Serving Patients in Western North Carolina since 1981
Soothing Tinnitus with Sound Therapy
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is often a symptom of hearing loss. For many, the ringing can be extremely uncomfortable at times. Many people who experience tinnitus have found that certain relaxing sounds can minimize the ringing in the ears and have a soothing effect. Learn how ambient noise and fractal tones can be used to help cope with tinnitus.
If you’re affected by tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, it’s possible you’ve come across a few different home remedies in your quest for a solution. You may have even searched online for “how to stop tinnitus” or “sounds to help you sleep.”
You’re not alone in this hunt for a cure – the American Tinnitus Association reports that approximately 50 million Americans live with the condition.
Many people have shared their stories on trying to mentally block out the effects of tinnitus. This is because it is not an issue with your ears, rather one with the brain trying to create sound where none exists.
We’ve heard stories of people that fall asleep with a fan next to their bedside because the dull noise helps lull them to sleep. This is similar to the logic as to why humans fall asleep more easily in cars and planes with the dull, low frequency noise playing consistently.
Now, we’ve seen the technological application of this in the form of tinnitus relief programs in hearing aids. The top hearing aid manufacturers today have implemented new technology that plays ambient tones through the devices into the user’s ears that are proven to help alleviate the effects of tinnitus.
The Effects of Fractal Tones on Tinnitus
In 2014, a study was published by The Hearing Review strongly supporting the effectiveness of a new program called Zen Therapy that was created by Widex, a Danish hearing aid manufacturer. Hearing aids equipped with the Zen tinnitus relief feature are able to play a variety of ambient fractal tones into the user’s ear.
“The combination of both tinnitus annoyance reduction and increased relaxation may be an important factor in long-term acceptance for sound-based tinnitus treatments.” -Dr. Robert Sweetow, quoted in this 2012 study.
The study tested individuals with mild-to-severe-tinnitus as part of a treatment which included counseling, amplification, stress management and fractal tones. Therapy using fractal music is one of the specific treatments for hearing loss that has piqued the interest of the scientific community.
Fractal music is described as sequences of tones with no lyrics, which sound similar to wind chimes. The frequencies play in a repetitive succession that creates a calming effect. The users are able to adjust the volume of the tones as well as cycle between their preferred tones
“The cycle of the treatment with fractal music leads people to become conscious of the tinnitus first, and then conscious of the fractal music, which makes them feel relaxed, relieved and comfortable in the end.” -Dr. Yoshimasa Sekiya, quoted in this 2013 study.
The tones in the Widex Zen Therapy programs meet the requirements of the Tinnitus Retraining Therapy protocol. The results have now been published and circulated among the hearing professionals, including audiologists, hearing aid specialists, and ENTs.