Tinnitus is a common condition that affects millions of Americans every year. For those with chronic symptoms, it can be more than a mild irritation; it can significantly impact their quality of life and make everyday things like going to work or meeting friends at Fort Thomas Coffee.
In these cases, it’s essential to find helpful options to manage their tinnitus. One potential option is treating tinnitus with hearing aids.
What Are the Symptoms of Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the perception of ringing in one, or sometimes both, ears. However, some people experience clicking, hissing, buzzing or other noises as well.
The vast majority of cases of tinnitus are subjective, meaning that only the person experiencing it can hear it. Less commonly, people have objective tinnitus, where a medical provider can hear the sound upon observation.
Tinnitus is a symptom of many other conditions, and treating the cause can help minimize tinnitus. One of the more common causes of tinnitus is hearing loss.
The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
While not everyone with tinnitus has hearing loss, some research has estimated that 90% of tinnitus sufferers have at least some degree of hearing loss.
It isn’t exactly understood why hearing loss and tinnitus are connected, but there are a couple of theories. One is that when you have hearing loss, it’s usually because the hair cells in the inner ear have become damaged and send less sensory input from sound to your brain. When your brain gets less stimulation, the auditory system may try to compensate by becoming more sensitive, causing auditory neurons to misfire and produce a phantom noise.
Using Hearing Aids to Manage Tinnitus
Hearing aids can help with tinnitus in several ways.
- Restore auditory stimulation to the brain. Hearing aids make it easier for the ears and brain to process sounds and help pick up on sounds you weren’t hearing while your hearing loss was untreated. This increase in stimulation may minimize tinnitus.
- Let you hear background noise. Background noise can help to suppress or mask the noise from tinnitus. Because hearing aids let you pick up on more subtle sounds, it may be easier to tune tinnitus out.
- Relieve stress. Hearing loss can be stressful. It can increase feelings of anxiety, especially around social interactions. Stress is also known to exacerbate symptoms of tinnitus. Hearing aids can help you feel more relaxed and confident about your communication ability and reduce stress levels.
- Masking features. Some more advanced hearing aid models have masking features that create white noise that can cover up the ringing or buzzing caused by tinnitus. Even without that specific feature, hearing aids with Bluetooth® can connect to your smartphone and allow you to stream from a white noise or meditation app directly into your hearing device.
To learn more about hearing aids and other tinnitus management options, contact Certified Hearing Aid & Audiology Associates today.