A tinnitus masker is a tinnitus symptoms masking device used to create natural or artificial sounds within your surrounding environment. The goal is to suppress the ringing sounds you hear.
Tinnitus masker is designed based on simple white noise machine which produces a sound in random form such as rushing waterfall or sound of wind hitting the trees.
Why tinnitus masker?
The main function of the tinnitus masker is to increase the sound level around the listener so as to mask the ringing in your head through a sound which is appeasing and not intrusive. The device can also be used if you are suffering from ringing or buzzing ear while sleeping or relaxing. The device is most effective when you in a room or staying in a quiet environment since tinnitus is very noticeable when in a quiet place. The masker may make use of CD or MP3 recording and sometimes a bedside noise generator.
Other forms of soothing sounds that are generated by the masker devices are rainfall, ocean surface as well synthetic sounds like brown noise, pink noise and white noise. These sounds help your auditory system to be less sensitive to tinnitus, eventually relaxing you after minimizing the contrast between tinnitus noises and a background sound.
There are persons who suffer from tinnitus frequently and may need masking devices almost all the time. A wearable hearing aid that can increase ambient sound or produce low level wide band sounds may be good when requiring masking at all times. Combination devices that incorporate both amplifying function and white noise generating function into a single apparatus can be very useful for certain group of tinnitus sufferers.
Here is an example of fan white noise.
Habituation as a neurological process
The frequent use of a tinnitus masking system can support habituation which is considered a neurological process that is physical in nature. The process promotes neuronal remapping from within the auditory cortex your brain. Habituation can result in the reliable reduction of tinnitus. Promoting habituation is also a form of tinnitus retraining therapy which combines counseling and sound therapy. However, a sound masking just below the estimated intensity of the tinnitus signal is more effective than completely masking tinnitus in most patients.