Is there a MAGIC Bullet cure for Tinnitus... If you find one... please let me know!
My own journey with Tinnitus and some products that may give you some relief
My own journey and experience with Tinnitus (the sounds of silence)
From an early age I have had a relationship with my own tinnitus, I say a relationship because of the nature of the sounds that I hear, be it a variable high pitch, a whooshing, a fizzing and many others that just come and go, like unwanted visitors to my head-space.
Being a Sound Therapist I have been on the hunt to understand the issue and to search out a solution for many years, however, often just giving up and allowing myself to try and embrace the sounds. This may be a strategy for a little while until they increase in volume and I become very aware of them again, my sounds of silence.
I got to a point that I went to the doctors who referred me to a specialist clinic. Once there it was focused on the use of relaxation methods to help calm the mind and hopefully the tinnitus. I recall in the first session I questioned "how do you know that I am physiologically relaxed without checking with some biofeedback equipment" only to realise that this method had limitations because all they were doing was putting on relaxation music and following a breathing routine. So that was my first and last visit to one of those sessions because I have all that equipment at home and more... with light and sound machines, massage beds, chi machines etc.
So what do they say causes Tinnitus
My own tinnitus and actually my sisters, have been with us since I can remember, as we thought it was natural to hear inner sounds. We had never experienced loud noises, medication or glue ear infections.
However, below are what they say are some of the causes.
Overactive neurons in the brain that need calming
Overexposure to loud noises
Nerve cells firing erratically
Dysfunctional potassium channels
Middle ear infection
Reaction to drugs
And the list goes on (with at least another 10 indicators) which actually tells you "They really don't know" and in my experience its more about relief through trial and error.
So what have I tried:
Several types of drugs (medical and alternative) that really act like anti-depressants with the aim of calming you down. Found they can be of some benefit depending on whats happening in life at the time and how I am coping.
I have had plenty of massages and find that they can give temporary relief as again the aim is to relax my body and hopefully my brain also.
I have had a pitch and loudness test done to determine the frequency and amplitute of the sounds. Great in theory but temporary for me, because yes, you neutralise the sound, however when the sounds are variable like mine are then its only effective when that specific sound appears. However there is an online service called AudioNotch that I found interesting as their online software enabled me to produce several tones.
Light and sound machines which can be a double whammy as they can bring on a state of relaxation and also send you into an altered state way out there, so you don't hear any sounds. I have one of these machines and it can give me a really nice break from the sounds, however you can't walk around or work with a light and sound machine on, so again its a temporary relief.
White noise generators, CD's and sound downloads. Again I have tried several of these and they have given me some relief as they also neutralise some of the inner sounds, bit like a soprano when she hits a note and the glass smashes, called hitting a sympathetic vibration.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) which is a combination of CBT (cognitive behavioral training) and a masking device (white noise machine or similar) Again, what I experienced at the clinic.. the main focus is to deal with what is causing you anxiety and relax you, which can ease the sounds. Add to that a masking device, which had a temporary effect but felt too much like going to a regular therapist, especially when you are like me and very little causes you anxiety.
So guess the bottom line is to try out a few things and see what gives you the best relief as I don't think there is a magic bullet or cure-all, as we are very different in what we hear and the symptoms we get.
Below I have put some links to products that you may find helpful. Some I have found have given me temporary relief which is great, but if you do find the cure-all then please let me know, so I can give it a try.
A selection of products below that may bring you some relief
A selection of masking devices with various features I have included the star ratings and customer reviews.
Online tinnitus maskers that can produce multiple tones for relief
What is the recommended treatment plan?
The AudioNotch Treatment Plan accounts for the fact that a user’s tinnitus frequency may shift during the course of treatment.
As such, it is necessary to periodically re-detect (i.e. "tune") one’s tinnitus frequency to ensure that the notch lines up correctly with the tinnitus frequency. The notch must line up with the tinnitus frequency for the therapy to work. Therefore, treatment consists of a repetitive cycle:
Treatment Plan: (for either Music or White Noise)
When listening, please be careful to keep a comfortable volume! High volume listening may damage your hearing and worsen your tinnitus!
We recommend listening to AudioNotch an hour per day. Try to spread listening out over the day (i.e. different sessions during morning, afternoon, and night).
We recommend that you use headphones that block out external environmental noise, such as noise-cancelling headphones or in-ear headphones.
- Re-initiate therapy if, after a prolonged cessation of therapy, your tinnitus volume increases again.
- Some users find that immediately after listening to the therapy, there is a slight increase in volume. This is known as a Zwicker tone, and is temporary. Overtime, you should notice a net decrease in volume.
What is Tailor-Made Notched Sound Therapy?
Tailor-Made Notched Sound Therapy is a tinnitus treatment that lowers the volume of your tinnitus, and in doing so, reduces the pain and distress caused by the disease. There is no miracle tinnitus cure, however Tailor-Made notched sound therapy is a tinnitus treatment that can offer relief. It takes two forms: Tailor-Made Notched Music, or Tailor-Made Notched White Noise.
It is created by taking either music or "white noise", and removing sound energy—"notching it out"—at the same frequency of your tinnitus tone.