Here at the clinic, we have patients with tinnitus. It’s a common hearing condition where you are hearing or perceiving a ringing or buzzing that doesn’t have an external source. The sound seems to happen directly in your ears. For many people with tinnitus, the constant noise can be disruptive and distressing. Tinnitus does not discriminate with age. It can happen to kids as well as seniors.
Tinnitus: What It Is, Its Causes, and Symptoms
Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears when no external sound is present. It is a common problem that can affect people of all ages. The tinnitus sound can be either constant or intermittent.
While the exact cause of tinnitus can vary from person to person, it is often related to damage to the auditory system and the brain’s ability to process sound. Tinnitus can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
1. Age-related hearing loss: As people age, they may experience a natural decline in hearing, which can lead to tinnitus.
2. Exposure to loud noises: Prolonged exposure to loud noises, such as loud music or machinery, can damage the cells in the inner ear, leading to tinnitus.
3. Earwax buildup: If earwax accumulates in the ear, it can cause hearing loss and tinnitus.
4. Changes in the ear bone: Stiffening of the bones in the middle ear (otosclerosis) can cause tinnitus.
5. Head or neck injuries: Trauma to the head or neck can cause tinnitus in some individuals.
6. Medications: Certain medications, such as antibiotics, cancer treatments, and high doses of aspirin, can cause tinnitus as a side effect.
Is tinnitus curable? There is currently no cure for tinnitus. A better question would be, “Is tinnitus treatable?”
Yes, tinnitus is treatable. There are various treatments available to help manage and reduce the symptoms. These may include sound therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, medication, and hearing aids.
How Do Hearing Aids Help With Tinnitus?
One of the ways that we treat tinnitus patients is to fit them with hearing aids. Hearing aids are primarily designed to improve hearing for people with hearing loss. But many of our tinnitus patients have found relief by using hearing aids.
Hearing aids can help make the tinnitus less noticeable. It does this by amplifying external sounds and background noise. Hearing aids can make it easier for people with tinnitus to focus on other sounds. Helping them go about their lives without being constantly bothered by their tinnitus.
Many modern hearing aids have features designed to mask or minimize the perception of tinnitus. These feature programs that produce white noise or natural sounds. Some brands offer built-in sound therapy programs. Also known as acoustic therapy, these programs produce relaxing sounds. They can vary from falling rain, ocean waves, and instrumental music, to name a few. Most modern hearing aids can also pair to your mobile devices via Bluetooth. This expands your sound therapy options even more.
But there’s a caveat: hearing aids are not for everyone. Yes, they can provide relief, but not to everyone who has tinnitus. They are not a one-size-fits-all solution. The effectiveness of hearing aids for managing tinnitus can vary. It depends on your specific symptoms and the underlying cause of your tinnitus.
In some cases, tinnitus sufferers may need additional tinnitus management strategies. They may need sound therapy, in combination with hearing aids to achieve the best results.
So if you suspect you have tinnitus, your best first step is to contact professional audiological services. That way, we can help you determine the best treatment plan for your specific tinnitus needs. Whether it’s hearing aids, another type of treatment, or a combination of both.
Five Ways Hearing Aids Help With Tinnitus Treatment
Hearing aids can be incredibly helpful in the treatment of tinnitus. Sure, we’ve previously mentioned it’s not the perfect solution, but it can help in five important ways.
First, hearing aids can provide sound enrichment. This means that it can lessen your perception of tinnitus. By amplifying external sounds, hearing aids make your tinnitus less noticeable and distracting.
Second, hearing aids can also improve communication and reduce stress. Difficulties in hearing and understanding speech can worsen the condition. It can cause added frustration and anxiety. Hearing aids can help with these communication challenges.
Third, hearing aids can help you get better quality sleep. Tinnitus interferes with your ability to sleep. Lack of sleep can cause fatigue and heighten your perception of tinnitus.
Fourth, hearing aids assist in improving overall cognitive function. Tinnitus can be mentally exhausting. Hearing aids can help you manage the stress and frustration that comes with tinnitus.
Lastly, hearing aids can improve your overall quality of life. By reducing the impact of tinnitus on your daily life, hearing aids can contribute to an improved sense of well-being.
Prescription vs Over-The-Counter: The Best Hearing Aids for Tinnitus
You have two options for your tinnitus: prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. Prescription hearing aids are programmed to address your unique hearing needs including tinnitus. They are typically recommended by audiologists based on a thorough evaluation.
On the other hand, OTC hearing aids are more readily available. You can get them without the need for a prescription. You can purchase them directly from stores or online retailers. OTC hearing aids are a more affordable option, too. But they can be limited. They do not have the same level of custom and professional fitting as prescription hearing aids. This means that they are ideal for those with mild to moderate hearing loss and tinnitus.
Here at the clinic, we prioritize prescription hearing aids, and that’s true. But we don’t see a problem with patients who opt for OTC hearing aids as long as their condition merits it. For us, the severity of your tinnitus symptoms is the clincher.
If you have more complex tinnitus symptoms, prescription hearing aids are more effective. If you have mild tinnitus, OTC hearing aids may offer a suitable and cost-effective option. What we do recommend is for you to visit your audiologist first.
Why Consulting Your Audiologist Is an Important First Step To Treating Tinnitus
If you are experiencing tinnitus symptoms, consult your audiologist. This is the most important first step in treating your condition. Professional audiological services can conduct a comprehensive evaluation. This is important in determining the underlying cause of your tinnitus. It is important for developing an effective treatment plan.
Consulting with your audiologist early on can also prevent your tinnitus from worsening. By seeking professional help, you can gain a better understanding of your condition. You will receive the necessary guidance and support to manage your tinnitus symptoms. Take action and consult professional audiological services to improve your overall well-being by scheduling a consultation today.