Tinnitus Masking features. Do they work for you?

I’m considering the Phonak 312t’s from Costco. Mainly because my ‘hearing damaged at birth’ wife has gone from ~$10K Audiologist HA’s to the ~$2K Costco HA’s with very good results. (2 sets now since the dog ate the first ones. AFTER the Costco ‘no questions asked’ replacement warranty ran out of course!)

But the primary reason I ask this question is because the Tinnitus Masking feature is disabled on the Costco version of this HA, and I would gladly pay more for the full-featured version from our ENT if I could be reasonably assured that this feature has indeed worked for a large percentage of the patients that have/use them.

My ENT’s Audiologist is EXTREMELY non-committal in regards to the effectiveness of this feature, and that gives me great concern to it’s actual value.

Tinnitus seems to be one of those maladies often treated by the ‘put a blindfold on, spin around and pin the tail on the donkey’ remedies. From my perspective, it appears to be a “hope system” that has no real basis in science behind it. Given the vast number of sufferers, (and the cash we’d pay to free of this monkey) you’d think someone out there would have a clue by now.

There is clearly a profit in it, and we all know the medical industry’s best inventions are driven by corporate greed on the backs of an idealistic and intelligent workforce. (Doctors, nurses,…audiologists, etc.)

So please…anyone and everyone who has tinnitus AND has a tinnitus masking feature on their HA’s. This is your opportunity to help everyone like me. PLEASE reply with your honest and detailed appraisal of your HA’s and this feature.

If you have also/or used tinnitus therapy programs like competing sonic feedback and similar programs (none of that homeopathic crap that some of us {yes, I include me} have wasted money on) I’d love to hear your recommendations pro or con.

We all thank you in advance.

For me cognitive behavioral therapy has worked wonders in terms of tinnitus relief (group therapy, about eight sessions over the course of three months). Mainly, the cognitive behavioral therapy has provided me with better tools for dealing with my tinnitus, but the tinnitus also seem to have lessened somewhat.

It’s not clear from you post whether you’re currently wearing hearing aids, but for a lot of people even hearing aids without tinnitus features do provide tinnitus relief, presumably because of the increased sound input. My tinnitus is certainly worse when I take my HAs out.

So far I have managed to live with my tinnitus, and I have learned to live with it. There are some times that it does get to me, but that is normally due to sinus colds, or if my blood pressure is high. I do use a sound machine in the bedroom. and I have a sound generator on my phone to be used the same as I would other music.

I’ve had tinnitus going on 40 years and learned to ignore it many many years ago. (The first time today that I noticed it was seeing this thread…) So I’m staying away from tinnitus maskers out of concern that they may make the tinnitus more noticeable when I’m not using the masker. That might not be a reasonable concern, but I’m not going to risk finding out.

I don’t have tinnitus maskers with my HA’s, but when I put my HA’s on in the morning my tinnitus is basically gone until I remove the HA’s at the end of the day.

I don’t have aids with this feature yet but following this on another forum it’s seems that some have success and some don’t. Everyone’s perception of tinnitus is different so I would suggest a trial of HA that have it and see if it works for you.

I agree with seb. My HA’s don’t have a masker either, but when I’m wearing them I don’t “hear” the tinnitus. I thought this was just in my head until a couple of weeks ago when my left HA “died” and had to be sent off for warranty. During the time it was gone the tinnitus was back and heard in my left ear only. Yesterday I got the repaired one back and instant relief from the tinnitus. I know we all are different, but this is my experience.

BTW, I asked my audi if Phonak said what was wrong with the returned HA. She said the report she got back said they replaced the electronics and the case. She agreed that seems to be their wording for they replaced the entire aid.

Thanks for all of the thoughtful replies. I haven’t been on the forum for a few months, because after my second hearing test (this one at Costco N. Austin…which was identical to my ENT’s test a few months earlier) the tech told me that she felt I was not a candidate for hearing aids, and that they would not likely help my Tinnitus. Also, because of my insistence at finding some non-artificial sounding hearing aids, she didn’t think I should even try some. This even though I was completely ready to buy a pair of Phonak Brios that minute. The audiologist was not in to discuss further, but I left feeling dismayed and dejected.

Fortunately, my wife (who is on her second pair of HAs from the S Austin Costco) insisted I go see the Audiologist at the S Costco she used when we lived south. After visiting with her and her techs (and an hour or so scouring the web for information) I plunked down $2600 for some Bernafon Juna 9’s.

i was a DJ in my younger days, and have always considered myself to be an audiophile, and the reviews of these HAs seem to be good by the musicians and others who have passed along their experiences here and elsewhere around the web.

The Junas will be here and programmed in a month, and hopefully they will provide some relief from these dang cicadas all day. I’ll report back once I have spent some time with them. Thanks again for everyone’s feedback!

