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Do Tinnitus Maskers Work & What Do Sound Maskers Sound Like?

Tinnitus Maskers

Tinnitus maskers are devices that make sounds, usually white noise, or noises from nature (beaches, forests, rain, etc.) to mask the ringing in the sufferer’s head.

You may have noticed as a Tinnitus sufferer that when you are sleeping with something making white noise in the background (e.g., a fan or air-con), sleep comes to you a lot easier. This is because the exterior sound is masking the irritation that you are getting from the tinnitus.

Acoustic masker is a type of noise generating device which alleviate symptoms associated with tinnitus, the perception of a ringing or other noise in the ear which is not generated by an external sound source. This is achieved by introducing a background noise to distract the brain from perceiving tinnitus, as it occupies the same sensory receptors in the cochlea that would otherwise detect any signals from tinnitus.

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In A Hurry?

If require the Best Hearing Protection for this item, and do not want to read the entire article, below are my recommended ear protection.

Which are the best Tinnitus maskers?

For Tinnitus, the best masker is Sound Oasis Bluetooth Tinnitus Sound Therapy System.

However, this will depend on several things. If you use them a lot, for example, if it is your principal job, or perhaps just minor use. Also, if you want to use these ear plugs for other things, like listen to music, or Answer Your Phone.

There are earplug options available, for example: Convenient Fitting, Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), Long-Lasting, Flexibility, and if you want earplugs or headphones. As you can see, there is a lot in picking the best fit.

This article will discuss why this effect happens, and how it can give you some relief from your suffering, and recommending the best value Tinnitus maskers – sleeping machines and earplugs

Does Masking Help Tinnitus?

Yes, most people who suffer from tinnitus masking is a big help in reducing the problem. When there is a lot of background noise, tinnitus is not as easily heard and, at times, completely forgotten about.

When in a quiet place, for example, when trying to sleep, tinnitus maskers, which are devices designed to play sounds to mask tinnitus, can block the sounds, thus helping you to sleep. You can also get maskers you wear like earplugs so that you can have the sound blocked while you are out and about.

I have had tinnitus myself for over 30 years, and when I am in my apartment, if I put on the fan, after a few minutes, I completely forget about the problem. If someone mentions tinnitus, however, I immediately notice the ringing again.

How Does A Tinnitus Masker Work?

These products are basically a speaker, with recorded noise stored on it. These noises are white-noise, music or the sounds of nature, a beach, the forest, and babbling streams. When someone who suffers from tinnitus plays these sounds, they are usually at a level that will cover up or mask the ringing in the person’s ears. These devices are placed near the ear when relief is needed, or worn on the ears sometimes.

The volume of the ringing in the sufferer’s head is called the sensation level (SL). When you are using a tinnitus masking machine, the volume of the noise made needs to be slightly higher than the suffers sensation level. The loudness of the tinnitus is then reduced. The sounds produced are more relaxing than the high-pitched ringing heard by most sufferers.

Tinnitus maskers do not actually stop the problem. They reduce the awareness of the ringing.

The common analogy of how this works given is with light and dark. If you were to light a match in a dark room, it would be very bright, and anyone in the room would quickly notice it. Light the same match on a sunny day, and it would be far less noticeable. The brightness of the match is the same in both cases. The difference is that the sun is masking the light in the second example.

change ear plugs

What Color Noise Is Best For Tinnitus?

Of the people surveyed that tried different noise and sounds, there was a slight preference for pink noise followed reasonably closely by white noise. These were both trailed over several days using tinnitus maskers. It was also noted that for people that noise-masking worked, both pink and white-noise had excellent results in both groups.

There was not enough data to comment on the other noise “Colors,” but as long as they are of a similar volume to the perceived ringing, the results should be similar

What Is White/Pink Noise?

  • White noise is generated by combining all the sound frequencies together
  • Pink noise is like white noise. However, the frequencies that we hear in everyday life are given more prominence.

The sounds of nature have also been tested, for example, water, forests, etc. These also worked well on the people that responded positively to the white and pink noises.

What Does A Tinnitus Masker Sound Like?

There are examples of the sounds that maskers play on YouTube. Some common ones are linked below.

  • White noise
  • Pink noise
  • Beach sounds
  • Forest sounds

Can Tinnitus Maskers Make Tinnitus Worse?

Noise maskers should be played at a low volume, and will not make your tinnitus permanently worse. A good noise masker should not be able to play sound at a damaging level.

However, while most people that I know get exceptional results when their tinnitus is masked by sounds, even if it is only a fan when going to sleep. This is not always the case.

For a few people, the background noise does nothing to mask their tinnitus, and this being the case, the background noise only adds to the annoyance of the ringing.

