When framed as a slight buzzing in your ear, tinnitus doesn’t seem like the biggest health concern. Maybe it would be taken a bit more seriously if it were framed as an unceasing inescapable ringing that drowned out other noise and led to sleepless nights.
Tinnitus is a serious issue, and getting treatment or help for it (or any health concern, for that matter) is not a shameful sign of weakness in any way. To have a hearing test that can help gauge your level of tinnitus and/or hearing loss, fill out our free form and arrange a hearing test near you.
Tinnitus sound therapy treatment
Tinnitus can be addressed through a handful of different methods. Wearing a hearing aid is just one of the ways you can address tinnitus – you can also undergo sound therapy.
Sound therapy is the use of music or pleasant ambient noise to counteract illness, injury, or psychiatric disorders. Science behind this varies – when talking about physical injury or illness, some studies on sound therapy only go so far.
But when looking at the impacts of sound therapy on the mind, multiple analyses have found a link. For example, in a study on music’s effect on schizophrenic patients, it was found that patients exhibited decreased aggression and fewer hallucinations.
But tinnitus is a unique condition in that it skirts the line between a mental and physical affliction, so can sound therapy have the same effect on tinnitus as it does on psychological issues?
How does sound therapy work?
So what’s the method here? How does music or pleasing sound help with anxiety, stress, or even tinnitus? The answer is a pretty simple process – the patient listens to music, possibly being told to sing along or meditate during the piece.
But if you have tinnitus, don’t go loading up any old Rolling Stones or Metallica and start jamming out. The music has to have certain qualities, otherwise it’s just more noise. We won’t go over the properties the music needs to have, since it’s a lot of jargon, but there is a list on Wikipedia.
Just a disclaimer: the following is not really how this works, but bear with us, since it’s nice imagery and serves as a decent metaphor.
Imagine sound therapy as your mind receiving a full-body massage. During a massage, you want a certain rhythm, a certain level of strength, and for certain spots to be focused on. If the massage is too fast or too light, it won’t accomplish anything.
This is what you’re looking for in sound therapy – a sort of mental massage that relaxes the mind and eliminates mental stress.
The music needs to have the proper rhythm, volume, and timbre to have the full effect one your ears. Some appropriate genres are jazz, trance, and general meditative music.
Best type of sound therapy
Music therapy has quite a history. So much so that we don’t really know who first used it. We do know that it was created by several different groups of people far before they were able to contact each other, but some of these methods are truly ancient.
For example, native Australians (known as aboriginals) are theorized to have been using the didgeridoo to heal sickness and injury for an estimated 40,000 years!
Since sound therapy has been around for so long, people have been able to develop it in numerous different ways. Hence, we have a few different methods to go over:
This is not entirely music-focused, but still a scientifically-backed method of sound therapy. The patient reclines on a mattress embedded with speakers. Vibrations are sent through the mattress and into the body.
The list of benefits is largely focused around pain relief, and it can promote overall muscle relaxation and reduce symptoms in situations as serious as cancer and surgery recovery.
What we were talking about earlier – the simple act of listening to music can be a huge help with assuaging anxiety, showing to be even more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety before surgery.
The process is simple – the patient just has to listen to music, and possibly move in the same rhythm. While it won’t solve any problems on its own, it’s been used to help with rehab and even brain damage.
Hitting some metal
That’s the best title for this section that we could think of. There are a couple different methods of sound therapy that involve hitting a piece of metal and letting the reverb soothe your mind.
This could mean using a tuning fork, which resonates at a certain note when struck. Some notes supposedly resonate with different parts of the body or brain, in a similar fashion to acupuncture.
It could also mean using a standing bell – a Chinese apparatus dating back to the 12th century. When struck, they behave similarly to a tuning fork, sustaining a note for an extended period of time, which can similarly help relieve tension.
How do these help with tinnitus?
You might have noticed we’ve barely talked about tinnitus this entire article. We had to explain what sound therapy is, since it’s pretty abstract and weird. But now’s the time that we talk about how these methods can help you cope with tinnitus.
Since these methods all help with mental stress and tension, a concept closely tethered to tinnitus, it serves to reason that easing one would help subdue the other.
And if you don’t believe that music has the magical ability to heal the body or mind, at the very least the sound may be able to cover up, drown out, or distract you from your tinnitus.
But remember, even using the right music or noises isn’t going to do anything by itself. This is supposed to be a nice supplement to actual tinnitus treatment, not an alternative.
Sleep sound therapy
The age old question we’ve all been burning to ask even when we were children: can sound therapy help people suffering from tinnitus get to sleep? We can finally answer that question with a nice big yes!
But wait, you ask, sound helping you get to sleep? How can more noise be better for your sleep schedule? Well, a high pitched ringing or buzzing can keep someone awake and stirring for hours at a time, but a nice seaside breeze or a jungle full of birdsong can help lull you to sleep, especially if it drowns out any tinnitus.
Tinnitus is not fun. It can cause serious strain on your mental condition, and should be taken as seriously as similar conditions, like insomnia. If you’re suffering from tinnitus, it may be linked to hearing loss or previous aural damage.
If you’d like to assess the reason for your tinnitus, or the severity of your potential hearing loss, the best course of action would be to book a hearing test. To get a hearing test on the house, you can fill out our quick and simple form. Happy hearing!