Tinnitus 101: How Hearing Aids with Relief Sounds Help the Symptoms

a woman experiencing ear discomfort

Have you been hearing a continuous ringing, hissing, whistling, chirping or buzzing? This loud noise is commonly referred to as tinnitus, and it is very common in the U.S. In fact, it is estimated that more than 50 million adults live with this condition. Although tinnitus is usually associated with hearing loss, it doesn’t always cause hearing loss.

Tinnitus is often caused by blockage or infections in the ear, and once the underlying cause is treated, it can disappear. However, in most cases, tinnitus will still continue. In such a case, you may want to consider ways to mask the tinnitus sound like getting hearing aids with relief sounds.

Causes of tinnitus

Tinnitus affects people of all ages, but senior citizens who have been exposed to loud noise are at a higher risk. There are several causes of tinnitus, including:

Loud noise

Prolonged exposure to loud noise like explosions, gunshots, loud music or loud noise from construction machinery is the most common cause of tinnitus. Exposure to a single traumatic noise can also cause tinnitus. Statistics show 90% of Americans with tinnitus experience noise-induced hearing loss. The loud noise damages the cochlea sound cells in the inner ear, causing tinnitus.

Earwax blockage

The main purpose of earwax is to protect your ear canal from dirt, dust and germs. However, when earwax accumulates, it becomes difficult to wash away. This causes irritation of the eardrum, hearing loss and tinnitus.

Aging

For most people, hearing deteriorates as they get older, which is usually around the age of 60. Age-related hearing loss is usually bilateral. This type of hearing loss explains why tinnitus is prevalent among seniors.

Ear bone changes

When the bones in your otosclerosis stiffen, your hearing will be affected and this may cause tinnitus. In most cases, this abnormal bone growth is hereditary.

Medicine

Tinnitus may also occur as a side-effect caused by various prescription drugs. However, in some cases, tinnitus caused by drugs is usually short-lived. This means that if the patient stops taking the medication, tinnitus will recede. But there are some drugs that can cause permanent tinnitus symptoms.

How to manage tinnitus

If you have tinnitus, you want to know how it can be alleviated. However, although symptoms of drug-related tinnitus can sometimes disappear after you stop taking the drugs, there is generally no cure for this condition. But there are other ways that you can treat and manage tinnitus so that you enjoy life better. Soothing white noise can help mitigate the hissing sounds caused by tinnitus.

Your audiologist may suggest that you use hearing aids that help suppress the tinnitus noise. And this may be a good treatment option, especially if you have some hearing loss. These hearing aids mask tinnitus and allow you to hear sounds that you have been missing, and this effectively removes the tinnitus ringing. After you recover your hearing ability, these hearing devices will provide relief from the tinnitus sound.

Benefits of hearing aids for tinnitus

Hearing aids for tinnitus are automated to contrast the tinnitus sound. Amplifying the external sound suppresses the internal sounds, and this helps your brain remain focused on the outside sound. These hearing aids are more effective at masking tinnitus for people with hearing loss in the same frequency as their tinnitus.

Auditory stimulation can provide you with temporary tinnitus relief. It has a variety of sounds, including music with different types of sounds, filtering and noise stimulation. Your audiologist can even configure your hearing aid to receive sound therapy, meditation, relaxing exercises and guidance from online applications.

The loud tinnitus ringing can make it difficult for you to participate in a conversation. However, with a hearing aid for tinnitus, the tinnitus sound is masked and the external sounds augmented. This means that you can communicate with others effectively. Improved communication also helps reduce symptoms of anxiety that are usually caused by auditory fatigue.

Get a hearing aid for tinnitus

Because there is a direct link between tinnitus and hearing loss, hearing aids for tinnitus are a good treatment option. Apart from amplifying the external sounds, these special hearing aids provide sound therapy that your audiologist can adjust to compensate for your hearing loss. Through sound therapy, the external noises are amplified to mask the loud tinnitus sounds. This can be through white noise, low-level music, masking noises or a customized sound of your choice. If you would like to know more about hearing aids for tinnitus, call our Poulsbo office at 360-697-3061 or our Port Townsend office at 360-379-5458 to learn more Peninsula Hearing and how we can help you.