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Tinnitus Maskers: Masking the Noise

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Tinnitus maskers provide artificial or natural sound to a tinnitus sufferer's surroundings. Read the article below to learn more.

Written by

Dr. Pallavi. C

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Oliyath Ali

Published At May 3, 2024
Reviewed AtMay 3, 2024

What Is Tinnitus?

The medical word for ringing in the ears is tinnitus, which is pronounced either "tin-NITE-us" or "TIN-ne-tus." Sounds like ringing, clicking, pulsing, buzzing, or rushing that no one else hears flood the mind when they have tinnitus. These noises might be so quiet that one hardly hears them or so loud that they seem to drown out other noises in the surrounding area. Severe tinnitus sufferers may have difficulty focusing or falling asleep.

This can eventually cause melancholy and frustration. As an illness, tinnitus is not. It is a sign of several illnesses, including age-related hearing loss and ear trauma. Research indicates that over 50 million people in the US and 15 percent of the global population are affected. Tinnitus can affect anyone, but it most frequently affects people aged 40 to 60.

What Is a Tinnitus Masker?

One product used to relieve tinnitus is called a tinnitus masker. A tinnitus masker produces white noise to cover up or mask the tinnitus sound. White noise is the sound of compressed air being released. This is known as tinnitus masking. The technique of masking the sound of tinnitus with a more calming artificial sound is known as "tinnitus masking." Partial tinnitus masking refers to just partially masking tinnitus so that one can still hear it, whereas complete tinnitus masking involves hiding the sound of tinnitus. Complete tinnitus masking may be a component of a tinnitus sound therapy solution, whereas partial tinnitus masking is occasionally utilized as part of tinnitus retraining therapy. For everyday use and discretion, a tinnitus masker can be put into the ear canal or worn outside the ear.

What Are the Different Types of Tinnitus Maskers?

Tinnitus masking devices are intended to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus. Here are two different types of Tinnitus maskers:

Tinnitus Masks Behind the Ear (BTE):

  • BTE tinnitus masks are worn behind the ear and comprise a tiny device that produces relaxing noises, such as low-level white noise.

  • In terms of design and functionality, they usually mimic hearing aids and may be tuned to the user's preferred pitch and loudness levels.

  • These gadgets create continuous background noise, which helps divert the mind's attention from the tinnitus sounds.

  • Additionally, some models could come equipped with convenience features like Bluetooth connectivity, programmable music settings, and rechargeable batteries.

Ear Canal Tinnitus Maskers:

  • Like BTE devices, ear canal tinnitus maskers are intended to be worn inside the ear canal.

  • For those who would rather have a less obvious option, they are more suitable than BTE maskers because they are more compact and covert.

  • To successfully mask tinnitus noises, ear canal maskers might use white noise, natural sounds, or specially designed sound therapy programs.

  • Certain types can be tailored to the user's ear canal for maximum comfort and efficiency.

  • To guarantee optimal fit and operation, audiologists usually program and modify them.

How Do Tinnitus Maskers Work?

Individual variations in tinnitus are common. Some may always experience a ringing in their ears, while others may only occasionally hear or feel a humming sound. The degree of tinnitus might be affected by stress or postural changes. Either one ear or both may experience it.

A typical kind is a high-pitched ringing sound. Because it is at a higher frequency than other noises, white noise, like the sound of a fan, is useful for masking this type of ringing. White noise therapy or relaxation can benefit from using it to mask tinnitus. Small white noise generators known as "tinnitus maskers" or "tinnitus noises" are designed to "drown out" or overwhelm the internal noises produced by tinnitus. They do not, however, function in the same manner as turning on music or watching a movie that muffles sound. They employ particular sounds and tones to reduce the noise in the ears.

One can concentrate on the melody, dialogue, or plot of media work, whether they watch television or listen to music. When one uses tinnitus maskers, the tinnitus and the masking sound are relegated to the background. This makes it simpler for one to concentrate, nod off, or de-stress.

Consider tinnitus maskers, as lights above. Tinnitus is a lamp in the dark. From where one is seated, it could be bothersome because it is bright and grabs one's attention. An additional sound produced by tinnitus maskers is the overhead light. Not only does it diffuse the lamp's light, but it is also bigger and more comfortable so that one can disregard both. This may help one become accustomed to tinnitus so that it becomes less bothersome. There is a connection between tinnitus and other issues like depression or stress. While one addresses those other concerns, one may find some respite from tinnitus by using white noise to hide it.

Try turning on the faucet if one believes a tinnitus masker could help them. A masker has a good chance of masking tinnitus if the flowing water sounds the same.

What Is the Relationship Between Tinnitus Maskers and Hearing Aids?

Not every hearing aid has a tinnitus masker, but many can also function as maskers, providing a variety of noises to help block off tonal tinnitus. This combination is helpful for people who have both hearing loss and tone tinnitus because they often coexist.

By fusing the technology of tinnitus maskers and hearing aids, people can benefit from both gadgets without switching between them. Anyone who wants to live a simple life without constantly switching between several hearing aids should take note of this.

Conclusion:

Tinnitus maskers are an invaluable tool in the fight against tinnitus, providing comfort and a sense of calm to individuals who suffer from this difficult ailment. Through comprehension of their work, investigation of the wide array of accessible choices, and proactive handling, people can take charge of their auditory experiences again and set out on a path to enhanced health and quality of life.

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Dr. Oliyath Ali
Dr. Oliyath Ali

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)

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