You love playing video games, but you find yourself having a hard time focusing due to noises that aren’t coming from Assassin’s Creed. If you find yourself dealing with ringing, buzzing, or hissing in your ears, you could be dealing with tinnitus. Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no external sound exists. From hissing to other background noises, the symptoms of tinnitus may be minor for some, but for others it’s life-altering. It can take away from the daily activities that we enjoy, like gaming, but thanks to changes in technology, it no longer has to.
Investing in the Right Headset
With sound quality in gaming soaring to new levels, the amount of virtual surround sound can do a lot of damage if the audio is cranked up to its highest levels. Finding the best gaming headset is all about the volume you can handle, but it’s also about the games and systems that you play on. Take the HyperX Cloud II wireless headset for example. The unique memory foam and lightweight build create a comfortable fit for hardcore gamers, with a connection that plays great on a PC or Playstation console.
There are also gaming headsets available that are able to wrangle in the loud noise with volume-limiting headphones. These are able to cancel out environmental sounds that may distract you from your game, but also don’t put significant strain on the inner ear. Noise cancellation headphones may seem paramount for gaming, but you truly need an ear cup that will allow for great audio quality, without having to crank up the volume, which can destroy your hearing and lead to tinnitus symptoms.
Preventing Hearing Loss
When you listen to loud noises through your gaming headset for a prolonged period of time, you’re wearing down the hair cells in the cochlea of the ear. These cells can heal over time, but once they’re worn down completely, the cochlear damage is done. There are multiple sure signs that your volume is too high, and one of the easiest signs is that muffled hearing you experience when you take your headset off. This is one of the easiest preventive measures to avoid long-term hearing loss.
While there is no known cure for tinnitus, there are ways to curb the buzzing and hissing in the ears. There are smartphone apps available that provide white noise or background sound that some users have found helped to fine-tune their hearing and relieve stress on the ear canal and auditory nerve. Beyond a masker, it’s important to consider the volume settings on your console or within the game itself. By controlling the loudness on that end, you’ll be able to level off easier with your pair of headphones or gaming headset.
Whatever form of tinnitus you’re dealing with, there are options available that may help out. Figuring out tinnitus treatment starts with a trip to the audiologist for a hearing test to better examine what’s causing your hearing difficulties. Some tinnitus patients have found success in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that teaches masking and relaxation techniques that flare up their tinnitus symptoms. This has proven effective for people suffering from subjective tinnitus linked to stress.
The use of hearing aids has helped some people with significant tinnitus, essentially putting a focus on the noise you intend to tune in on and drowning out the hissing and ringing. A trip to your primary health care provider may also be in order to check for any other pre-existing medical conditions like high blood pressure that can set off the symptoms of tinnitus. In the end, if you’re a gamer, don’t hang up your headset just yet, but be wise about how high the volume goes and how often you play.