To Mask or Not to Mask... That Is the Question!

Discussion in 'Support' started by Glenn, Feb 19, 2014.

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    1. Glenn
      Balanced

      Glenn Member

      Location:
      North Syracuse, New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/06/2014
      Thought I might get some feedback on this from all your wonderful people out there!

      I work in IT and in a very quiet environment for 8 hours a day. When my T was really bad, i would turn on this noise generator online and it would make the day more bearable. Over the last couple days ive tried to ween off of the noise generator in the hopes to habituate more to the T. However, i'm having a REALLY BAD T day today and im really torn. I wanna put the generator on, and yet i don't :(

      Any thoughts?
       
    2. Tamalak
      Volatile

      Tamalak Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/2011
      My T has been quieter since I stopped using a fan at night.
       
    3. Sherri786
      Dreaming

      Sherri786 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      I would put the generator on. I always have " tinnitus sound therapy" water sound
      From YouTube on in my room. It didn't hinder my habituation......I think.
       
    4. Glenn
      Balanced

      Glenn Member

      Location:
      North Syracuse, New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/06/2014
      I just worry about the one day when i cant have sounds on. Like if i spend the night out of town and forget a fan or don't have access to the internet or something for the sound generator. I know that's rare but im really trying to put forth a best effect to get used to this T.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    5. Misery
      Happy

      Misery Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 26, 2013
      I would use it as little as possible. I've only used ambient sounds from an app when sleeping. Now I'm at the point where I either only use it to get to sleep or I don't bother with it at all. I'd consider myself pretty well habituated.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    6. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      I don't know if there is any evidence that masking inhibits habituation (but not sure). Also, if you are masking properly, your sound should be low enough that you still can hear your tinnitus.

      My routine is: If I am having a loud day, and I feel my tinnitus ramping up my anxiety reaction to it, I mask. And I have slept with a fan on low for decades, long before I had tinnitus. Now I also sleep with a sound pillow or some soft nature white noise from my phone app. But at times when my T is quiet (including at night, when sleeping), I don't mask.

      I figure masking is one thing we can do for ourselves that doesn't involve drugs, supplements or any invasive procedures. And once you get a noise app on your phone, you can pretty much mask anywhere. I just was on a camping trip last weekend and was masking at night in the wilderness.
       
    7. TomT
      Balanced

      TomT Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      I masked at first. I tried the fan and also a pink noise cd. They both work pretty well. However, one day I decided to stop masking my T because I felt dependent on it. I want to get use to it and sleep without masking. It was hard at first, but once you are tired or sleepy enough, you don't pay attention to it anymore. You just fall asleep. I have achieved this and so can you.
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
    8. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      To mask or not to mask ...

      Depends on what you are trying to accomplish!

      sp
       
    9. Glenn
      Balanced

      Glenn Member

      Location:
      North Syracuse, New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/06/2014
      umm.. trying to accomplish a better life in the long run i guess.
       
    10. daedalus

      daedalus Member

      Location:
      Brussels
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2007
      I masked a lot for a long period. Then realised i didn't need it anymore. It wasn't alway true masking before my t is hard to mask. It was often just distracting. Broadband noise irritates me so i used music, nature noises and movies.

      Just put the generator on. Or put some soft music. Or some nature noises. And don't ask yourself too many questions.

      I don't believe a single second masking prevent you from "habituating". I know some very opinionated people do and will lecture you but my take is simply to ignore these people and live your life.

      (not related to you Glenn but i smell a s**tstorm incoming ;) )
       
    11. George Brady
      Crappy

      George Brady Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1985
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      bad meds
      I don't maskduring the day only at night when I first go to sleep. unless I'm having a bad day then I'm the mask just to keep the peace of mind
       
    12. Glenn
      Balanced

      Glenn Member

      Location:
      North Syracuse, New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/06/2014
      I certainly didnt mean to start a fight with all this. I hope it wasn't
      my thread. I think we need hugs all the way around :)
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    13. daedalus

      daedalus Member

      Location:
      Brussels
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2007
      Don't worry Glenn, your question is legitimate.

      It is just that three subjects raise passions in the little world of the tinnitus internet:

      -The theory of masking and the best strategies in that regard
      -The merits of some habituation therapies. (half of the internet bandwith has been used on this topic)
      -What to do in case of severe hyperacusis

      They often end up in harsh fights. Being an old timer i find those comical but it can be a little bit distressing at first.

      On a more positive note i notice your t doesn't prevent you to work which means you are busy in spite of the t. Which mean i think you will be fine (i mean much less bothered with your t) after some time. I just don't know when. Do what simplifies your life. :)
       
    14. Glenn
      Balanced

      Glenn Member

      Location:
      North Syracuse, New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/06/2014
      I agree. I think in time things will go back to somewhat normal for me. However, I cant understand in this day and age with medical science that they cant find good treatments for this kind of thing. Its very frustrating when I see heart transplants, facial reconstruction, curing some types of cancer.. etc etc going on all over the world. So why cant they do anything for a little ringing in my ears?? lol I know im ranting.. but isnt that what this forum is for? :)
       
      • Agree Agree x 3
    15. daedalus

      daedalus Member

      Location:
      Brussels
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2007
      You can stroll on the research pages of the forum. If tinnitus is an elusive target for underfunded means, some of the research out there is impressive. I was for example very impressed by the (few) surgeries which implanted electrodes right on the auditory cortex to jam the tinnitus signal. It worked more or less on half of the implantees. Some of them had complete silence.

      Some teams are doing thorough brain mapping of tinnitus and trying to understand the different types of t linked to different brain configurations.

      There are also research on drugs taming acute tinnitus. It's in infancy but very interesting. even for me who is not suffering much form his tinnitus now.

