Living a normal life with the sounds of tinnitus constantly ringing in your ears would seem an impossibility to most tinnitus sufferers. Unlike the way it is for those without tinnitus, there is no escaping the noise by perhaps going and sitting in a quiet room or wearing noise reduction headphones. For the tinnitus sufferer that quiet room only compounds the problem. For us having no external sound only equates to more internal sound. The quieter it is outside, the noisier it becomes inside. With nothing else to tune in to, our concentration settles on those unwelcome sounds of tinnitus. The more we stress about them the louder they become.
Interestingly tinnitus relief for many sufferers can be found not by providing peace and quiet, but by introducing an additional balancing sound. If having a sound vacuum outside of the sounds of tinnitus exacerbates the problem, can it be that filling that vacuum with an external sound reduces or masks those sounds?
The answer to that is a qualified yes. Qualified because one of the difficulties with tinnitus treatment is that what works for me may do nothing for you and what works for you may do nothing for me. That scenario is true across the board with tinnitus treatments.
Tinnitus maskers have been in use since the 1970s although it was known centuries ago that provision of a stable external sound source could provide some temporary tinnitus relief.
Tinnitus masking can be delivered in various forms. Popular methods include the use of recorded friendly sounds such as birdsong, the sound of the sea or of rainfall. These sounds have a positive calming effect on the tinnitus sufferer but at the same time balance out the negative and destructive impact of the ringing in the ears associated with tinnitus. Tapes or cds like these can be played with good effect through the night for those suffering insomnia or depression as a result of tinnitus.
Other methods of tinnitus relief through masking that work well for many is through the application of a device known as a tinnitus white noise machine. This little tinnitus masker sits in the ear much like an earplug. It emits a steady volume controlled hissing noise which matches the intensity of the ringing in the ear. The brain recognises this as a friendly noise which can be controlled. Over a period of time attention becomes focused on this at the expense of the sounds of tinnitus. Given enough time the ringing in the ears fades into the background once the tinnitus white noise machine is removed.
Given that tinnitus often accompanies a degree of hearing loss, the use of a hearing aid can in itself reduce the impact of tinnitus. This is even more beneficial where a tinnitus white noise machine is incorporated within the hearing aid. The effect of an increased level of hearing coupled with the soothing and balancing contribution of a tinnitus masker can have excellent results.
In the pursuit of tinnitus relief there has to be an amount of trial and error. Tinnitus maskers may or may not work for you. The overall success rate of this form of tinnitus treatment however has been sufficiently high for it to be an avenue well worth exploring early on in your search for your own tinnitus liberation.
Tinnitus is discussed in great detail at

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