How Color Can Help Your Tinnitus

Published
January 30, 2024
3 mins
read
Author:
Michael Piskosz
Reviewer:
Dr. Fabrice Bardy
Color and Tinnitus

Introduction

Various therapeutic approaches, including sound-based interventions, such as sound therapy, have been explored to alleviate tinnitus-related distress. Among these interventions, colored sound has gained attention for its potential to mitigate tinnitus symptoms and improve overall well-being. Below, we provide an overview of different colored sound types and their role in tinnitus management.

The MindEar app offers a library of unique and adjustable soundscapes for sound therapy, including colored sounds, such as white, brown and pink noise.

Understanding Colored Noise:

Colored sound refers to sound characterized by specific spectral differences, where different frequencies possess varying energy levels. The term "colored" is derived from the analogy with visible light, where different colors correspond to different wavelengths. Similarly, for the hearing system, various colors of noise have distinct tonal characteristics.

Types of Colored Sound:

  1. White Noise: This is the most balanced of all colored noises, featuring equal energy across all audible frequencies. It resembles the "hiss" of a TV or radio tuned to a non-station frequency.
  2. Pink Noise: Pink noise has equal energy in each octave, making it sound more balanced to the human ear. This phenomenon may be attributed to the cochlea (i.e. the auditory organ), having a relatively consistent number of hair cells per octave. It is often perceived as "gentler" and ‘less harsh’ than white noise. 
  3. Brown Noise: Also known as "red noise," brown noise has a decreased intensity as frequency increases, resulting in a deeper, rumbling tonal quality.
  4. Blue Noise: Blue noise, sometimes called "azure noise," has an increasing intensity with frequency, producing a sound akin to rushing water or a hissing steam valve.
  5. Violet Noise: Violet noise features a more pronounced increase in intensity with frequency than blue noise and is often described as "crackling" or "sparkling."

Using colored sound for tinnitus management: 

Role in Tinnitus Management: Colored sound has gained recognition as a potential tool in tinnitus management due to its ability to provide relief and mask the perception of tinnitus sounds. The concept is rooted in the principles of sound therapy, where introducing external auditory stimuli can promote habituation and redirect attention away from tinnitus —a process through which the brain becomes accustomed to the tinnitus signal and perceives it as less bothersome.

Individualized Approach: The effectiveness of colored sound in tinnitus management varies among individuals. It's important to acknowledge that the perception of tinnitus can vary significantly among individuals and some individuals find certain colors of sound more soothing or effective in masking their tinnitus, while others may experience no significant relief. The choice of colored sound is influenced by several factors, including personal preference, the characteristics of an individual's tinnitus, and the level of distress experienced. Hence, the selection of colored noise takes into account this natural variability in auditory experiences. 

Optimal Presentation level:  When using external auditory stimuli to promote habituation, it's crucial to ensure that the volume of the background noise is consistently maintained at a level lower than the intensity of the tinnitus. This allows individuals to hear both the tinnitus and the background noise simultaneously, creating an environment conducive to habituation. Keep in mind that the volume of the background noise should consistently remain at a level below the intensity of the tinnitus.

Integration with Other Therapies: Colored sound is often used in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness techniques. These combinations create a holistic approach that addresses not only the auditory aspect of tinnitus but also the psychological and emotional components.

How MindEar can help you in your tinnitus journey

MindEar offers a range of scientifically-backed solutions that can help you manage your tinnitus symptoms effectively. In the MindEar app you will find a soundscape library offering a variety of adjustable soundscapes to help you find the sound sound therapy that works best for you. You can also talk to a tinnitus expert to help determine if a sound masker is right for you. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques are also accessible to provide you with the tools to take control of your condition so that you can live a life without noticing it. MindEar is here to guide you on that journey.

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Conclusion

The use of colored sound can be helpful in managing tinnitus, alleviating the distressing effects while fostering habituation. However, due to the subjective nature of tinnitus and its management, it's crucial for individuals to explore the array of colored noise and identify what works best for their unique needs.

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