Thanks for that info SignHere. I have high pitch tinnitus but am lucky enough to be able to ignore it, except in a quiet setting. I did purchase a set of Phonak Brios from Costco and am happy with them. I was torn between the Brios and the Bernafon Junas. I based my decision on the fact that the Brios had an “automatic setting” program where I would not have to adjust the program for a restaurant vs being outside etc. That being said, I really did like the sound quality of the Junas and wondered if there really would be a big difference.
I look forward to hearing your experience with them.

How does tinnitus masking work?

Since the “sound” is not coming in through the ears, and in my case considering that the"sound" changes from time to time, it seems very unlikely that an effective masking technology is possible…?

The hearing aids play a low-level sound which covers up the tinnitus or provides a distraction so you’re not as focused on it.

Yes, those were my two choices as well. I was ready to buy the Brios when I was steered towards the Junas by the tech after I mentioned that I considered myself an audiophile back in the days before my loss of hearing. My Costco is so busy that even though they’ve had my HA’s for over a week, it will be until March 12th before I can get them fitted.

Of course, that’s the beauty of a 90 day risk free trial, is that I can try these for 90 days, if I want to go to the Brios then I can do so without any additional cost. If I don’t like those I can always go back to the Junas. The flexibility really makes the decision to get HA’s just for tinnitus very easy.

Hi jtd, I tried hearing aids for tinnitus and they did nothing for me. Have you read this? I’m trying it on recommendation from one of the lads at work who swears it worked for him. Who knows, but worth a try

Thanks, I will look into it. I agree with seb and edatlanta though. I have no masker in my hearrring aids but when I put them in my tinnitus goes away. It was a pleasant suprise because I have been “ringing” for 30 plus years.

Ah, thanks. I thought they’d try an out of phase active noise cancelation technique, which is probably way too ambitious for today’s technology.

Let me see…

  • Guy’s first post
  • One of many similar “blog post” that link to the real site
  • It is one of many glowling and similar sites with the same link
  • The long, advertisement really tells you absolutely nothing

We have here a bunch of dedicated folks – sufferers and professional. You’d think this miracle wouldn’t be hidden away on a website that’s going to give the world $375 worth of information (yeah) for just $37. “But wait, there’s more!”

My only wonder is if it has anything to do with Ginsu knives or an endorsement by Ron Popeil.

The last time I tried a Tinnitus “Miracle Cure” I found myself a couple of hundred bucks lighter, with nothing to show for it except some empty ‘supplement’ and “amazing” ear drop bottles…and the same tinnitus I had when I started.

Oh, and the worst part is that the day I gave them my money, I’m pretty sure they sold my email address to every list purveyor out there, because I started getting about 500% more spam than I ever had before.

Come on March 12th…you’re my last hope.

My first visit to the VA audiologist, I was signed up for a class on how to cope with my ringing in my ears, what I learned from the class was what I had already been doing but it was great to have so many in that classroom to back my up on what was working for me.
So you ask what works for me. Never be in a quiet room where there is no sounds, and if that happens have something with you to mask the ringing in your ears, be it a Walkman with music playing or a sound machine in your bedroom, or a TV or radio station in the background. I worked in a phone support center and there was always people talking on the phones. I love to read and I read a lot, but when I read I have to have music or some kind of noise in the background, again just to mask the ringing in my ears. My ringing is so bad that my aids to not remove it, and I do not have aids that have anything in them to do so. I have always figured that if the aids was generating noise it would also be preventing me from hearing others talking to me. Also while I do not know it for a fact it just believe that the sound generation would kill the hearing aid batteries much faster.

I just wanted to add that I know there are some that cannot stand the ringing in their ears and that it drives them nuts. I guess I am lucky in the fact that I have learned to except it and to live with it. We all need to do what it takes for us to survive with the ringing in our ears.
I wish everyone the best of luck.

Thanks for the feedback cvkemp. I’m sorry to hear that your HA’s don’t help with your tinnitus. I hope that I’m one of the lucky ones it does (only 7 more days!) But I like how you’ve managed to live with it. I too use distraction methods such as a relatively loud HEPA air filter in my office at work (because I can’t run music all of the time) and a sound machine program called White Noise that has dozens of choices on my iPad at home. I like to read as well and can’t tolerate music playing during reading, but this app alone makes it possible.

I also agree with you that a masking feature probably takes its toll on the batteries. But I really don’t know since my wife has never had any such features on her HAs. Anyone out there with this feature have any comments on how their usage effects battery life?

With tinnitus you hear the sound, but if you put a microphone in your ear, there is no sound. Because there isn’t any sound, it is impossible to determine the phase of the tinnitus and then cancel it out. Everyone tells me the sounds that I hear are in my head and they are correct.