A Device to Drown Out Tinnitus: Tinnitus Masker Review

Tinnitus maskers—also known as ear-level sound generators—are small devices that sit behind the ear with clear, thin tubing and rubber tips that go inside your ear canals. Tinnitus maskers only produce sound therapy making them great for people with normal hearing.

In my experience of working with patients through Treble Health, tinnitus maskers have served an integral role in many sound therapy plans. Many of my patients have anecdotally reported improvements in their tinnitus after using tinnitus masker devices. In this article, we will dive into the benefits and drawbacks of tinnitus maskers, as well as recommend the best sound therapy devices.

Dr. Ben Thompson discusses how tinnitus maskers can help ease tinnitus 

What Is a Tinnitus Masker?

To start, it’s important that we differentiate between tinnitus maskers and hearing aids. Tinnitus maskers—also known as ear-level sound generators—are small devices that sit behind the ear with clear, thin tubing and rubber tips that go inside your ear canals. Tinnitus maskers are great for people with normal hearing, as they leave the ear canal open to hear the ambient world around you, while still providing sound therapy for tinnitus relief purposes. On the other hand, it should be noted that people with normal hearing can also wear hearing aids. In this scenario, the hearing aids are simply programmed without any amplification allowing the user to benefit from only the sound therapy. If you have hearing loss and tinnitus, hearing aids are always recommended given that they can provide amplification to improve your ability to hear and communicate. You may also use the sound therapy options in hearing aids along with amplification for both hearing loss and tinnitus relief purposes. 

Here at Treble Health, we consistently recommend the Tranquil tinnitus maskers, as they have proven to be a favorite amongst our patients. Tranquil’s tinnitus maskers are designed with an open ear dome, which means that they don’t block the ear canal and allow you to hear your normal world of sound. They are also adjustable with white noise and pink noise modes.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Tranquil’s Tinnitus Maskers

Benefit #1: Internal sound therapy. Tranquil’s tinnitus maskers offer internal sound therapy, which means that they don’t require a Bluetooth connection to a phone or other device.

Benefit #2: Open ear dome. Tranquil’s tinnitus maskers are designed with an open ear dome, which allows you to hear ambient sound from your surrounding environment. Hearing ambient sound can also help you habituate to your tinnitus.

Benefit #3: Sound therapy while sleeping. Tranquil’s tinnitus maskers can be worn while sleeping, offering sound therapy for those patients who might need it at night.

Drawback #1: No Bluetooth compatibility. Tranquil’s tinnitus maskers don’t come outfitted with Bluetooth compatibility, thereby limiting their sound therapy to either white noise or pink noise only.

Drawback #2: No rechargeability. Tranquil’s tinnitus maskers come with a small battery that lasts between seven to 14 days. When the battery runs out, it has to be removed and changed, rather than recharged. 

Drawback #3: Visible tubing. Tranquil’s tinnitus maskers come with small thin tubing that is slightly more visible than the receiver wires common to most hearing aids. This tubing, while discrete, is still somewhat visible when the tinnitus maskers are worn on the ears.

Other Hearing Aids for Sound Therapy

Many hearing aids also offer sound therapy. For patients looking for sound therapy features in their hearing aids, we often recommend an entry level device like the Phonak Paradise hearing aid. The Phonak Paradise comes equipped with Bluetooth compatibility, rechargeability, and internal sound therapy. These hearing aids are easy to program remotely via telehealth and are very reliable.

There are other hearing aids that also come outfitted with unique sound therapy capabilities. For example, the Widex hearing aids offer a proprietary kind of sound therapy called Zen Tones, which involves playing tones that are similar in pitch to your tinnitus. While this isn’t a must-have feature, some patients may find it to be a preferable mode of sound therapy.

Overall, it is imperative to begin your sound therapy journey with an expert audiologist consultation. Here at Treble Health, we offer free consultations via telehealth, and are happy to work with you in determining your sound therapy needs and finding you the best device.

What To Do Next For Tinnitus

Still on the hunt for the best tinnitus sound therapy? Don’t feel lost. At Treble Health, we have compiled a comprehensive consumer guide to the best tinnitus devices on the market. Click here to get the Tinnitus Guide: 2022 Edition

Want to speak with an expert audiologist about your options for tinnitus treatment instead? At the tap of a finger, you can schedule a free Treble Health Tinnitus Consultation today! You’ll be connected with a real audiologist, not a salesperson, and there is no obligation or commitment.

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