As a result of working in noisy telephone exchanges I now suffer with tinnitus.

Picture of a register used for routing trunk calls.  These were very noisy.
Image of a Register used for routing trunk calls.
These were very noisy, eventually they were soundproofed, and the noisiest component replaced with a silent electronic version. (I had the project to implement this nationally).

This means I have to listen over a constant whistle sound to hear people speak and getting off to sleep or back to sleep is sometimes difficult.
It means needing to really concentrate on whatever I am listening to – other background sounds or nearby conversations are a real problem, and some sounds can be painfully loud (if boosted by the hearing aids). Coffee shop grinders are particularly bad.

It is made worse by stress and particularly noticeable at quiet times – getting to sleep or after waking up.

Coping is achieved by managing stress, distraction and trying to desensitise awareness of the tinnitus.

I wear hearing aids to boost voice higher frequency sounds, they also play white noise – an external hiss to make the internal hiss less noticeable.

I also listen to music in headphones and use ear buds or Q35 headphones from Soundcore which are great value and really good. At night I use some sleep phones – under £20 from Amazon.

Q35 headphones
Soundcore Q35s
Sleep Headphones - eye mask with built in headphones.
Sleep Phones

The Q35s compare favourably with ones costing 4 or 5 times more.
They are comfortable to wear and have active noise cancelation which effectively removes background noise.
They have an app which lets you choose or create the sound profile that you like and includes ambient sounds to help you relax or get to sleep. They often have them on offer.


There are a number of apps that can play sounds that help.

Resound Relief is a free one from a hearing aid provider, which lets you create mixes of ambient sounds.

T-Minus provide some good resources and run monthly discussions often with guest experts. They have an Apple app and CDs available on Spotify, Apple music and Amazon music.

Calm is another app, which provides a lot of relaxing soundtracks of relaxing music, stories etc.
There is a section which is designed for sleep. There are several tracks that work for me and is my current go to solution. Calm is a subscription app, however they do regular offers.