Is There A Hearing Aid That Helps With Tinnitus?

Yes, there are hearing aids that can help if you have tinnitus. According to the American Tinnitus Association:

“Patients with hearing loss and tinnitus may find relief from the use of hearing aids and other sound amplification devices. Hearing aids are small electronic devices worn in or behind the ear. Using a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, hearing aids supplement the volume of outside noise and increase the amount of sound stimuli received and processed by the body’s auditory system.”

The reasons for this relief are due to:

  • Masking and Attentional Effects – The extra volume of external noises masks the tinnitus
  • Auditory Stimulation – The increased volume helps stimulate the brain's audio pathways
  • Improved Communication – tinnitus can make it harder to communicate. Improving the outside volume to higher than the perceived ringing means the person can hear better again.

Noises When using a tinnitus masker

The following infographic shows a list of the various noises when you are out and about. Any noise over 70-80db over a long period may cause damage to your hearing. A noise of over 120dB may cause immediate harm to your ears.

Why Does Tinnitus Get Louder Sometimes?

As any sufferer from tinnitus will tell you some days, the perceived ringing is worse than other days. There are many reasons for this phenomenon; these include:

  • Being exposed to loud noises. This is the obvious reason. Loud noises make your ears ring.
  • Stress/anxiety. Some patents report that if they have a stressful day or they are anxious. Then their perceived ringing becomes louder.
  • Exercise. Suffers have also said that their tinnitus is better or worse after exercise. (For some people it improves, but others report it getting worse)
  • Drugs. Certain drugs can make tinnitus worse. These include Aspirin, Antibiotics, antimalarial drugs and others.

Having a Tinnitus masker is great on these days!

 

Possible Tinnitus Masker Features

When you are looking at purchasing one of these devices, consider some following features to get the best tinnitus masker for your situation.

  • Timer. Set the masker to play sounds for a pre-defined period, then shut off when you are sleeping
  • Bluetooth. Stream your own music or sounds to the device
  • Rechargeable. If you have a portable device, then recharging and battery life may be important to you.
  • SD slot. Put your own music and sounds on your tinnitus masker.
  • White Noise. Can play white noise. (Or you can upload or stream it)
  • Pink Noise. Can play pink noise. (Or you can upload or stream it)
  • Nature's sounds. Plays relaxing natural sounds, to block the ringing and help you relax.
  • Beach sounds
  • Forest sounds
  • Streams
Elderly 1

What does a tinnitus masker look like?

A tinnitus masker is any sound combination which can be heard by the listener, and appears to mask or cover up the noise from tinnitus. It is usually a combination of white noise (often consisting of pink or brown noise) with music.

The reason for this is that there are several signals being generated from the cochlea in a normal person, including both those related to hearing sounds and those associated with tinnitus. When noise frequencies are played at the same time as music, they occupy an equal bandwidth in the brain's sense of hearing, and so one does not seem to drown out or suppress the other in any way .

Masking device may have two speakers.

How much does a tinnitus masker cost?

The cost can vary greatly, depending on the number of features available and the complexity of the system. Some tinnitus maskers only consist of a single speaker, but those more complex systems may have a separate sound generator in addition to a speaker or two.

The majority of tinnitus people report improved hearing ability after starting use of their masker, so we recommend that you go for one which is entirely wireless. More expensive systems often have more features and may be enhanced with additional sound settings, such as white noise or pink noise.

What is the most effective treatment for tinnitus?

If you have tinnitus that is severe enough to interfere with your quality of life, you should consider visiting an ear doctor. Many of them have hearing specialists who can help you find a treatment which works best for your situation.

The use of white noise to cover up tinnitus is very common, so most ear doctors will probably already have some experience in prescribing this type of device. However, it may be useful to know that these devices are also available online, so if you don't live near the right specialist for your particular situation then we recommend buying one online.

We have several reviews of these devices.

How much tinnitus is normal?

A small amount of buzzing or ringing in the ears is normal. You may hear it once a day or even every hour, but it does not interfere with your daily life. It is your perception that matters here, and you are entitled to determine whether or not some noise in your ear is more than 'normal'.

As you get older you may find that you have a much more significant tinnitus than before, and it may be the case that your tinnitus has become intolerable for you. This is when you should go to see an ear specialist.

Why do people use tinnitus maskers?

Some people choose to use a masker to assist the process of adapting to their tinnitus, as it allows them to continue living their life while acknowledging the problem. Others are choosing this treatment because they have tried the conventional methods (e.g., therapy, noise cancelling devices) but feel that they are not working very well for them.

Most of these patients have very severe tinnitus which interferes with their ability to lead a normal life.

