Hearing a buzzing or ringing noise in your ears, whether constant or sporadic, can leave you feeling stressed, anxious and irritable. The presence of a ringing or buzzing that cannot be heard from the outside is characteristic of a condition called tinnitus. Approximately 25 million Americans have experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year.
Persistent or bothersome tinnitus can adversely impact your productivity at work or school and your relationships with family and friends. Because the impact of tinnitus can be so massive, finding ways to manage your symptoms can provide real-time quality of life improvements. One effective symptom management technique is sound therapy.
You may find that your symptoms worsen in quiet environments. In the absence of external noise, our brains have little to focus on aside from the internal ringing. Sound enrichment therapy is designed to provide the brain with an external noise to focus on. The tinnitus will feel less intense because the brain cannot fully pay attention to both sounds simultaneously.
Let’s look at a couple of devices you can use to employ sound enrichment therapy for your tinnitus.
Hearing aids are remarkable devices with a microphone that collects sound, an amplifier or processor that raises its volume and a speaker that transmits it directly into the ear canal. Hearing aids provide sound enrichment therapy in one of two ways, including:
- Amplifying external noises. Amplifying external sounds is perhaps what hearing aids are most famous for. When you’re out in the world, the devices amplify the speech and other sounds around you to make communication clearer and help distract your brain from the internal ringing of tinnitus. Rather than paying attention to the ringing, you can focus on the birds chirping at Foster Park or a fun conversation with friends.
- Playing white noise. Some hearing aids have tinnitus management features that play noise to mask the internal ringing. Tinnitus management features are a great option when you’re alone in a quiet area.
Noise machines are usually either general or tinnitus-specific. General noise machines are commonly marketed towards people with anxiety or insomnia, as the presence of white, pink, brown, nature or other noises can be calming. Noise machines help with tinnitus in the same way. By playing a relaxing noise in the background, your brain can divert focus away from the internal ringing. Tinnitus noise machines work similarly but are marketed specifically to manage tinnitus.
Noise machines are a great option to manage tinnitus while you sleep or during other times when you should not wear your hearing aids.
To learn more about managing your tinnitus, contact Nelson Hearing Clinics today to make an appointment with one of our specialists.