Tinnitus Masking: In-Ear Maskers

Discussion in 'Treatments' started by aapeli, Mar 9, 2011.

    1. Poseidon65

      Poseidon65 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert
      Has anyone here used in-ear maskers for an extended period of time (e.g. like daily use for several years)?

      If so, have you found your experience with the maskers to be positive?

      I'm considering getting some maskers, and would love to hear if they've worked long-term for anyone here.
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    2. Rio80

      Rio80 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis + Neurotoxicity
      I don't know if hearing aids with maskers qualify as in-ear maskers but ever since I started wearing mine, it's been a lifesaver for me. I've een wearing mine for about a year. I have moderate to severe hearing loss so just amplifying external sounds helps with the tinnitus and with my ears not feeling as full. The maskers help as well. They don't mask it completely as my tinnitus is very loud so I still suffer... just not as much. I can cope better. I don't feel they've made my tinnitus worse at all.

      Before the hearing aids I had to have background noise on 24/7... literally or I'd go crazy. And although I still need it on some days, there are other days I don't. I wear Signia Pure 312 7nx.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. lis

      lis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      severe 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      What does your tinnitus sound like? Mine is loud, multi tone, and oscillating, so I wonder if your hearing aid method would mask mine or if it works better for pure tone tinnitus?
       
    4. Rio80

      Rio80 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis + Neurotoxicity
      Mine is a symphony of sounds. High pitched hissing, some wooshing, roaring... it's all over the place. And it's also in my head... not just in my ear. It's very bad and it's always changing in frequency and intensity.

      My 2 cents: I think that for a hearing aid with a masker to provide any level of relief to your tinnitus you need to have some hearing loss (moderate or above...). It's not just the masking but the amplification of external sound which both together bring relief. Especially since there are different program settings on the hearing aid which on bad days I can adjust to increase amplification so that makes my ears feel less full of pressure.

      If you have hearing loss I say go for it. I was scared for years to try it because I was afraid it would make my mild hyperacusis or anxiety worse (hyperaware of all sounds around me) but it never did. These hearing aids are very sophisticated in their technology and with a good audiologist, they can be set so that it only amplifies the frequencies you're deficient in without it causing discomfort. However, if you don't have hearing loss and just are going for it just for the makers... I don't know how much good it will do, to be honest.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    5. Poseidon65

      Poseidon65 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert
      A month later, I wanted to bump this question. Has anyone here had long-term success with in-ear maskers?
       
    6. an1992

      an1992 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Maybe antibiotics
      @Rio80 I have moderate to severe hearing loss in my 250/500 Hz frequencies, then it goes up at 1000 Hz, and from there I have "normal hearing".

      Do you think they could help me?

      What is driving me mad are the several brutal spikes I have during the week. I can reach suicidal level of tinnitus for days so I'm willing to try anything, at least to cope better with my "baseline" tinnitus.
       
    7. Poseidon65

      Poseidon65 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert
      Out of curiosity, do all in-ear maskers play their own internal sounds, or do some allow you to play your own sounds (e.g. by somehow uploading your sounds onto the device)?

      I feel like it if I could play my own sounds, then I could better calibrate / dial in the sound which masks my tinnitus most effectively (i.e. the most effective masking for a given level of masking loudness).
       
    8. cjbhab
      Fine

      cjbhab Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concerts, Sinuses, Ear infection
      Oh my god.
      I got in ear maskers today, this is amazing.
      I don’t know how I lived without these.

      No more scrambling to turn on a fan or play background music. No more anxiety about working in office and other places in silence. This is the first day in 2 weeks I didn’t have a bad headache. These are a game changer. Yes it’s only day 1 but I’m confident I will be a lot happier with these.

      Also as a note, my audiogram is pretty good. No dips below 20 dB, my hearing aid does not have amplification, just masking.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    9. Karno

      Karno Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Clubbing as a student, and then made worse by antibiotics
      I’ve been wearing in-ear maskers 24/7 for about 6 years. Absolute life saviour. I couldn’t live without them and have habituated to the sound and volume which I could never do with the ringing on its own. I can up the volume of the white noise in case of a spike so they don’t bother me. I know some people fear the dependency but it’s no different to wearing glasses. Buying the batteries is a bit annoying though.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    10. Poseidon65

      Poseidon65 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert
      @cjbhab, @Karno your posts have convinced me to try using maskers. Glad they've been so helpful for you!
       
    11. Poseidon65

      Poseidon65 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert
      @Karno when you say 24/7, do you wear the maskers to sleep as well? Or take them out and pop them in after waking up?
       
    12. cjbhab
      Fine

      cjbhab Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concerts, Sinuses, Ear infection
      Day 2 for me. I have rechargeable ones.
      I took them out at night to charge and then slept with noise machine like I normally did.

      Day 2 is still great relief, it has rid me of anxiety and head pain.

      My masker can connect to my phone so I can play music or any other sounds I like.
       
    13. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I buy my batteries from eBay for very reasonable price...
       
    14. Karno

      Karno Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Clubbing as a student, and then made worse by antibiotics
      @Poseidon65 yea I wear mine to sleep too. I had insomnia before the maskers, even with a noise machine on. So a real game changer.

      @Michael Leigh thanks for the heads up on eBay!
       
