Tinnitus is a common condition that affects about 10 to 15 percent of people in the US. It is characterized by a perception of ringing or buzzing in the ears that can be very bothersome and interfere with daily life. Unfortunately, there is no cure for tinnitus. However, there are treatments that can help alleviate constant ringing in the ears. One of these treatments is sound therapy.
What is Sound Therapy?
Sound therapy is a treatment strategy used to decrease the perception of tinnitus. It is an evidence-based approach that has been proven to work for people with tinnitus of all ages. Sound therapy involves using different types of sounds, such as white noise, music, audiobooks, and nature sounds, to make your tinnitus less noticeable. Sound therapy works by stimulating your auditory system with external sounds, essentially keeping it busy with sounds other than your tinnitus.
The Four Steps to a Successful Sound Therapy Plan
Developing an effective sound therapy plan involves four steps:
- Step 1 – Determine what type of sound to use: There are different types of sounds used in sound therapy, such as interesting sounds, background sounds, or relaxing sounds. Interesting sounds are best for activities that require attention, while background sounds or relaxing sounds are best for relaxing or falling asleep.
- Step 2 – Determine when to use the sound: Depending on the activity you are doing, you may need to adjust the type of sound you are using. For example, relaxing sounds are best when falling asleep, while interesting sounds are best when focusing on a task.
- Step 3 – Determine the appropriate volume level for the sound: Sound therapy should be played at a level that matches or slightly below the level of your tinnitus. Too loud or too soft, and it will not be effective.
- Step 4 – Determine how to play the sound: There are many options for how to play the sound. You can use speakers, headphones, earbuds, or hearing aids.
Using Hearing Aids with Tinnitus
If you have hearing loss and tinnitus together, treating your hearing loss with hearing aids can also dramatically reduce the perception of tinnitus without using any sound therapy. Hearing aids can help fill in the sounds you can no longer hear and restore your hearing to a more natural state. This can lessen the impact of tinnitus on your life.
The Benefits of Sound Therapy
Figuring out the best sound therapy plan may not be easy, but the process provides a sense of control over your tinnitus that is more than worth the effort. By finding a few sound therapy strategies that work, you can alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety around your tinnitus and improve your overall quality of life. Sound therapy can not only help make tinnitus less noticeable but can also help people with tinnitus sleep better and concentrate more effectively.
The Bottom Line
Sound therapy is an effective approach for reducing the perception of tinnitus. The four steps to developing an effective sound therapy plan are determining what type of sound to use, when to use the sound, the appropriate volume level, and how to play the sound. If you have hearing loss and tinnitus, treating your hearing loss with hearing aids can also help reduce the impact of tinnitus. By following a sound therapy plan for tinnitus, you can take control of your condition and improve your quality of life.