Have you ever considered trying a tinnitus pillow to mask tinnitus and improve your sleep? If so, you're in good company: sleep disturbance is a common condition for people with tinnitus. Sleep quality and tinnitus are closely related: When one suffers usually the other does as well, and vice versa. It's important to follow recommendations for how to sleep with tinnitus whether or not you use a tinnitus pillow. Sleep pillows come in many forms and vary in sound stimulus, firmness, materials, and other features. Oto Health has the essential facts on how to select the right tinnitus pillow to optimize your sleep and improve your tinnitus.

Alexandra Costlow, Au.D.

Medically Reviewed by
Audiologist and Tinnitus Specialist
September 21, 2021

Tinnitus Pillows: How To Get Your Best Rest With Tinnitus

Have you ever considered trying a tinnitus pillow to mask tinnitus and improve your sleep? If so, you're in the right place. Sleep disturbance is one of the most common conditions for people with tinnitus.

Sleep quality and tinnitus are closely related: when one suffers usually the other does as well. It's important to follow recommendations for how to sleep with tinnitus whether or not you use a tinnitus pillow.

Sleep pillows come in many forms and vary in sound stimulus, firmness, materials, and other features. Oto has the essential facts on how to select the right tinnitus pillow to optimize your sleep and improve your tinnitus.

Best Sound Pillow For Tinnitus

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There are a variety of tinnitus pillow features to consider in selecting the optimal tinnitus pillow

Tinnitus pillows can be a soothing tool for getting better sleep. They can also be used alone or as part of a comprehensive tinnitus treatment plan that may include other treatments like CBT for tinnitus.

The main consideration for selecting the right tinnitus pillow is that it’s comfortable. A comfortable pillow will meet your specific pillow preferences. The speakers should not be intrusive while using the pillow and the sound stimulus should be pleasant and comfortable. 

Generally, you can use your own pillow covers on commercially available tinnitus pillows. It can be helpful to use pillow covers that are comfortable to the touch for good sleep, so consider which type of fabric you prefer for optimal comfort. You may also want to consider which thread count you find most comfortable.

Features To Consider With Your Tinnitus Pillow

There are a variety of sound pillows for tinnitus, but how do you know which one is best? Here is a list of several features to consider:

  • What sound stimulus do you prefer? White noise, nature sound, or music?
  • Do you prefer a soft or firm pillow?
  • What size pillow do you prefer?
  • Will you travel with the pillow?
  • Do you require hypoallergenic materials?
  • Special features such as Bluetooth compatibility or a cooling effect
  • What is your price range?

There is a wide variety of tinnitus pillows available commercially. Here are the top tinnitus pillows and their features to help you start your search.

Sound Pillow Sleep System

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Sound Pillow Sleep System

This hypoallergenic pillow uses two speakers embedded in a push pillow to deliver sound controlled by an MP3 player. This pillow features 18 one-hour tracks of nature sounds; hypnotic music; and white, blue, and pink noise. Additional content is available for purchase on the Sound Pillow website.

Memory Foam Sound Therapy Pillow

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Sleepow Memory Foam Pillow

For a firmer pillow for more head and neck support, Sleepow (available on Amazon), weighs approximately 4.5lbs. It offers adaptive connectivity to a smartphone or tablet wirelessly or using an audio, RCA, or 3.5mm cable. This is great if you want to use your own music or distracting sound when going to sleep.

Music Pillow

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Dreampad Luxury Sound Pillow

Some people find music to be more soothing than white noise or nature sounds. Even better, the Dreampad Sleep pillow offers a Bluetooth speaker embedded in the pillow that connects to any Bluetooth device so that the user can stream any music they prefer to their music pillow.

Tinnitus Pillow Speakers

tinnitus pillow speakers
                 PA-100 Amplified Stereo Pillow Speakers

For people who already have a pillow they love, pillow speakers are sold separately and can be used with any pillow you like. They can be placed beneath or to the side of the pillow, inside the pillow case.

There are two speakers through which you can enjoy stereo sound for optimal tinnitus relief. These pillow speakers connect to a sound source using a USB or RCA cable and offer volume control.

Pillow speakers are also a budget friendly option and they are available for purchase for $39.99 USD.

Benefits Of A Tinnitus Pillow With Built In Speakers

There are many benefits to using a tinnitus pillow with built-in speakers to reduce tinnitus and enjoy a good night's rest. Tinnitus pillows are discreet and won't bother others sleeping nearby.

They deliver localised relief directly to the ears and you can control the proximity of the speakers to the ears. There is a wide variety of pillow features, such as filling material and consistency, to choose from for optimal comfort.

Tinnitus pillows are also compatible with different sound sources, such as Bluetooth and direct audio input (DIA) cables, such that you can select the sound stimulus. Some people prefer music or white noise whereas nature sounds help to calm the nervous system and restore a sense of peace and relaxation.

What is a Tinnitus Masker?

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The tinnitus pillow can provide masking noise or you can use a bedside noise machine.

Tinnitus pillows are an example of a tinnitus masker. You may also prefer to use a tinnitus masker that is not a pillow, such as a white noise machine at the side of your bed.

Either way, it's important to remember to set the masker at a comfortable level. The stimulus should be pleasant yet not engaging or too interesting so as to provide low-level background sound that the brain can passively attend to such that it can learn to ignore the tinnitus and attend to important sounds such as speech.

It's possible that you might still be able to hear the tinnitus while using the masker, and that's okay. Trying to cover up the tinnitus completely isn't helpful as the tinnitus may get louder and you'll need increasingly louder masking to cover it up.

If you notice that it's difficult to achieve a level of masking that is audible, it could be a sign that you have hearing loss and it's time to consult your general practitioner, audiologist, or other hearing healthcare professional. If you find that you have hearing loss, you can get relief from using hearing aids for tinnitus.

Tinnitus Pillows Versus Other Treatments

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Tinnitus pillows provide a discreet, affordable, and safe treatment for tinnitus at sleep times.

There are a number of reasons why some people prefer tinnitus pillows over other treatments. Compared to "ear level solutions" such as hearing aids or earphones / earbuds, tinnitus pillows deliver sound near the ear but do not require the user to wear anything on the ear. This provides comfort while sleeping without having to worry if hearing aids or ear buds will stay in the ears.

Sleep pillows are also more discreet than bedside maskers such as white noise machines. White noise machines can be seen and heard by others in the room and may be seen as a nuisance to people who do not prefer to use them at sleep times.

Guided meditation or breathing exercises may not provide enough relief in very quiet environments. In comparison, tinnitus pillows can provide masking throughout the night so that if the person wakes up during the night, the masking noise is already present to help them get back to sleep.

Tinnitus pillows are low risk and a one time cost. Medicinal treatment such as over the counter (OTC) sleep aids may potentially cause side effects or even drug or disease interactions, and they entail a repeat cost. Sleep aids should never be taken without first consulting a medical doctor.

No matter which treatment you choose to use at sleep times, it's useful to practice good sleep hygiene to promote getting the best sleep possible.

Join Oto

Tinnitus pillows can be used to treat tinnitus at sleep times, but what about improving tinnitus during waking hours? Your own personal toolkit of CBT, mindfulness based therapy, relaxation techniques and sound therapy is available through the Oto app. The good news is that you can access a free trial to experiment with finding a tinnitus masker that is right for you.

Tinnitus relief made simple with the Oto app digital therapy programme. Download today.

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