Nature Sounds vs. White Noise: Tinnitus Masking

I love the sound of the beach. It’s soft and rhythmical making it quite a relaxing experience. I often go during lunch time to de-stress and gather my thoughts.

Tinnitus Masking

It is because of these qualities that I like to recommend it for sound therapy if you have tinnitus. The ideology behind tinnitus sound therapy is that it uses a process known as habituation to retrain the way the brain interprets tinnitus. Essentially, the brain learns to reclassify the unwanted sound as something neutral or unimportant. Sound therapy is a grey area in tinnitus research and generally isn’t recommended as a long term treatment for tinnitus management. However, it has no side effects and can produce short term relief if you have tinnitus.

If you type in “sound therapy for tinnitus” in Google, among the first recommendations are for white noise tinnitus masking. Some interesting research came out in 2018 recommending against the usage of long term white noise as the researchers found it undermined the functional and structural integrity of the central auditory system and brain. In general, they suggested that it accelerated aging of the brain. One reason I don’t recommend using white noise for sound therapy.

So, back to the nature sounds. We can tolerate them for long periods of time and they contain high frequency energy to mask tinnitus. Sadly, we can’t control the noise/weather around us but we can replicate it with wonderful apps on smartphones like Resound Relief (see our blog on There's An App For That: Tinnitus). It’s a free app designed by the hearing aid company GN Resound (available on Android and IOS). The app allows you to create your own soundscape, set a timer for how long you want it in the background, gives great advice/information on tinnitus and has relaxation techniques built in. So if you need any temporary relief from the annoyance of tinnitus, this is a great place to start.

If you or any friends and family are affected by tinnitus contact your local audiologist to organise a complimentary hearing check and tinnitus discussion. If you want to read more about tinnitus, visit our webpage: Tinnitus.

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