A tinnitus masker is a sound generators which are ear worn devices that are used in tinnitus and hyperacusis management programs using sound therapy. The devices produce a soft, soothing gentle noise similar to the sound from a showerhead, fountain or a gently falling rain. The noise helps reduce the perceived “loudness” of the tinnitus. With the loudness of the tinnitus reduced, the tinnitus becomes less annoying and more manageable. In hyperacusis treatment, the noise is used to “de-sensitize” the central auditory system.
O’Connor Hearing Center provides tinnitus maskers from several manufacturers and includes both In-the-Ear devices, Behind-the-Ear and Over-the-Ear versions. For patients with mild tinnitus, the tinnitus masker may provide immediate relief. Studies have shown there may some degree of “Residual Inhibition” which means the tinnitus noise may be relieved for some period after the masker is removed. For the great majority of patients, this “residual inhibition” only lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes.
When tinnitus is the primary concern, but here also exists a hearing loss which is creating communication difficulty, a “Combination Device” is available which consists of a masking sound generator as well as providing basic amplification.