Western Hearing Services

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the role of external sound?

External sound from radios, TVs, stereos, etc. is used at a low level in order to bring the changes in your subconscious hearing system, and not to cover (mask) your tinnitus. It reduces the contrast between your tinnitus and complete silence, and slightly distracts you from the sound of your tinnitus.

What are the devices and what do they look like?

The devices used in retraining therapy are called "noise generators" or "sound generators". Presently, we are recommending two styles. One is a pair of small instruments that are worn behind both ears. They look similar to the behind-the-ear hearing aids and can be worn with glasses. The other style is worn in the ear, but not blocking the ear canal as is the case for many hearing aids. They do not interfere with your work or talking on the telephone.

Can I just buy the devices?

The devices are used to speed up the processing of retraining, but what is important is how they are used. The manner in which the devices are used depends on each patient's individual needs. If you just buy and wear the devices you most probably will not achieve improvement, and in some cases you may even hurt yourself. We will teach you how to use them effectively.

Do I need to have the devices?

Not everybody needs the devices. After the medical and audiological evaluation we will give you our recommendations and you can choose your treatment.

I am using hearing aids; how can I use other devices?

Although in some cases masking can provide tinnitus relief, this approach is aimed at making tinnitus inaudible. When the device is removed, however, the tinnitus returns. In addition, the level of sound required to mask the tinnitus may be uncomfortable. We use the devices to generate noise, not to cover the sound of tinnitus. The goal of retraining therapy is to retrain the brain so that it eventually does not pick up the tinnitus sound, and in order to do this, the tinnitus sound cannot be covered. Generating sound that mixes with your tinnitus will help you feel more comfortable and remove the emotional response to tinnitus. At this point, the tinnitus no longer bothers you, even when it is perceived.


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