Can sound therapy help with Tinnitus
Tinnitus and Sound Therapy
Tinnitus is a condition that causes a person to hear ringing, buzzing, or other sounds in the absence of any external sound. It is a common condition that affects about 15-20% of the general population. Tinnitus can come in many forms. It can be either acute (temporary) or chronic (ongoing). It is caused by a variety of factors, including hearing loss, exposure to loud noise, certain medications, and head or neck injuries. Tinnitus can also be a symptom of other underlying medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or a tumor on the auditory nerve. In some cases, the cause of tinnitus is not known. Tinnitus can be annoying and interfere with daily activities, but there are treatment options available to help manage the symptoms.
In this blog article, we’ll explore how the use of sound therapy can help those with Tinnitus.
The history of Tinnitus
Tinnitus has likely been a part of human experience for as long as humans have been able to perceive sound. However, the medical condition of tinnitus, characterized by the perception of sound in the absence of any external source, has been recognized for centuries. The word “tinnitus” comes from the Latin word for “ringing,” and descriptions of the condition have been found in medical texts dating back to ancient Greece.
In more recent history, the first scientific descriptions of tinnitus appeared in the late 19th century. In 1878, German otologist Hermann von Helmholtz described tinnitus as “ringing, buzzing, and other noises which are heard in the ear when there is no external sound present.” In the early 20th century, tinnitus was recognized as a common symptom of hearing loss and was frequently treated with hearing aids.
Today, tinnitus is a well-recognized medical condition that affects a significant portion of the population and is the subject of ongoing research and treatment efforts.
How can Tinnitus be treated?
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for tinnitus, and the best approach will depend on the individual and the specific cause of their tinnitus. Some common treatment options for tinnitus include:
- Sound therapy: This involves the use of low-level background sounds or noise to mask the tinnitus and retrain the brain to better tolerate the sounds.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: This involves working with a therapist to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that may be contributing to the perception of tinnitus.
- Medications: In some cases, medications may be used to manage the symptoms of tinnitus, such as anxiety or sleep disturbances.
- Hearing aids: If tinnitus is caused by hearing loss, hearing aids can help improve hearing and reduce the perception of tinnitus.
- Tinnitus maskers: These are small electronic devices that produce a low-level white noise that can help mask the tinnitus.
Below, we’ll explore each of these types of treatment in more detail.
Sound Therapy can be an effective treatment option for tinnitus. There are several types of sound therapy that may be used to help reduce the severity of tinnitus, including:
- Tinnitus retraining therapy: This involves the use of low-level background sounds or noise to mask the tinnitus and retrain the brain to better tolerate the sounds.
- Auditory training: This involves listening to specially designed sound programs to improve the brain’s ability to process sound.
- Sound enrichment: This involves adding natural or artificial sounds to the environment to help mask the tinnitus.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can help individuals manage their thoughts and behaviors. It is often used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression.
In the context of tinnitus, CBT can help individuals identify negative thought patterns and behaviors that may be contributing to the perception of tinnitus. For example, an individual may feel anxious or stressed about their tinnitus, which can make the symptoms feel worse. CBT can help them identify these negative thought patterns and develop strategies to cope with their tinnitus in a more positive way. This may involve learning relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation, to help manage stress and anxiety.
CBT can also help individuals with tinnitus learn to refocus their attention away from the tinnitus and onto other things, such as work or hobbies. By learning to manage their thoughts and behaviors related to tinnitus, individuals can often reduce the impact of the condition on their daily lives.
In some cases, medications may be used to manage the symptoms of tinnitus, such as anxiety or sleep disturbances. However, it is important to note that there is no medication that can cure tinnitus or eliminate the sounds associated with the condition.
Some common medications that may be used to manage tinnitus symptoms include:
- Antidepressants: These medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be helpful in reducing the perception of tinnitus, particularly if the individual is experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of their tinnitus.
- Anti-anxiety medications: These medications, such as benzodiazepines, can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep in individuals with tinnitus.
- Pain medications: In some cases, tinnitus may be accompanied by head or neck pain, and over-the-counter or prescription pain medications may be used to manage these symptoms.
Hearing aids can be an effective treatment option for tinnitus if the tinnitus is caused by hearing loss. They amplify sounds in the environment, which can help reduce the perception of tinnitus by providing additional stimulation to the auditory system.
There are several types of hearing aids available, including:
- Traditional hearing aids: These are worn in or behind the ear and amplify sounds for the individual wearing them.
- In-the-ear hearing aids: These are custom-made to fit inside the ear and are less visible than traditional hearing aids.
- In-the-canal hearing aids: These are smaller than traditional hearing aids and fit partially in the ear canal.
In addition to amplifying sounds, some hearing aids also have tinnitus masking features, which produce a low-level white noise to help mask the tinnitus.
An audiologist would typically determine the best type of hearing aid, depending on the severity of your tinnitus. And in some cases, a combination of both a hearing aid, and other treatment options; such as sound therapy, may be useful.
What are Tinnitus Maskers
Tinnitus maskers are small electronic devices that produce a low-level white noise or other soothing sounds, such as ocean waves or birds singing. The sounds produced by the tinnitus masker are intended to help mask the tinnitus and make it less noticeable to the individual.
Tinnitus maskers can be worn in or behind the ear, similar to a hearing aid, or can be placed on a bedside table or desk to provide a more general sound enrichment to the environment. Some tinnitus maskers also have features that allow the user to adjust the volume or type of sound produced.
Tinnitus maskers are not a cure for tinnitus and do not eliminate the sounds associated with the condition. However, they can be a helpful tool for managing tinnitus and making it less noticeable to the individual.
Can Ed can Help’s sound therapy help with Tinnitus?
For the reasons explained above, sound therapy (in general) can be useful by either; retraining the brain to better tolerate the sounds associated with tinnitus, or adding artificial sounds to help mask the tinnitus. It’s important to note at this point that sound therapy isn’t a cure for tinnitus, and therefore – Ed can Help shouldn’t be considered as such. However, it can be a good treatment option that can be pursued – and for a limited time: you can get one month for free to see whether it is helpful for your condition.