Sounds to Relieve Tinnitus

Ariel view of waves on the beach

People with tinnitus have been using environmental sounds to alleviate their tinnitus for centuries. In the 1970’s an early researcher and tinnitus sufferer noticed that sitting by a fountain considerably reduced the perception and distress he was experiencing. Following this insight, a crude early ‘Tinnitus Masker’ was developed. This was effectively a broken hearing aid that produced a constant rushing noise known as white noise. Although ‘drowning out’ the tinnitus was found not to work very well, patients themselves discovered that they worked best when both the tinnitus and the white noise were heard at the same time.


There are several ways to provide sound therapy:

  • environmental sounds (such as having a fan running)
  • sounds found on something like YouTube or the radio
  • one of the many tinnitus apps
  • bedside/table-top sound generators
  • a wearable sound generator, usually hearing aids

The last four can all provide natural sounds, ‘white noise’ or gentle music. Hearing aids can deliver supplementary tones and sounds, delivered with or without amplification. A wide range of these are available from Tinnitus Centres audiologists. They will be specifically programmed to be tailored to your personal tinnitus sound. The advantage of hearing aids is that they can go everywhere with you, and they are extremely unobtrusive and discreet.

Having such a wide selection of tinnitus therapy sounds is crucial, as everyone’s perception of tinnitus is unique, so sounds that may be therapeutic for one person may make things worse for someone else. Every manufacturer has its own in-built strategy for helping to reduce tinnitus. Following a detailed tinnitus assessment protocol, our audiologists will help guide you to the best solution for your needs.


One of the factors that can make tinnitus feel so distressing is the lack of perceived control we have over the noise. Sound enrichment can be an excellent way of regaining a sense of control over your experience of tinnitus. Our trained tinnitus experts will work with you to enable additional programs in your hearing aid that can both switch on the therapeutic sounds and also allow you to alter the volume to match changes in the level of your own tinnitus.


Recently, applications have become available for mobile phones that can be linked to your hearing aids and provide significantly higher-quality therapeutic sounds. These are more full natural sounds, such as the seashore, wind through trees, or babbling brook, than simply variations of white noise. These can be shaped by you to produce exactly the therapeutic sounds that positively effect your tinnitus. Our audiologists will guide you both in the choice and use of these applications and assist in linking your mobile phone directly to your hearing aids to obtain the maximum benefit.