Although tinnitus cannot be medically cured there are some steps you can take to make it more manageable.
Listening to music or natural sounds again can help to mask the tinnitus. Any sound to cover up and essentially drown the tinnitus will distract your brain and help to take your mind off the tinnitus itself. There are a number of CDs available from Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) that contain some natural sounds that may prove effective in reducing the amount of time you spend in quiet. The idea is to have them playing in the background when trying to get to sleep or any other time when your tinnitus becomes more noticeable. These CDs can be played via a number of devices provided by Action on Hearing Loss.
Stress contributes to the severity of tinnitus often making the sound seem more obvious. A number of relaxation or distraction techniques can be discussed with our hearing therapist.
If you have a hearing loss then using hearing aids may help by picking up background sounds around you increasing the information going to your brain and hence distracting you from your tinnitus.
If you do not have a hearing loss, a white noise generator can be worn to make tinnitus less noticeable. A soothing ‘shh’ sound is emitted by the device and can help in reducing the contrast between the tinnitus and environment stimuli. They can help the hearing system to become less sensitive to tinnitus by distracting the brain with other sounds. Worn much like an in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid, a white noise generator can help you to retrain your brain to ignore tinnitus. There are also devices which combine this type of sound therapy with amplification in the form of a hearing aid.
If you are finding your tinnitus troublesome please speak to your GP who can refer you to our department for a hearing therapy assessment. If you are already a patient with us then please contact our Kent & Canterbury Hospital for an appointment.