tinnitus relief white noise study

White Noise Therapy for Tinnitus Relief Should be Avoided, Says JAMA Study

Tinnitus is a widespread problem with approximately 20 million Americans suffering from bothersome reactions to it. Although there are a few scientifically-validated therapies for many types of tinnitus, many patients are apt to try various types of over-the-counter solutions, including products with white noise masking.

An August 30 JAMA-Otolaryngology report indicates white noise therapy for tinnitus relief should be avoided. According to the San Francisco-based researchers, white noise exposure engages anatomical and neurochemical plastic changes in a way that induces maladaptive changes in the brain that degrade neurological health and compromise cognition.

At the core of their analysis, the researchers surmise that both tinnitus and white noise accelerate the aging process of the brain. Accordingly, the authors say the mechanisms commonly associated with hearing loss and tinnitus reflect cortical damage throughout the central auditory pathway and these same changes occur to the brain by exposure to unstructured white noise, even at nontraumatic levels in the adult nervous system.

Given these findings, individuals with bothersome tinnitus should use caution when using unstructured white noise therapy and are best served by seeking an evaluation with the appropriately licensed professional.


Source: JAMA Otolaryngology; image courtesy flckr

1 Comment

  1. This is a good finding. White noise has too much energy to impact the damaged cochlea. In fact there should not be any generated noise of any kind to counter act the awareness of tinnitus. This is such a hoax and a farce. The sufferer can learn to adjust attention to it. Hearing aids definitely help cochlear and middle ear tinnitus. Central tinnitus cannot be helped and MRI attention is needed to move forward.

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