What Are the Benefits of Sound Therapy for Tinnitus?

H. Colledge

Sound therapy is a treatment in which noises are used to help distract people from the sounds produced by their tinnitus. One of the benefits of sound therapy for tinnitus is the fact that patients can carry out the treatment themselves, in the form of a self-help program. There is the added advantage that sound therapy is also one of the easiest tinnitus treatments that can be carried out by patients at home. The therapy is not limited to self-help and can be used as part of a broader treatment program with medical professionals. Sound therapy for tinnitus is an adaptable form of therapy, as different types of sounds and different modes of delivery can be used to suit patients' preferences and circumstances.

Ringing in the ears can be a symptom of a ruptured eardrum.
Ringing in the ears can be a symptom of a ruptured eardrum.

A major benefit of sound therapy for tinnitus is that the techniques are convenient and can be used by patients at home. Different types of sound therapy, including natural sounds and music, may be acquired in the form of CDs, tapes and mp3 files. Several easily obtainable types of devices are available to play the required sounds. These include special bedside machines, which can be particularly helpful for patients whose tinnitus prevents them from falling asleep. Sound pillows with speakers are another possible way of delivering sounds at night, and they may be hooked up to a CD player or mp3 player.

Small devices which resemble hearing aids can be used to deliver sound therapy, and these are known as wearable sound generators. These extend the uses of sound therapy, allowing patients to use the technique wherever and whenever they want, and there is the benefit that sound generators that sit inside the ear are not visible to others. Other sound generators are worn behind the ear and these have the advantage that they do not block the ear canal. Sound therapy for tinnitus may be achieved very simply, as natural background noises from the environment are available freely and easily. Some tinnitus patients find that simply opening a window to let in the sounds of distant traffic or wind can be beneficial.

Although sound therapy techniques are so simple and convenient, there is no strong evidence that they are effective in isolation. It is thought that this type of therapy is most likely to benefit patients when carried out as part of a tinnitus management program that includes other methods such as counseling. Even so, for those patients unable to gain access to professional help, carrying out sound therapy for tinnitus at home can be a useful option.

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