      Anyway i am certain you will end up doing fine. Don't be impatient and don't hesitate to pamper yourself with whatever help you. :)

      Edit: a mobile phone with sound files can be used a portable noise generator. Plus you can mix and download your favourite sounds here: http://www.ata.org/sound
       
      • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    16. katriina
      Frustrated

      katriina Member

      Location:
      finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      I mask my tinnitus at night with white noise and music and during the day I like to be in environment that isn't quiet... I don't even consider yet of giving up masking because that is the only thing that keeps me sane! At this point I think the most important thing is to get good sleep instead of worrying anything else. I don't know how I can ever habituate to my T because it fluctuates all the time so what's the point :(

      I wonder this every single day! T has been problem as long as people have been existed and still there isn't any sort of cure... I really hope that they are now on the right track with this! I mean cure for tinnitus just CAN'T stay as total mystery for medical science at nowadays!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    17. mikey13
      Mellow

      mikey13 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/ 2014
      I don't mask very often. just when i'm here on my laptop,or sleeping at night. all during the day,and especially at work, I don't mask it at all. some days it's a bit maddening,but i get through,which helps my psyche a lot.
       
      • Funny Funny x 1
    18. Tom KW
      Fine

      Tom KW Member

      Location:
      Connecticut
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Hey Glenn;
      when my T first started, all I wanted to do was mask it away, but I found it to be a pain in the neck carrying around my phone and headphones getting tangled up everywhere, so I decided to do without masking, at night I sleep in a perfectly quiet room, my T is there singing away in my ear, but like I said once before on this forum I treat my T no differently then I would be treating the sound of an air-conditioner running in the window, I believe it's not the sound that keeps people awake rather than the anxiety of wanting it to go away.
      by the way, don't do what I do, sometimes my T goes away, well I think it does, and like a fool I'll stop and listen for it, of course then it comes back.
      good luck!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    19. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      Dr. Jack Vernon, the father of modern tinnitus masking, defined masking as the immediate achievement of some degree of relief from tinnitus through the use of external sound. Inherent in that definition is the fact that the external sound does not need to totally cover the tinnitus in order to mask. (Source: Tinnitus Today, September 2000 - p 8)

      One of the problems in discussing masking lies in the fact that there are a number of other definitions that are just as valid as Dr. Vernon's.

      sp
       
    20. Hattukoira
      Tired

      Hattukoira Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2010
      I mask my T only when I'm at computer and sometimes when I'm reading a book, newspaper etc.

      I don't like to mask my T when I'm sleeping because I feel like my ears need some rest too.
       
    21. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Hard to imagine that this question would generate a s**tstorm, but you never know what gets people going. Which puzzles me, given we all just want the same thing: relief from our tinnitus. And I think we all agree that what may work for some does not work for all. Although I don't think any of us would recommend standing next to a speaker at a loud concert... :arghh:

      Anyway, I think @daedalus said it best: Do what simplifies your life. :)
       
    22. here2help

      here2help Member

      Glenn,

      The use of soft background sound to help relieve tinnitus distress goes back to ancient times. The whispered incantation was the go-to choice in Babylon. Today, the use of a fan, an environmental sound CD with wind, rain, or forest sounds, or even a sound generator like the one you have, is a helpful, common sense approach.

      A well-known doctor in the tinnitus community uses a sound machine set at a low volume in the office to blend in with the sound of that doctor's tinnitus. In Tinnitus Retraining Therapy a low level of background sound, called sound enrichment, is used. A program known as Progressive Tinnitus Management, employed by the Veteran’s Administration in the U.S., uses soothing sound to help relieve stress due to tinnitus and music to help reduce the contrast between a patient’s tinnitus and his immediate acoustic environment.

      Masking as a treatment for tinnitus goes back to the late 1920s. Full masking has been defined as an approach used to make tinnitus inaudible or change its characteristics. As Daedalus wrote, it can be difficult to completely mask tinnitus and trying to do so can be as distracting as the tinnitus.

      The idea that full masking prevents habituation of tinnitus is a theory, and while it may sound reasonable to some and less reasonable to others, little research has been done on tinnitus patients to support or reject the theory.

      Glenn, it sounds like one concern you have is you don’t want to feel dependent on the noise generator. Is the generator loud enough to fully mask your tinnitus or do you keep it at a low volume to take the edge off tinnitus?

      here2help
       
    23. Glenn
      Balanced

      Glenn Member

      Location:
      North Syracuse, New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/06/2014
      Its pretty much to take the edge off. I can still hear the T slightly.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    24. Carlos1

      Carlos1 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Boston
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Root Canal
      Glenn I believe in masking but just always have it at a level that you can still hear your T. What you want to achieve is having your brain pick up both sounds but eventually ignore the T.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    25. Isabella 123
      Curious

      Isabella 123 Member

      Location:
      Arlington VA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      If I had masking going on that totally covered the sound of my T, OMG it would be so loud the upstairs neighbors would complain to mgmt. I can hear my T over anything coming outta my earbuds. So I guess Dr V would approve . :D
       
    26. Joshthebear!
      Badass

      Joshthebear! Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      31.03.2013
      I usually sleep with a fan on to mask my t but lately it hasn't seemed to have as much affect do you think I should try not masking because my ears are getting used to it or could my t possibly have got worse ?
       
    27. pef

      pef Member

      Location:
      Georgia, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      3/16/2013
      Have you ever tried not masking? When I first got T I tried masking, and I gave up after about 10 days and went back to the quiet room when going to bed. I can sleep in quiet with the T. I hear it, and every night I think "There's my T," but it doesn't keep me up anymore.
       

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