by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
The American Tinnitus Association (ATA) has a cool Tinnitus Sound Masking Library on their website. (Note: You have to be an ATA member and log in to the “Members Area” in order to access this webpage.) This is the ideal way to make your own environmental background files so you can help mask your tinnitus by listening to these sounds.
You can choose 1 or up to 4 of any of the following sounds
Nature—beach, creek, fire, rain, snowstorm, thunder, waterfall or wind in leaves
Birds—forest birds, loon, owls or seagulls
Mammals—cat purr, dog panting, horse snort, lemur, sheep, whale or wolves
Other Animals—bee colony, crickets, frogs, grasshopper or spring peepers
Various—boat rowing, brown noise, children giggles, Darth Vader, heart beat, sleigh bells, Tibetan bowl, tribal drums, walk in snow or wind chimes
You can listen to 4 different sounds at the same time if you so choose.
Not only that, you can set the volume on each sound so you could have the owl softer and the loon louder and the creek flowing in the background.
And if you are listening via a stereo device, you can set the channel for each sound separately too. So you could hear the owl only in your left ear, the loon in your right and the creek in both ears but 25% louder in your left ear if you so choose.
And it has yet another cool feature. You can set each sound to be continuous, or to 4 various degrees of intermittency from mostly on to mostly off—sort of like you can set the windshield wipers in your car—on steady, or one of several steps of intermittency. As a result, you could have the owl hooting every few seconds, the loon calling only occasionally and the creek running all the time.
Tied in with this is when you make a sound intermittent, it fades in over about 2 seconds, plays for its predetermined length and then fades out over another 2 seconds.
The final feature is that you can play this from your computer on the ATA’s website, or save your creation to a file that you can then store and play on any audio device. The exported file is in .wav format. The file plays for 1 minute, so if you want it to be continuous, you could set your player to play an endless loop.
If these kinds of sounds sooth you so you can go to sleep or mask your tinnitus while you work, this is the website for you.
And best of all, it is free, thanks to the ATA.
If you want to learn more about many things that can trigger tinnitus, or more about a number of things you can do to help bring your tinnitus under control, check out my book, When Your Ears Ring—Cope with Your Tinnitus—Here’s How.