Sound enrichment applications for Tinnitus

Francis L'Africain

Written by Francis L’Africain,

According to Statistics Canada, 37% of adults have had tinnitus in one year (A). Unfortunately, there are no medications to eliminate tinnitus. Although there is no cure, many people get used to it over time by applying certain strategies (1). Among these, sound therapy can help reduce the perception of tinnitus and the distress associated with it.

What is sound enrichment and how does it work?

You may have noticed that your tinnitus is stronger when you are in a quiet place (for example, your bedroom). You can compare your tinnitus to a candle: When the candle is in a dark room, it is easy to distinguish the flame. On the other hand, if the candle is at the centre of a well-lit room, you may not even notice it.

The purpose of sound enrichment is to reduce the contrast between your sound environment and your tinnitus. To do this, you can use a variety of sounds according to your preferences. 

Sounds from everyday life: 

  • Fan; 
  • Soft music; 
  • Low volume on radio or TV; 
  • Keep the window open; 
  • Cat’s purring, etc. 

Solutions specific to sound therapy: 

  • Hearing aids if you have hearing loss; 
  • Noise generators in the ears (like hearing aids); 
  • Table or pillow noise generators;  
  • Apps for smartphones. 

By enriching your sound environment, you can camouflage your tinnitus or at least reduce the attention you pay to it. The latter will disturb you less and you will feel more relaxed. 

A few words about mobile sound enrichment apps

Mobile sound enrichment applications are interesting as they feature an impressive variety of sounds (rain, river, birds, winds, waves, music, white noise, etc.). It is almost impossible for you not to find an option that suits you! 

There are many mobile applications that can be used as sound enrichment, some of which are specifically designed for tinnitus and others for relaxation (2). You can find them by searching the following keywords in App Store (for Apple phones) or Play Store (for Android phones): tinnitus, white noise, noise therapy. Most apps are free although some may include in-app purchases. 

When using a mobile app, keep in mind that it is better to opt for partial masking rather than full masking. In other words, you should always hear your tinnitus and not camouflage it completely. This prevents the sound from interfering with your daily activities (for example, that the sound is louder than when someone is talking to you). Also, you must avoid putting the sound too loud to not risk causing hearing damage.

Do not hesitate to consult the audiologists of the ODYO team for all your questions concerning tinnitus! 

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