White Noise For Tinnitus

White Noise, Pink Noise, Brown Noise…What Are They?
In this section we’ll cover white noise for tinnitus as well as touching very briefly on pink noise and brown noise. In most cases people suffering from tinnitus hear a continuous sound inaudible to others. Generally the sufferer can carry out a normal life with little disruption. Some however have acute continuous noises, known as “phantom” sounds that lead to depression, insomnia and even suicide. It is important to know that these noises are real and not a figment of the sufferer’s imagination.

White Noise For TinnitusIn the “masking” of tinnitus and other background noises there are 3 major noise colors – White Noise, Pink Noise and Brown Noise.  White noise is the better known.  Colors are assigned to each noise simply to differentiate that each is working in different frequencies and the sounds produced are generally different.

White Noise
White noise has the full scale of sound frequencies discernible by the human ear all blended together to make a continuous sound.  The sound could be likened to the static produced by a radio or TV when off station.

Sound therapy sometimes referred to as “white noise” has been successful in reducing the stress created by tinnitus. White noise for tinnitus is not a cure but a method used to mask the sound, therefore reducing the perception of the background noise. The masking sound is usually delivered by such devices as MP 3 or CD players and from speakers in the bedroom under the pillow for assisting in sleep. In most cases white noise has improved the lifestyle of acute tinnitus sufferers.

If you decide to use white noise for tinnitus therapy it is recommended that you visit a qualified Audiologist, as the frequency of the masking sounds must be tailored to the individuals needs, usually at a slightly lower frequency than the tinnitus noise.

A white noise generator should have the following features:

  • Variable frequency output to offer the greatest comfort to the user
  • Manual volume control so that the masking sound will suit the users preference
  • Amplitude Modulation adjustment to suit the client’s preferences
  • Variable sound streaming to suit the user and offering in particular, sounds they can choose to offer the greatest comfort.

Remember that white noise in the treatment of tinnitus is not a cure, it will only help to mask the noise and possibly reduce stress levels in some patients.

Pink Noise
Pink noise is also used as a “masker” utilizing a smaller sound range and sounds similar to the hum experienced around electricity transformers.

Brown Noise
Brown noise is again used as a masker operating at a lower frequency producing a continuous sound like the continuous roar of the ocean.

All 3 noises can be and are used in the treatment of tinnitus, with white noise for tinnitus being the most common. Furthermore there are additional advantages such as improved concentration, assisting with sleep apnea and relaxation.

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Useful Resources:

UCSF Medical Center:   http://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/tinnitus/treatment.html

ENTUK:   https://entuk.org/ent_patients/ear_conditions/tinnitus 

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