The 6 Best Sound Therapy Treatments For Tinnitus

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The 6 Best Sound Therapy For Tinnitus

Let’s begin with an analogy: if I were to break my wrist and go to the doctor, she might tell me, “Okay, you have an injury, something went wrong. It’s going to take a certain amount of time to recover. And you’re going to use certain tools to help the body heal. But by the end of your recovery, you won’t need these tools anymore.” If I break my wrist, she might give me a wristband or cast; by the end of my recovery, I won’t need the cast any longer. 

Thus, don’t think of sound therapy as giving up on your tinnitus, but rather think of sound therapy as offering a therapeutic benefit. Sound therapy ultimately helps rehabilitate the auditory neurons contributing to tinnitus and serves as a necessary step in retraining your tinnitus.

Dr. Ben Thompson discussed the best sound therapy for tinnitus.

1. Tinnitus Maskers Bundle

The best treatment we have for tinnitus is what the team at Treble Health currently offers to patients in the United States. This bundle combines sound therapy treatment, personalized coaching, and a comprehensive habituation protocol. Tinnitus maskers are the gold standard when it comes to tinnitus treatment, and are the closest thing that we have to a cure as of right now. 

"Treble Health helped me reduce my tinnitus by about 80%, and now I can live my life again!"
"Treble Health helped me reduce my tinnitus by about 80%, and now I can live my life again!"
– Steve D.
Book a free consultation to learn which Treble Health solution is right for you. Join Steve and thousands more who have found lasting tinnitus relief.

A research study conducted by Treble Health in 2022 followed 141 patients before treatment and then three months after treatment. We used something called the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI), a questionnaire to measure the impact of chronic tinnitus in people. A clinically significant reduction in the TFI would be 13 points. The Treble Health study showed an average reduction of 22 points – two times higher than the amount needed to be a significant change. In the Treble Health study, 80% of total patients who have completed two TFI questionnaires had a clinically significant reduction in tinnitus within three months of starting treatment

Sound therapy treatment is done using tinnitus maskers and sound machines. You’re able to listen to sounds such as white noise (different frequencies of sound played at once), pink noise (a milder version of white noise), natural water sounds, crickets, and other soothing sounds. You generally will listen to these for most hours of the day for the best help. 

Tinnitus maskers are used by patients with normal hearing or slight hearing loss. They look similar to hearing aids and can be worn around during the day. They have rubber tips fitted with natural holes in them, and thus they keep the ear canals open. They are typically acquired via an audiologist, who can help identify the right fit for you. 

As part of the Tinnitus Masker Bundle, you receive tinnitus coaching sessions that are done every one to two weeks. You will often be given daily or weekly practice to do on your own at home. The tinnitus coaching at Treble Health includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques. We have found the best results for our patients when we include personalized coaching, education, and counseling. This includes masking options (sound therapy, music, fan noise, etc.), strategies for distraction, and information about therapeutic options. It may also encourage people to avoid catastrophizing thoughts about tinnitus. This includes the idea that tinnitus is not dangerous and that most people become used to tinnitus. Tinnitus is not the problem, but our reactions to tinnitus may be. 

2. Hearing Aids

Another daytime sound therapy option are hearing aids. Most hearing aids can be programmed for tinnitus, regardless of whether you have hearing loss or hearing in the normal range. One benefit about most hearing aids is that they offer Bluetooth compatibility. That said, there are many different brands of hearing aids, so feel free to check out the other guides posted on our website. 

3. Sound Therapy Machines

One useful sound therapy device is a sound machine. When considering sound machines, the most important aspect to consider is sound enrichment. Neurologically, the key is constant, low-level sound enrichment throughout the waking hours of the tinnitus retraining period. Sound enrichment involves using various types of sounds to create low-level sound stimulation, so that you’re not toughing out your tinnitus in silent environments. These sounds can include white noise, pink noise, natural water sounds (river, rain, ocean waves, etc.), natural sounds (crickets, birds, etc.), music (instrumental or with lyrics), podcasts, conversation, or situational ambient sounds (from being outside, going on a walk, keeping the TV on in the background, etc.). Ultimately, your brain does not have a preference for whether the sound is generated naturally or via technology such as a sound machine or hearing aid. 

Consider picking a technology or mode of sound therapy that makes the most sense for you and your lifestyle. For instance, some patients use sound machines in their home office when they’re not in meetings or in other background settings at home (kitchen, bedroom, etc.). Sound machines can be used day or night, as they can often plug into a wall socket, and they offer you the ability to play different sound therapy tracks. Most sound machines also operate independently of your phone, so there’s no need to connect your phone.

4. Bone Conduction Headphones

Bone conduction headphones play sound through the mastoid bone (situated right next to the ear), thereby allowing you to keep the ear canal open. 

It’s important to keep your ear canals open, as the ambient sound around you can help with your habituation and teach the brain to tune out and reduce tinnitus perception over time. Most bone conduction headphones are not too visually distracting. That said, their battery life is limited, so they are best used situationally. 

5. Bluetooth Sleep Headband 

An evening sound therapy option is a sleep headband. Most sleep headbands include little speakers that fit next to your ears when the headband is worn correctly. Most headbands connect to your phone or computer via Bluetooth, enabling you to play gentle sounds throughout the evening. Sleep headbands are designed for comfort, allowing you to sleep through the night in whatever position you prefer. 

6. Sleepbuds

Another nighttime option to consider are Bose Sleepbuds. The Sleepbuds are small devices that fit nice and comfortably inside of the ears. While they do occlude the ears, they are customized for tinnitus sound therapy and offer Bluetooth connectivity through the Bose app.

That said, you can only stream through the proprietary Bose app and unfortunately can’t play your own audio through the Sleepbuds. 

7. Apple AirPods

A common option available to folks are Apple AirPods. As you probably know, these fit well; however, they do occlude the ear, and aren’t recommended for long-term daily use.

When you block or “occlude” your ear, you risk making your tinnitus louder. While the AirPods offer a transparency mode that lets you hear the natural world around you, it comes in the form of a computerized ambient noise rather than a natural ambient noise. While I don’t recommend using AirPods for everyday tinnitus sound therapy, they can help if they’re the only sound therapy device available to you.

Final Considerations

While it’s okay to completely mask your tinnitus at night, during the day it’s important to try to find a point where you can still hear your tinnitus during your sound therapy, and to not go much louder than that. These levels are based on your own hearing test, so the first step in any treatment process is to have a hearing test completed.

All in all, it’s important to remember that a majority of tinnitus cases do get better, and that sound therapy is one of many tools to help you in your journey to recovery. 

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