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The Hear-Ring Lab

Prevention & Management

How can I try to prevent tinnitus?

  • Prevention strategies for tinnitus focus on decreasing one's risk of a hearing loss. It is important to note that if one already suffers from tinnitus, prevention steps will not reverse your symptoms. Instead, these steps should be taken to help prevent your tinnitus and any other auditory functions from worsening.
  • A basic overview of what constitutes as an unhealthy auditory environment is one which exposes the listener to any one-time or long-term exposure to noise at 85 dB and above. One suggestion to determine if your environment is too loud is through the use of mobile applications. Many of the applications will measure the sounds in decibels.
  • Here is a list of average dB ratings for familiar sounds
      • Humming of refrigerator
        • 45 dB
      • Normal conversation
        • 60 dB
      • Noise from heavy city traffic
        • 85 dB
      • Motorcycles
        • 95 dB
      • MP3 at max volume
        • 105 dB
      • Sirens
        • 120 dB
      • Firecrackers
        • 150 dB3
  • Overall, the louder the noise, the shorter the distance between the source of the noise and the listener and the longer the duration of exposure to the noise, the greater the impact on one's hearing.
  • Strategies such as turning down the volume of music or decreasing the emittance of noise from loud machinery can help preserve one's hearing. The use of hearing protection devices like ear muffs, ear plugs, canal caps, and other sound mufflers should be used to limit one's exposure to loud noises if withdrawal from the noisy environment is an unavailable option.vi

How can tinnitus be managed?

  • At this time, there is no known cure for tinnitus. However, there are a number of ways to manage tinnitus and help increase one's quality of life. Each individual tinnitus patient will have to customize their treatment/management techniques with the help of a hearing healthcare professional. Many times, using a collection of techniques may lead to a decrease in the effect of the tinnitus.
  • Here are some of the management tools and techniques:
    While extensive, this list is not exhaustive. For more information about management and treatment methods, speak with your healthcare provider.
    • Sound Therapy Devices/Tinnitus Masking Devices
      • Any device that emits noise to help relieve the patient of negative emotions associated to their tinnitus. They can be table-top or personal wear devices such as devices similar to hearing aids or hearing aids themselves. These devices are used to provide a steady background noise to decrease the effects of tinnitus.
    • Hearing aids
      • Purpose of the personal electronic device is to increase the degree of acoustic information the individual receives when there is a significant loss to one's ability to process sound.
      • The devices can be combined to have programmable sound-therapies.
    • Modified-sound/Notched-Music Devices
      • These devices are more individual than more mainstream sound devices and tinnitus maskers. They are medical-grade and used less consistently than other sound generators/devices.
    • Self-help groups
      • The ATA can direct you to a local tinnitus group. These self-help groups provide support and a welcoming environment to help you accommodate with your tinnitus. vii
        • Use of low-level background sounds (e.g. music, waterfall, raindrops, ocean waves, etc.)
        • Apps for portable media players
        • Habituation therapies e.g. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
        • Relaxation therapy
        • Experimental therapies
        • Acoustic neural stimulation
        • Drug therapies
          • The use of antidepressants and antianxiety drugs
        • TMJ treatments
        • Lifestyle Changes
          • Reduction of stress

3 NIDCD. (n.d.). Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/noise-induced-hearing-loss

vi CHC. (n.d.). Common environmental noise levels | CHC. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://chchearing.org/noise/common-environmental-noise-levels/
NIDCD. (n.d.). Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/noise-induced-hearing-loss
NIDCD. (2016, March 31). Too Loud, Too Long-Learn about the factors affecting noise-induced hearing loss. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from https://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/parents/too-loud-too-long

vii ASHA. (n.d.). Tinnitus Management. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/tinnitus-management/
ATA. (n.d.). Managing Your Tinnitus. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.ata.org/managing-your-tinnitus
NYU Langone. (n.d.). Tinnitus in Adults. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://nyulangone.org/conditions/tinnitus-in-adults