 

What vitamins help with tinnitus?

  • Vitamin B12 can boost the levels of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate emotions and sensation. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression and hearing problems.
  • Vitamin C is also good for your nerves, which are what send signals from your cochlea to your brain.

Tinnitus Maskers – Conclusions

The noise in your head when you have Tinnitus becomes unbearable. Having a background noise to mask that sound offers a lot of relief for most people affected, including myself.

Tinnitus Maskers are impressive devices for helping with tinnitus, either when you are trying to sleep, or even when you are out and about. Do not suffer trying to sleep with the ringing anymore; get some relief today!

Please Note: Just because an ear defender is marked, for example, "Gunshot" - it will still cover other things, like "explosions"

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  • Buy with confidence. Lectrofan is designed in the USA and backed by a 1,000 day satisfaction guarantee.
  • Provides ten fan sounds and ten ambient noise variations, including White noise, Pink noise and brown noise
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  • Safe, solid-state design is powered by AC or USB and dynamically creates unique, non-repeating sounds with no moving parts
  • Precise volume control allows you to set the perfect level for your unique environment
Sound Oasis® Tinnitus Sound Therapy System® S-680-02
  • 24 included sounds create an ideal selection of sounds to help you manage tinnitus and get the sleep you deserve. Many sounds were doctor composed, and all of the sounds were specifically chosen to deal with the highly personal nature of tinnitus.
  • Patented Sleep Enhancement Technology - seamlessly and gradually slows playback speed to gently lull you to sleep.
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Sound Oasis® Bluetooth® Tinnitus Sound Therapy System®, Sleep...
  • Play 20 Built-in Made for Tinnitus Sounds recommended by audiologists around the world.
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  • Use Built-in rechargeable battery (4-5 hours per charge) or keep plugged in with included charge cable
  • Help Manage Tinnitus and Improve Sleep with Included Living with Tinnitus Booklet

Last update on 2021-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

People Also Ask


What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Tinnitus?

There are a few ways that tinnitus can be treated; these are not always effective, which is why there are so many people still suffering from it. Below are some of the treatments available.

  • Tinnitus retraining therapy. This helps some people. This treatment has two parts directive counseling and sound therapy. The process can be expensive (around $3000) and takes approximately one to two years.
  • Low doses of anti-anxiety or anti-depression drugs like Elavil or Valium have been shown to help sometimes
  • Steroids and anti-anxiety medication implanted into the middle ear has been effective in other people

What Is The Best Vitamin For Tinnitus?

To maintain healthy hearing, it is best to have a balanced diet that includes all the required vitamins and minerals. However, it has been shown that vitamin B can particularly help.

“Most B-complex vitamins cannot be kept in the body and must be replaced daily from food sources. B vitamins help maintain healthy skin, eyes, muscle tone, and support the functions of the liver and central nervous system. They are also important in helping to deal with depression, stress, and anxiety. The variety of B vitamins is normally taken together, but occasionally one B vitamin is used to treat a particular disorder.

Deficiency in B vitamins can cause weakness, low blood counts, skin and hair problems, nervousness, poor night vision, tinnitus and hearing loss. Vitamin B-complex supplements appear to be effective in some patients with tinnitus by providing a stabilizing effect on the nerves.” Michael Seidman, M.D., F.A.C.S

Why Is Tinnitus Louder At Night?

Although it can seem like your tinnitus gets louder at night when you are trying to sleep, however, this is rarely the case.

During the day you are exposed to a lot of sounds, from the TV in your living room, cars and busses on the streets, to background talking. All of this sound helps to mask the sound of your tinnitus, so you notice it less. Also, your brain is focused on other tasks.

For sleeping, your bedroom is typically silent, and your brain is not distracted. All of this means that you notice the ringing that was there all day far more quickly.

References

If you require more information, please check these references

www.tandfonline.com , article, “A clinical study of tinnitus maskers”, retrieved on, Thu 07-November-2019

www.cambridge.org , article, “The use of Walkman mini-sterco system as a tinnitus masker”, retrieved on, Thu 07-November-2019

journals.sagepub.com , article, “Medical Treatment of Tinnitus”, retrieved on, Thu 07-November-2019

europepmc.org , article, “Attemps to relieve tinnitus.”, retrieved on, Thu 07-November-2019

en.wikipedia.org , article, “Tinnitus Masker”, retrieved on, Thu 07-November-2019

About This Article 

Date : July 25, 2020

Author : Nick, Website Owner And Writer

Experience : Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

“Are you having problems hearing? If so, those around you already know it. Hearing loss is no laughing matter, so don’t be a punchline.”

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