It might surprise you to hear that many people have some mild form of tinnitus. It is extremely common and gets more likely to affect you as you age. It is a real problem but it is also true that often, mild cases do not get reported or diagnosed because the brain works overtime to screen out the ear ringing that is typically associated with tinnitus. This way, most people can actually ignore that pesky buzzing at the back of their minds.
You might think to yourself:“Well, if that is the case then there shouldn’t be any problem.” Yes, as long as your brain ensures that the ringing noise in your ear stays subdued, then you have no problem. However, this mild form of tinnitus can quickly turn into the full-blown condition that has made the lives of millions of people worldwide so unbearable.
Anything from loud noises to an ear infection or even certain prescription pills can exacerbate this mild problem into a fully-fledged medical condition. If you think the fact that even things like your prescription pills can foster this condition, then the next statement will probably have you running for the hills.
Tinnitus has no cure!!
Yes, tinnitus, or ear ringing as it is commonly called, has no cure. Technically, it is not even a disease, even though you can experience some hearing loss. It is a condition that can only be managed using various methods that may include:
- Lifestyle changes
- The use of sound wave therapy machines
- Some medication
- Masking and hearing aids for tinnitus
- Relaxation techniques
To be honest, the remedies prescribed typically depends on the type of tinnitus that you have because no two patients are alike. Tinnitus comes in many different forms, it can be a buzzing or humming sound, it can be a ringing, and it can occur at different audio frequencies as well as different levels of severity, meaning people often have to do some experimenting to find the right treatment or combination of treatments.
The Latest Treatment for Tinnitus
Lately, there has been widespread research into the use of sound wave therapy machines for tinnitus. This is quite a new technique and there are some promising results with test patients who report feeling much better after prolonged use of sound wave therapy. Some even say that their mood has much-improved, thanks to the sound wave therapy that has minimized their condition by a whopping 50%. People who suffer from tinnitus will know how hard it is to have this kind of impact on the issue.
What You Need to Know about Sound Wave Therapy and Tinnitus
Sound wave therapy is deeply steeped in a mix of scientific research as well as new age beliefs of ancient Eastern mysteries. For example, vibrational sound therapy generally works with the theory associated with Chinese 5 element acupuncture that believes every organ in our bodies vibrates at a specific frequency. Thanks to quantum physics, we now know that all matter actually vibrates, albeit to a very minute degree depending on the matter in question.
The idea behind vibrational sound therapy is that things like stress, sickness, and poor lifestyle choices cause our body organs to vibrate at frequencies that are not of their original setting. In fact, it is believed that tinnitus comes about as a result of energy flowing through certain meridian channels in our bodies. When this flow is out of sync with your organs, you hear the ringing or buzzing sound that is commonly associated with tinnitus.
To try and get your internal organs back to their original vibration setting, vibration sound therapy using tuning forks or singing bowls is employed. This allows your ears to find their original settings and your internal organs to settle thus reducing or entirely eliminating the ringing noise that comes with tinnitus.
Conventional Sound Therapy Machines
Of course, not everyone believes in that sort of thing and when you have a constant buzzing sound that only you can hear 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you may not have the patience to experiment with what may sound like mystical or even fictional therapies. Thankfully, there are conventional sound therapy machines that can be used to manage tinnitus as well.
How Sound Therapy Machines Work
There are many sound therapy machines on the market today geared toward managing tinnitus. Some of the most popular machines make use of the same technology as ultrasounds. The idea is that these handheld or wearable devices produce energy waves that stimulate the patient’s auditory nerve (which is the part that is responsible for picking up sound). These waves stimulate the nerve and distract the brain from the actual sound that is being caused by the tinnitus.
The truth is that sound therapy machines do not have to be big, spaceship-like devices that can only be used in a medical facility. Like most modern technology, they are getting smaller and much more convenient. Today, there are so many sound therapy machines used by tinnitus patients including things like:
- Audio products that can be played on a stereo or downloaded to your devices
- Smartphone apps that can play the right kind of sounds
- Wearable sound generators
- Desktop or bedside sound generators such as white noise machines
All these devices work using the same group of principles and methods to manage the tinnitus and all the inconvenience it brings. The four ways that sound wave therapies impact our brains are:
- This basically means exposure to noises which will be heard over the tinnitus.
- A similar principle but one based on distracting the attention of a tinnitus sufferer, meaning they are not focusing on the sound it creates.
