For those like me that suffer from the dreaded tinnitus it can be a nightmare (no pun intended) trying to get to sleep at night.
The worst time of the day as any sufferer will tell you is when its quiet and when your tired, both of which normally apply when you climb into bed.
One solution I have found to really work is to use a pillow speaker.
Playing soft music or some other soothing sound through your pillow helps to mask the noises, allowing you to to focus on sleep.
I have bought pillow speakers from a number of outlets and found them to be very cheap (as little as £5) but not the easiest things to find unless you order on line and wait several days for them to arrive.
So when my son came to me this morning complaining that he had been finding it hard to sleep I thought a pillow speaker might help.
Not currently having a spare one to hand (I had just lent mine out to a relative to try for a couple of days) and not wanting to wait for a new one to arrive in the post from an on-line order, I decided to make one from some of the junk I have lying around in my shed.
Step 1: Components
There are always defunct or unused electronics laying around in my shed, so all of the components I used were free and easy to lay my hands on.
The items I gathered together from a brief sweep of the workbench are
- The cable from a pair of broken iPhone headphones.
- 2 mini speakers (removed from a deceased portable DVD player)
- 2 flexible plastic lids (from empty infant formula cans)
The speakers are deliberately the smallest ones I could find (only slightly bigger than in ear headphones).
This was because I was looking for something that only needs a very small amount of power to drive them, and the finished item does not need to have a very high volume.
The headphone cable was from the first broken pair I could find, make or type is not really important as its only the cable you will need.
The lids were from infant formula cans but any soft flexible plastic will work as its it doubling as an enclosure and a sounding board.
Step 2: Attaching the Speakers
First job is to glue the speakers to the inside of the lids.
I chose to attach them slightly "off centre" so that they would not clash with each other when the 2 halves were put together.
Once they are stuck down I carefully removed the original ear pieces from the headphones and stripped back about 1cm of outer sheath from the cables.
Once the outer sheath has been removed the cables themselves don't need to be stripped or tinned before soldering.
Solder the cables to your 2 speakers taking care to ensure that you don't overheat the connection as you will melt the plastic lid.
Step 3: Put the Halves Together
Once you have made your connections and everything is secure this is a good time to test your creation before you fix the 2 halves together.
Your new speaker will work with any device that has a headphone socket so I tested mine with my mobile phone.
If you're happy that everything is working put the 2 halves together (with the speakers inside) and wrap the outer edges with duct tape.
Step 4: And You Are Ready to Have a Relaxing Sleep
The speaker can now be placed inside your pillowcase, either under your pillow or between 2 slim pillows and plugged into a CD player, MP3 player, Phone or other device.
I have found soft classical music to be very effective but I'm told some people swear by whale sounds, recordings of rain, white noise and any number of other varied sounds.
If you have a tablet or smart phone there are plenty of Apps out there that can provide all of these sounds and more.