Hearing Aids For Tinnitus

Did you know that as a symptom of hearing loss, most patients develop a condition called tinnitus? This could be caused either by long-term hearing damage, age, or acute trauma to the auditory system. 

What is the connection between hearing loss and tinnitus? According to research, hearing loss causes less external sound stimuli to reach the brain. In response, the brain undergoes changes in how it processes various sound frequencies. Tinnitus is the product of the said changes in the brain.

A person with hearing loss and tinnitus may be able to find relief from the use of hearing aids and other sound amplification devices. With the use of an amplifier, speaker, or microphone, hearing aids are able to supplement the volume of outside noise and increase the amount of sound stimuli received in the ear and processed by the brain.

As published in the official website of the American Tinnitus Association, hearing health professionals surveyed in 2007 reported that roughly 60% of tinnitus patients experienced at least some relief when wearing hearing aids while roughly 22% of patients found significant relief and improvement.

Related Questions

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition where a person may perceive hearing a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears. Some people may experience tinnitus suddenly and temporarily, like after being exposed to loud sounds or attending a concert.

However, some people may also experience persistent tinnitus. This type of tinnitus can cause stress and anxiety if not managed or treated. An audiologist can help manage tinnitus, with or without hearing loss.

What causes tinnitus?

The cause of tinnitus is still unknown. There have been and there still are a lot of research going on trying to get to the bottom of what’s causing tinnitus. While it’s not possible to pinpoint one specific cause for this condition, the following underlying conditions may trigger tinnitus:

  • Hearing loss
  • Ménière’s disease
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Migraines
  • Head injury
  • Drugs or medicines that are toxic to hearing
  • Anemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Stress
  • Excessive earwax
  • Certain types of tumors (neck or head area)
  • Coffee or cigarettes  

Can hearing aids reduce tinnitus?

Hearing aids are primarily used for amplification but these devices can also be used to manage and control tinnitus symptoms.

Masking and Attentional Effects

Hearing aids can modify the volume of external noise to the point that it masks the sounds of tinnitus. By using hearing aids, the brain can find it more difficult to consciously perceive tinnitus and focus on outside, ambient noise instead. The effect of masking is particularly significant for patients who have hearing loss in the same frequency range as their tinnitus. Our audiologist at Pinnacle Hearing will be able to give you a clinical and customized solution for tinnitus.

Auditory Stimulation

Another way to manage tinnitus through hearing aids is by increasing the amount of auditory stimulation received by the brain. There are various benefits in stimulating the brain’s auditory pathways with soft background sounds (white noise, ocean sounds) that might not otherwise be heard.

Improved Communication

Loud tinnitus can make it difficult, if not impossible, for patients to take part in regular communicative and social activities. Following a conversation, talking on the phone, watching television, listening to the radio – these simple activities can all become difficult with tinnitus. Hearing aids can help with tinnitus management by augmenting the external volume of activities over the perception of tinnitus. As a result, people with tinnitus may feel less social isolation and personal frustration.

It’s worth noting that hearing aids cannot cure tinnitus. However, hearing aids can offer effective therapy to manage tinnitus. The annoyance brought by the perception of tinnitus can lead to a stressful experience which is why it’s essential to see a professional to handle tinnitus. By using hearing aids, the annoying sensation can be diverted to other features of the environment.  The success of hearing hearing aids in tinnitus management depends greatly on how well background sounds are customized to blend with tinnitus.

Digital Hearing Aids

Manufacturers of modern digital hearing aids offer devices with open-fit designs and programmable hearing loss profiles which are very useful in tinnitus management.

Newer hearing aids also include supplemental sound masking functionality (e.g white noise or artificial ambient sounds played directly in the ear) designed to cover the perception of tinnitus.

Like most tinnitus treatments, hearing aids are expected to work best when paired with a structured tinnitus program and patient counseling.

Be Informed

Continual learning and researching about tinnitus can help you manage and understand the condition. There are various support groups for tinnitus where people all over the world can reach out to each other, learn from different experiences and be comforted that they are not suffering alone.

Tinnitus doesn’t have to be a hindrance for you to live your best life. Pinnacle Hearing can diagnose and manage tinnitus with a highly-individualized treatment plan. You deserve to live life to the fullest – let us help you select the best hearing aids for tinnitus.

Tinnitus? We are one step ahead of you. 

Pinnacle Hearing offers hearing aids for all types and degrees of hearing loss, including hearing aids for tinnitus. Don’t let tinnitus get you down. We can help you live your life to the fullest by managing your tinnitus symptoms and helping you choose the best product to kick out that irritating noise in your ears. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!