Tinnitus Masker - A guide to Hearing Loss

A tinnitus masker is basically, a device which emits ‘white noise’ in order to overlay the noises caused by tinnitus.

Tinnitus is not a condition per se; rather it is a group of symptoms which can be an indicator of another condition. These symptoms include buzzing, ringing or whistling sounds in the ear (or head). These sounds can drive you to distraction but what a masker does is to generate static sound. You gradually become accustomed to this and in time, stop noticing your tinnitus.

It is not a ‘cure’for tinnitus or the underlying problem but it does ensure that it is less of a problem.

The masker itself is an electronic piece of equipment which has been specially designed for this condition but it can be expensive.

However you can use a similar device such as a radio which is cheaper and easy to use. All you do is set it so it isn’t on a radio station –static sound –and play this a low volume. The idea behind this is that your brain will become slightly confused and will focus on this sound rather than your tinnitus. If this works then it may be worth looking at something similar which can be worn on the body.

If your tinnitus is worse at night then there are devices which can be used at this time. You just plug these in next to your bed and go to sleep. Another option, which makes use of technology is to wear an MP3 player with ‘static sound’ software. There are also CD’s and software which play gentle sounds that can also act as maskers. These include sounds of the sea, rain or nature and are often marketed as ‘New Age’ music. They have been designed for Yoga or meditation but can be useful for tinnitus sufferers.

It may be tempting to use any of these constantly throughout the day but it is not healthy to do so. Your ears do need a break so designate times in the day when you will do so, for example morning, afternoon and evening.

If you have tinnitus, then see your GP as they will try and determine the cause of this and suggest a suitable treatment. Do this before using a masking device.

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