    15. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      You are welcome Karno. Popular hearing aid and white noise generator/masker battery size is (13). There are various brands, I use Rayovac. They come in a pack of [6] and usually buy sixty at a time for around £13.45 /$18.27 including shipping. I also have the smaller in-ear white noise generators that use a battery size (10). Some hearing aids use this size too. Price and delivery is the same.

      Michael
       
    16. Lilah
      Blah

      Lilah Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @cjbhab @Karno What brand and model hearing aids/maskers are you using?

      @Karno are your maskers designed for sleep as well?

      Thanks!
       
    17. lis

      lis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      severe 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      What are the in ear maskers that you use? Do you use slight amplification as well as the sound generator feature? How do you handle protecting your ears, because you can't wear earplugs or cover your ears with hands when there's an offensive siren, barking, car horn, etc.

      I've been in Hell since my ears were broken and am relieved to read your post that long-term masking is a life saving option. Great comparison to eyeglasses.
       
    18. Karno

      Karno Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Clubbing as a student, and then made worse by antibiotics
      To be honest the practitioner at the place I got them from had little experience in maskers. He was just the cheapest guy I could find that offered them.

      He advised against sleeping with them in but he didn’t actually know what harm that would do.

      If anyone does know of any harm please let me know!

      Mine are made by Phonak. Not sure of the model.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    19. lis

      lis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      severe 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      @Karno & @Michael Leigh,

      How do you protect your ears against loud noise when wearing in-ear maskers? Since you can't use earplugs, and you can't use fingers to plug your ears when coming across abrupt noises like sirens, barking, horns, screams?
       
    20. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      White noise generators are not maskers. The tinnitus should never be masked and you don't need to protect your ears when wearing them. My advice is to contact an Audiologist that specialises in treating tinnitus and hyperacusis so you are under their care and taught how to use white noise generators correctly.

      Go to my started threads and read my posts on TRT. They also include information on how white noise generators are used.

      Michael
       
    21. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      It is not a good idea to sleep with white noise generators. They are not maskers. The ear and auditory system need a rest. At night, use a sound machine by the bedside for sound enrichment and play this below the level of the tinnitus until morning.
       
    22. cjbhab
      Fine

      cjbhab Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concerts, Sinuses, Ear infection
      I am using a Signia Styletto Connect.

      I'm on day 4 and very pleased so far. 4 days with no headaches or pressure in my head/ears.

      I have been wearing them in my home, I took them out to workout at the gym, play hockey on the outdoor rink and for sleeping/showering.

      They are amazing while watching tv and working on my computer.

      The day before I got them, my tinnitus was the worst it has ever been. It may have been due to stress though, because we had a storm with 90MPH wind and had some damages.

      https://www.signia-hearing.ca/tinnitus/
       
      • Like Like x 1
    23. lis

      lis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      severe 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      How do you protect your ears from loud noises with your maskers in?
       
      • Like Like x 1
    24. cjbhab
      Fine

      cjbhab Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concerts, Sinuses, Ear infection
      I wouldn’t have my masker in if I was going to be around loud noises.

      The only places I’d be around loud noises is if I went to a restaurant or cinema or concert. In those cases I’d ditch the masker and wear earplugs.

      If you wanted to wear the masker you could use ear muffs I suppose.

      Working a desk job during COVID-19, loud noise doesn’t come up much.
       
    25. Karno

      Karno Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Clubbing as a student, and then made worse by antibiotics
      @Michael Leigh wow I’ve been sleeping in them for six years... how much damage have I done?! Is there anything I can read on letting the auditory system rest?

      And how are in-ear WNGs different to having sound enrichment in the room? I have mine at a volume where I can still hear the tinnitus.

      The difference the WNGs make to how much I sleep is so noticeable that I wonder which is worse... letting the auditory system sleep or letting the rest of the brain sleep.
       
    26. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I said it is not a good idea to sleep with white noise generators as the ears need a rest. If you had caused any damage you would have noticed it by now.
      There is no difference. If you want to sleep with WNGs and you have no adverse effects then continue to do so, but It's something I don't advise.
      Each person is different so experiment and see what works for you. The advice I give in this forum is advice, not absolute.

      Michael
       
    27. Jack V

      Jack V Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      My audiologist (who is top notch) encourages the use of maskers while sleeping if they're helpful.

      Distinguishing between the "auditory system sleeping" vs "the rest of the brain sleeping" may be a false dichotomy - if you find a noticeable difference sleeping with WNGs, that's the most important thing.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    28. Poseidon65

      Poseidon65 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert
      I started a trial of hearing aids with a masking function a few days ago. No question these things are very helpful.

      I'm using just a slight amount of amplification and a slight masking noise. This has really helped take my focus off the tinnitus. I can still hear it if I listen for it, but it's not front and center as it was before.
       
    29. Jrblovsky

      Jrblovsky Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Christmas 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      NOISE/Menieres Who knows
      I have bad losses there too. I am unable to mask my tinnitus being it's so loud.

      Does your hearing distort when listening to test tones?
       
    30. T Toledo OH

      T Toledo OH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/26/20
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely loud noise and earbuds
      I wear my WNGs all day for TRT and sleep with my Widex hearing aids playing the Zen tones. I do not use amplification. My hearing is fine. I got the Widex’s for $500 used on eBay. They are $6000 new. Insane.
       
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