Sound in an extraordinary thing. It influences our moods and thoughts in so many different ways – both positive and negative. For instance, for most of us, hearing music we enjoy is soothing and relaxing, but turn the volume of the same music up too loud – such as at a concert or when using earphones set at too high a volume – and the same music is jarring and capable of inducing stress.

When it comes to music and other sounds, quality is a subjective phenomenon, one that is dependent on individual preferences; the quantity of it (as measured by volume, in decibels), however, is incredibly objective, and can be quantified. We know that when we have been subjected to high volume sounds or music above a certain decibel level for prolonged periods of time, those sounds can damage the tiny hair cells in our ears, and cause noise-induced hearing loss. Noise exposure is a massive problem in America. Some estimates are that one in every five individuals has some level of tinnitus or hearing loss as a direct consequence of noise. The truth is, even quiet sounds can be disquieting; for instance, sounds at a volume under 10 decibels – softer than a whisper, such as the sound of a ticking clock – have been proven to cause anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

But strangely enough, sound can also be used for positive purposes, and even to treat some of the effects of hearing loss. Like many people, you have probably noticed the soothing effects of some sounds, such as ocean surf, the falling water, or the meditative sounds of chanting. These types of sounds are increasingly being used to treat anxiety rather than induce it, and are similarly being used by hearing specialists to treat tinnitus rather than cause it. Music therapy has been used to speed recovery in hospitals, to aid rehabilitation among stroke victims, and as a successful treatment to slow the advance of Alzheimer’s dementia. Both at home and in workplaces, white noise generators (which produce a sound similar to surf) have been used to overcome sleep disorders and to mask the background sounds of noisy environments.

And in the field of treating hearing loss, sound therapy and music therapy is increasingly being used to treat tinnitus, and to train those who have this impairment to psychologically mask the constant buzzing or ringing sounds they hear. Hearing specialists and hearing instrument specialists trained in music therapy for tinnitus sufferers use carefully chosen music tracks to retrain the brain to focus on foreground sounds instead of the background ringing from tinnitus. This treatment doesn’t really make the ringing sounds go away, but it does allow people to no longer experience anxiety and stress as a result of hearing these sounds, and to focus their attention on the sounds they wish to hear.

So if you or a loved one has tinnitus, contact us and arrange a consultation so that we can discuss treatment options, which may include music therapy, with you.

Call Now
Find Location