- This is a more complex term which basically impacts the way a brain processes tinnitus, giving the signal to the brain that the tinnitus is unimportant and makes it far easier to ignore and overlook.
- This means using sounds to tone down any hyperactivity in the brain or other brain activity which is thought to be the trigger or cause of the condition. For instance, some people suffer more when they are overstimulated.
Some of these devices are not only wearable, but they are also very small. Good examples are:
The Levo System
The Levo system is made by Otoharmonics, a brand which has spent a lot of time and effort in developing a system to help people with tinnitus. The system involves use while sleeping and is a creative way to influence the brain with the habituation method. Making the brain block out the sound and deem it unimportant in your subconscious.
The system also works to target the exact sound frequencies that each individual is affected by and targets this frequency range, making it more effective. It also allows healthcare professionals to hear the exact sound that the patient is having to deal with and therefore makes it easier to treat.
This is no witchcraft or science fiction! It has CSA certification and FDA clearance as well as being backed up by a patent. The product is extremely smart and has the ability to track the way a patient responds to it via technology in the form of an application. It integrates the system used to track and monitor the ailment, the Tinnitus Functional Index.
The system works with earbuds and by installing an application on your device. The system should be in place for at least three months and a consultation with a healthcare professional, especially one with a specialization in ear care, is recommended.
The customer testimonials for the product are extremely favorable, with a huge amount of people talking about the brilliant effect the Levo system was able to have. The habituation is arguably the smartest system that has ever been devised for this kind of issue. It means that the benefits can be seen long after you have taken the earbuds out.
The only real downside of this product is that you will need to have it fitted and adjusted by a healthcare professional and it also needs an apple device to run from such as an iPhone or iPad.
The Serenity System
The Serenity System is barely the size of a matchbox while most sound therapy machines can be worn over and in the ears like plugs. The approach attempts to use nerve stimulation to reverse the changes our brain has experienced which have caused the tinnitus to occur, stopping it at source.
Changes called ‘neuroplastic’ alterations in our brain cells are thought to be the cause of tinnitus by many scientists and though this has not been proven, and the science behind it is very complex, the reviews of the Serenity system show it helping a lot of people.
Common and Easier to Find Sound Therapies
These complex systems can be a wonderful option but they don’t come cheap and there are options for people who suffer more mildly with the issue. Sound generators and other therapies are designed to help with getting to sleep, concentrating or simply experiencing some relief from the condition. The most common sound therapy machines are the following options:
- Bedside or tabletop sound generators: These are handy machines that come fully loaded with a selection of sounds perfectly attuned to your particular type of tinnitus. These devices have different settings such as volume adjustment and timers to make them go off sometime after you fall asleep.
- Wearable sound generators: Formerly known as white noise generators or maskers, these devices produce a constant white noise that is not unlike a radio tuned off-station. Most of them are small and can be worn in or behind the ear so they do not block hearing.
This is more the kind of everyday or over-the-counter product which is commonly bought to help with the issues of tinnitus sufferers. It doesn’t need to work with an app or have someone fit and process it so that it offers relief and, though in severe cases it may not quite offer the relief you are looking for, it is great for many tinnitus sufferers.
It is designed to help with sleep and relaxation and does so by using sound waves to create a better environment and noises to both drown out the sound and provide a calming effect.
You can choose the sound which works best from a library of 12 different settings. The sounds have been made with the consultation of doctors and even been clinically tested for their effects on sleep and well-being.
There is a timer so it can turn off automatically and it even has a built-in alarm so you can use these sounds to wake you up in the morning. It is a pleasant way to rise and can provide relief from the instant feeling of inconvenience when you wake up.
It has a headphone connection, great for if you share a bed and your partner doesn’t like the sound, and it can even be plugged straight into pillow speakers.
You could also use hearing aids as tinnitus can cause hearing loss in some patients. The idea is that these sound therapy machines produce specifically calibrated sounds that either helps to rewire your auditory cortex over time or simply generate enough sound to make your brain turn down the noise created by your tinnitus.
Whichever type of treatment you opt for, users of these sound therapy machines—no matter the type—and vibroacoustic therapy often report great relief after continuous use which could be in as little as a few minutes or as long as 90 consecutive days. There is sometimes a little experimentation to be done to ensure that you do end up with a product which is going to give the correct level of relief for you, as everyone is different and no two experiences of tinnitus are the same. As new technology continues to be developed, relief from your condition could be on its way.