What is Reactive Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Michael Leigh, Sep 27, 2016.

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    1. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      What is Reactive Tinnitus?

      A word often used in tinnitus forums these days is: “Reactive” tinnitus. People affected will say something like: “ I have habituated but my tinnitus is reactive to certain sounds” or “ I have reactive tinnitus”. I believe there is some confusion here and will explain.

      Someone that has tinnitus especially when caused by loud noise exposure hyperacusis (sensitivity to certain sounds) is often present. If hyperacusis isn’t treated the auditory system will always be sensitive to certain sounds even after habituation has been reached. It is for this reason the use of white noise generators (wngs) is recommended to help desensitize the auditory system. White noise generators are used as part of TRT (tinnitus retraining therapy) and must be adjusted correctly as not to irritate the inner ear (cochlear) when wearing them. This treatment is best done under the care of a Hearing Therapist.

      When a person says they have “reactive tinnitus” in my opinion, they are not aware they have hyperacusis, which is causing their tinnitus to spike when they hear certain sounds. Although hyperacusis can improve by itself with time, without treatment there is no guarantee. For this reason I often recommend a person to use sound enrichment (sound therapy) as it helps to desensitize the auditory system.

      Inside the human body is noisy place but our brain has learned to filter out much of this sound so it doesn’t focus on it. Anyone with tinnitus that sleeps in a quiet room, risks making their tinnitus more intrusive as the brain and auditory system never switch off. If the brain hears silence while we sleep, it has the ability to increase its background activity, and at the same time increasing the tinnitus making it louder and more intrusive. A person might not notice this immediately as it’s usually a gradual process.

      When we are in deep sleep a sound machine supplies the brain and auditory system with sound enrichment. Over time, the tinnitus is pushed further into the background making it less intrusive and will help make the path to habituation easier. It is usually best to have the sound machine playing in the background at a low level (slightly below the tinnitus) without drawing attention to itself unlike a radio. For this reason music is not the best source to use at night as it draws attention to itself.

      Michael
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    2. Jomo

      Jomo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/4/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      going for a rim shot on the snare drum.
      good post...i agree with this...although new to it, i believe keeping sounds around me has helped a lot
       
    3. stophiss

      stophiss Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      too full a life
      Mike,
      I currently sleep with no background sound in quiet. I don't have trouble sleeping as my tinnitus isn't too intrusive or...I have always been an easy sleeper and I just go to sleep even if my T is moderate. I don't recall losing sleep because of my tinnitus. I am not sure if I am even fully habituated to my tinnitus. I tune it out a good portion of the day depending how idle or focused I am on a project. For example when I was watching the pres debate last night and texting my friends for their input, its like I didn't have tinnitus.

      Do you have a suggestion for a sound machine...something cost effective to place on say a night stand or dresser?
       
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @stophiss
      It sounds like you have low tinnitus and are able to live with it quite comfortably. Try to keep it that way by limiting headphone use or better not using them at all. Keep away from loud noise and if you go to clubs always have noise reducing earplugs with you - I don't mean the foam type as they block out all the sound.

      It is good that you are interested in using a sound machine and I advise that you do. Sound Oasis make the best, as they are made for people with tinnitus: http://www.soundoasis.com/ You get what you pay for and if you want quality you won't find better than sound oasis sound machines. They make quite a few. Model S-650 is popular and the best is S-5000.
      Best of luck
      Michael
       
      Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
    5. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996

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