Everything You Need to Know About Hearing Aids and Tinnitus
If you suffer from hearing loss and associated tinnitus, hearing aids could improve your auditory experience and minimize the symptoms of your condition. Whether you're affected by a constant buzzing in both ears, an intermittent ringing in one year or a low-level whooshing sound, hearing aids could provide relief from the symptoms of tinnitus.
Is tinnitus caused by hearing loss?
Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of factors, although it is commonly associated with hearing loss. If other causes have been ruled out and you are experiencing some form of hearing loss, it's likely that your tinnitus is associated with your existing hearing loss.
Fortunately, there are treatments that can effectively manage hearing loss associated tinnitus. When you consult with a hearing instrument specialist, they will carry out a number of tests to confirm what type of hearing loss you're experiencing and the severity of the loss. Similarly, you'll find out whether both ears are affected and, if so, whether there is any difference in the hearing loss experienced in either year.
In addition to this, a hearing instrument specialist is well-placed to diagnose tinnitus and to establish an effective treatment plan. With extensive training in all hearing and balance disorders, a hearing instrument specialist can take a holistic view of your hearing health and ensure you have access to the most suitable treatments.
Can you wear hearing aids if you have tinnitus?
If you're experiencing hearing loss, the right hearing aids can have a dramatic impact on the sounds you're able to hear, and the clarity of these sounds. Wearing hearing aids doesn't cause tinnitus, and the right hearing aids shouldn't cause your symptoms to worsen either. In fact, addressing your hearing loss and wearing suitable hearing aids can have a positive impact on the symptoms of tinnitus and provide significant relief from the irritating noises the condition causes you to hear.
How do hearing aids help tinnitus?
For some individuals, sound deprivation can lead to tinnitus or exacerbate the symptoms. If you experience hearing loss and you don't wear hearing aids, for example, the sound deprivation may result in the symptoms of tinnitus occurring.
Often, addressing hearing loss and wearing suitable hearing aids can be enough to relieve the symptoms of tinnitus. By enabling you to hear clearly, hearing aids prevent sound deprivation, thus resolving the tinnitus-related symptoms.
However, if you still experience whooshing, ringing, humming, hissing or buzzing in the ears while wearing hearing aids, there are other ways you can minimize the impact of these symptoms. A hearing aid with tinnitus masking features can help to reduce the noises caused by symptoms, for example.
How does tinnitus masking work?
Many patients find that silence exacerbates the symptoms of tinnitus and it can be harder to ignore or accept the ringing or buzzing noises when there's no external noise to override them. Hearing aids with tinnitus masking capabilities work by emitting a low-level noise, which is designed to 'drown out' the noises you can hear due to tinnitus. Although tinnitus maskers can be worn in isolation by people who don't have hearing loss, many hearing aids combine the functions of a traditional hearing aid with a tinnitus masker.
Furthermore, choosing an open-style hearing aid, as opposed to a closed hearing aid, may help to minimize the effects of tinnitus. Closed hearing aids can amplify sounds, such as chewing or ringing in the ears, because they limit the amount of external sound you're exposed to. With open hearing aids, however, you are still exposed to external noise. As a result, your brain doesn't compensate for this sound deprivation by producing its own sound in the form of tinnitus. By minimizing sound deprivation, an open hearing aid can, therefore, help to reduce the symptoms of tinnitus.
Finding the right treatment for tinnitus
With so many treatment options available, it's hard to know exactly which type of tinnitus management is right for you. By consulting with an experienced hearing instrument specialist, however, you can access expert advice and assistance.
When assessing your symptoms and hearing loss, your hearing instrument specialist will be able to determine which types of hearing aids will be most effective for you. In addition, you'll have the opportunity to try different devices to determine which one is right for you.
To find out more about how hearing aids can address your issues with tinnitus, contact Armand's Hearing Center at Bradenton by calling 941-748-9800 or Sun City at 813-938-1148.