..
      Tinnitus Since:
      2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I don't think that's true. Today, nearly 100% of the population uses earbuds or headphones on a regular basis, even if it's just to talk over the phone. In fact, I don't know anyone who doesn't, except maybe old retired people, who never use any smartphones.

      That would mean that 100% of the population should have tinnitus, and that's certainly not the case. We know for certain that there are plenty of other causes for tinnitus outside of headphones/earbuds. Just because someone has been using earbuds/headphones doesn't mean for sure that it must be the likely cause, and not stress/ototoxic meds/infection/etc... (unless there has been a strong pattern of abuse, constant high volume, etc).

      I don't see why all other possible causes should be discarded in presence of (non-abusive) headphone use.
       
    24. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      I agree that headphones probably aren't the cause behind every case of tinnitus, but...
      We know for a fact that, while everyone develops hearing loss to a certain degree, not everyone develops tinnitus, and that likely has to do with the predisposition in the brain and genes. But I'd say that most everyone that frequently uses headphones throughout their life will have a more hearing loss than those who have not. This is just my own experience, which may or may not reflect the common man, but I have a very noticeable hearing loss in my left ear, and it is that ear which I used my computer headset on for most of my teenage years(used my right to hear the environment).

      If we have tinnitus, especially tinnitus which we know are noise induced, I think we should quit headphones forever or at least reduce its use to work calls if we're forced to. It simply ain't worth it. And even if we use them on "low volume" a simple mishap and a split second of +100 dB sound could ruin our lives completely. That is not as easy with speakers as the sound waves dissipate in the environment.

      I do believe we're going to see more and more cases of tinnitus in the future since more people use headsets and such. This digital age of connectivity has just started and it may take a few decades for the results to show. But that's just my speculation.
       
    25. Eleanor89
      Approved

      Eleanor89 Member

      Location:
      Barrow in Furness
      Tinnitus Since:
      1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hello @Michael Leigh,

      Just to let you know, my in-ear sound generators will be with me soon.

      I’m the meantime I’ve been desensitising with daily trips to the beach…. And lots of sound in the house.

      I’ve even ventured to the supermarket and hairdresser without earplugs. Little steps..

      So fingers crossed these generators will help immensely.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    26. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      With respect you have taken what I have said regarding headphones use and tinnitus completely out of context. I am saying: People that already have noise-induced tinnitus, particularly if it was originally caused by headphones use which is often the case with this type of tinnitus, risk making it worse if they continue to use any type of headphones even at low volume.

      After habituation has been reached, if they return to using any type of headphone even at low volume, they risk making the tinnitus worse. Not everyone with noise-induced tinnitus will make their tinnitus worse by using headphones but the risk is there. Type headphones into the search box at the top of this page and read members posts, who have returned to using headphones and regretted it because their tinnitus has increased.

      I did not say people in the general population that use headphones or earbuds risk developing tinnitus. The only way they will develop tinnitus using these devices is by listening to audio at too high a volume.

      You are correct that tinnitus can be caused by many things. However, the most common cause is exposure to loud noise. Typically, it is listening to audio at too high a volume through headphones, earbuds and headset without realizing it. This is closely followed by attending places such as nightclubs, concerts where music is played at high volume levels.

      Michael
       
    27. PortugalTheMan
      Shocked

      PortugalTheMan Member

      Location:
      Portugal
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Anxiety / Maybe years listening to music on headphones
      @JohnCG, how are you? You got your tinnitus at about the same time as me.

      All the ENTs I went to said it was from stress, and here it is after 9 months still getting worse.
       
    28. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      That is good news @Eleanor89. You are posh having the NHS supplying you with in-ear sound generators. They are smaller and more discreet than behind the ear types but are more delicate so handle them carefully. You are doing the right thing by going out shopping and taking trips to the beach. Using sound enrichment at home is a good idea but remember to keep the volume low, so it's not drawing attention to itself.

      Using white noise generators will help to desensitize your auditory system and will help with the habituation process which will take time. In addition to this, please remember what I have said in many of my posts and advise you to read them again. If possible print and refer to them often.

      Whilst sound therapy is good, it needs to be backed up and reinforced with positive thinking because tinnitus is mostly mental, as mentioned in my posts: How to Habituate to Tinnitus and The Habituation Process. This means engaging in the things you like to do or starting a new hobby. Over time your focus on tinnitus will become less.

      It is also important to try and not discuss tinnitus on social media sites. I know the camaraderie and feel good factor that can exist when corresponding with others affected by the condition, particularly when one is not having a good day. However, the purpose here is to takeaway your focus from the tinnitus. This often becomes harder if one talks about tinnitus and the way it affects them. For this reason I advise anyone having treatment for tinnitus not to discuss it on social media sites.

      Best of luck and take care,
      Michael
       
    29. Sandra Menzie

      Sandra Menzie Member

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss left ear. 60%
      White noise doesn't work for me. Makes my tinnitus worse. Even when on low.
       
    30. Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      Bumping this thread.

      I am using a Sound Oasis speaker with an app. It absolutely helps me sleep. However, I do find my ears to be agitated in the morning. It usually settles down pretty fast when I've turned the speaker off. @Michael Leigh was referencing the "harsh" quality of white noise on apps etc. This is how I feel about it - "harsh". Problem is, I need it to sleep but I don't like the feeling in the morning. It's as though the tiny poor quality speaker has been irritating my ears all night long. I'm not really read to accept that I need white noise generators.

      Any suggestions? I have found that moving the speaker to a more central location and not 6 inches from my ear helps a bit but I have to turn the volume up.
       
Loading...

Share This Page