Can Hearing Aids Relieve Tinnitus Symptoms?
Tinnitus is known to affect approximately 50 million Americans. Out of that number, roughly 20 million have chronic tinnitus, while two million have tinnitus that can be extremely debilitating. As a condition, there are numerous underlying causes and various symptoms, but there are also many treatment options.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a problem where a sound is heard in the ears when no external noise is present. While not directly referred to as a condition, tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying health condition. It can be due to an injury of the ear, problems with the circulatory system, or a by-product of aging. The symptoms may consist of various noises inside your ears, such as ringing and buzzing, as well as hissing, growing, clicking and having. The sound can vary in pitch. For example, it could be a low growl or a high squealing noise. The symptoms may come and go, can be present at certain times of day, or they may be continuous.
There are two types of tinnitus, subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus. Subjective tinnitus is the most common kind, and this is where only the sufferer can hear it. It may be caused by issues with the auditory nerves, the auditory pathways in the brain, or by problems in the outer, middle, or inner ear. Objective tinnitus is rare, and can only be established if an audiologist can hear it when they perform an examination. This can be caused by muscle contractions, problems with a blood vessel, or an issue relating to the middle ear bone. As tinnitus can get worse with age, it's essential to book an appointment with an audiologist to determine the underlying cause and prescribe appropriate treatment, including hearing aids.
Can hearing aids help?
While hearing aids can be prescribed to help the sufferer cope with tinnitus, the purpose of fitting hearing aids is to correct any hearing loss, so the tinnitus symptoms are reduced. As a hearing aid can reduce tinnitus, this can improve the overall quality of life. There have been studies that suggest that hearing aids are more beneficial when bilateral ones (one in each ear) are worn. As digital hearing aids have been introduced, this can help settings be tailored to an individual and their specific needs.
Hearing aids can be used to keep tinnitus at bay when it interferes with your ability to participate in social situations. The hearing aid amplifies sounds directed at you, giving you the opportunity to focus on the noise directed at you, whether this is someone's voice, a television, or anything else. As hearing aids can amplify the sounds to be louder than your symptoms, this means that you don't focus as much on the sensation of tinnitus. Many of modern hearing aids have a feature that works directly with tinnitus symptoms. These hearing aids can play artificial sounds or masking features like white noise, so the tinnitus noise is decreased inside the ear. In addition to this, hearing aids that are connected to smartphones can play specific sounds via apps, so you don't notice the symptoms unique to yourself.
Addressing other issues associated with tinnitus
When diagnosed with tinnitus, while a hearing aid may be prescribed, it has been shown that a combination of therapies that work in conjunction with hearing aids. Counseling, support groups and education programs can help the sufferer retrain their brain to ignore the tinnitus. It's important to note that with the symptoms of tinnitus, someone can experience issues with their memory, or general stress in their day to day life. And while treating these conditions may not have a direct impact on the tinnitus, it aims to improve the quality of life of the person with the tinnitus symptoms. In addition to this, prevention can help as well. By having regular exercise to keep the blood vessels healthy, as well as protecting their hearing by minimizing exposure to loud noises, these could help to reduce the symptoms that make an individual feel overwhelmed.
When tinnitus is a widespread problem, identifying the underlying cause can help, but treatments can also prove beneficial to mask the symptoms. Getting to the root cause can result in a lot of trial-and-error, but when tinnitus is diagnosed, hearing aids can be the difference between a good quality of life and a bad one. You can contact Peninsula Hearing by calling one of our two convenient locations at: