Tinnitus is the classically the sound of ringing in the ears. However, many sufferers also describe other sounds such as buzzing or whooshing. It can vary in intensity; some people only are aware of it when there is no background noise whereas others can hear it all the time. This can clearly be very intrusive. Masking is often used to cover up the noise. Here are our recommendations for the best white noise machines for tinnitus. These give the best value for money based on customer reviews and price.
So what is masking? Masking is the use of another sound source to cover up the sound of the tinnitus. It needs to have certain characteristics. The sound needs to be loud enough and similar enough to the tinnitus in order that it covers it up. If it is a pitch which is very different then it may still be audible. Loud volume of masking noise can compensate for a difference in the quality of the noise. This also depends on the severity of the tinnitus.
Some people simply put the radio on when there is no other background noise and this is enough to cover it up. Sometimes people are kept awake by the sound and need a white noise machine in order to be able to fall asleep. Some white noise machines allow the noise to be tailored to the pitch of the tinnitus, making it much more effective at blocking the sound. There are several iPhone apps which do this. Pink noise is a variety of white noise with a different pitch.
An alternative to a white noise machine is wearing a pair of ZenPlugs Ear Plugs For Sleeping. They are amazingly comfortable and great at blocking snoring and other noises.
Different white noise machines work in different ways. Some use a fan to create turbulence in the air which creates the sound of white noise. Others use a recorded file which is simply played back. Some use a computer program to generate the white noise. This type may allow the tone to be adjusted.
White noise can be listened to in several different ways. A white noise generator may have its own speaker. An iPhone could be plugged into a home stereo or portable radio to create the sound. Otherwise it could be used with headphones or a pillow with a built-in speaker to aid a restful night's sleep.