Sound therapy is a method of treatment that was introduced on the principle of distraction. Meaning, it helps people with tinnitus not to notice their condition. A doctor in 1903 by the name of Spaulding used tinnitus sound therapy by using a piano to match the frequency of the tinnitus and played the instruments until his patients could no longer hear the ringing sound.
Patients suffering from tinnitus know that their condition feels heightened especially if they are in a quiet environment. For instance, in the evening, listening to other sounds can mask the ringing so they do not hear it anymore as their brain focuses on the other sounds other than the ringing. Sound therapy or sound enrichment is the deliberate use of any sound in an effort to reduce tinnitus awareness and thereby also reduce the distress associated with the tinnitus. This process is also used to treat patients suffering from oversensitivity to noise.
How Sound Therapy Works
According to tinnitus sound therapy specialists, sound therapy or enrichment can help bring about an actual physiological change in terms of sensitivity in hearing parts of the brain. Many also believe that it works by employing a sort of psychological distraction or something that can help people relax more. What is evidently clear is that it works in most people suffering from tinnitus. Sound therapy may be used as a self-help method or as part of a broader tinnitus management program in line with the support of a clinic or hospital.
While considered quite effective, sound therapy is not intended to replace counseling in bringing about improvements in patients suffering from the condition. It is best regarded as a tool among several others that one can employ as opposed to being the only solution to the problem. Given the facts, tinnitus sound therapy is probably one of the easiest things that patients can do for themselves if they are unable to access other methods of relief.
Sound therapy can be delivered through these methods:
- Sounds in the environment
- An audio or CD file
- As part of a smartphone app
- Bedside or table-top sound generators
- Portable sound generators
All of the above can offer natural soothing sounds or the so-called “white noise” or if you prefer, the music of your choice. There are also hearing devices with additional sounds and tones that can be delivered with amplification. The kind of sound enrichment or therapy device will depend on your personal preference or circumstance.
A lot of patients discover that background sounds like distant traffic, a busy office, waves breaking on the shore, wind rusting through the trees can make tinnitus less noticeable. Sometimes, by opening a window in the house is all that you need to provide the sound enrichment needed to reduce the distress tinnitus creates.
CDS and Downloadable Files and Smartphone apps
You can also listen at home to some relaxing sounds of nature or listen to your preferred music. Don’t have the budget for it? No worries as any local library can provide you with one so you can try some of them out. If you have a smartphone you can simply go online and download any sound in nature or the environment for your listening enjoyment.
Bedside/Tabletop Sound Generators
These devices can be placed on your bedside or on a table in order to provide you with some soothing sounds at the push of a button. Simply adjust according to the volume you desire. Some are portable to be carried around. The wearable variety needs to be fitted by a tinnitus specialist to ensure proper use and effectiveness.
Using Sound Therapy
The goal of treatment is to help people habituate to their tinnitus so that is gets filtered out most of the time, even though, there may be some still present. Most folks do find sound therapy to be useful for their condition but when they habituate it becomes less necessary. Meaning you do not have to use it forever, so to speak. Those that wear portable sound generators use them only until they get to a comfortable phase where they can manage their tinnitus better. For people that use bedside sound generators o the tabletop variant discover less need to use them once they are able to establish a better sleeping pattern.
Tinnitus is a condition that can be stressful and debilitating as the ringing gets louder in a quiet environment. People with the condition find relief in using tinnitus sound therapy to help alleviate the condition by distracting the brain in order to let it focus on other sounds.