How Hearing Aids Are Able To Help Manage Tinnitus
Hearing aids are able to help make tinnitus more manageable in a couple of ways. To find out if it can help you, it helps to know what tinnitus is, the specific way that you experience tinnitus and the techniques used by hearing aids to provide relief from tinnitus. Read on to find out more about how hearing aids are able to help manage tinnitus.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is usually described as a ringing sound experienced in the ears, though the actual sound differs for different people, ranging from buzzing or whistling to clicking sounds. The noise does not go away entirely, though it does become more noticeable after hearing loud sounds. If the symptoms continue for over three months, it is known as chronic tinnitus.
Tinnitus is not a medical condition itself. Instead, it is a symptom of another condition, though the specific causes of tinnitus are not well-known. The leading causes of tinnitus are related to age and extended exposure to loud sounds. Hearing loss from damaged hair cells in the cochlea, which is involved in hearing as part of the inner ear, is a common cause of tinnitus.
Since hearing loss reduces the amount of external sounds that can reach your brain, it changes the way that your brain processes sound frequencies. As a result, to compensate for the insufficient external sounds, the brain overcompensates and interprets sounds internally.
The sounds from tinnitus can be annoying and can make communication difficult. If you believe that you have tinnitus, it would be best to visit a hearing health professional to have an evaluation and discuss possible
Can a hearing aid stop tinnitus?
Currently, tinnitus cannot be completely cured, but in many cases, hearing aids can make the symptoms of tinnitus less severe. Though hearing aids cannot stop tinnitus entirely, they can still help with daily functioning.
One way that hearing aids can help with tinnitus is that they can enhance external sounds so that the inner sounds from tinnitus are not as noticeable. As this would improve your ability to hear external sounds and distract you from the inner sounds, it makes communication possible.
Another way that hearing aids can provide tinnitus relief is tinnitus masking, which is the use of white noise to hide the sounds of tinnitus. As the tinnitus sound cannot be distinguished amongst the white noise, your brain is able to focus on external sounds.
An increasing number of hearing aids have tinnitus masking nowadays. Tinnitus masking is built in as a feature in some hearing aids or exists as a function that can be programmed in other hearing aids. A hearing care professional will be able to help program your hearing aid to best suit your individual needs.
How can I use hearing aids to effectively manage tinnitus?
To get the most benefit from using hearing aids for tinnitus relief, it’s best if you are able to wear the hearing aid as often as possible. If hearing aids are used often enough, it trains your brain to focus on the external sounds and treat tinnitus sounds as not important. This process is known as habituation.
By using your hearing aid often, it also helps you preserve your ability to perceive external sounds. Hearing external sounds provides stimulation to keep your auditory system active, which prevents atrophy in your auditory nerves. As a result, you will be better able to maintain your ability to process language.
Are hearing aids able to help everybody with tinnitus?
As tinnitus is a symptom resulting from a wide range of conditions, hearing aids are not able to provide relief in all cases. Hearing aids are most successful in tinnitus masking for those with hearing loss.
Even if you experience hearing loss, hearing aids are less effective for higher frequencies of tinnitus. If your tinnitus has more of a hissing or buzzing sound or has a pitch above 6 kHz, which can be determined by an audiologist, hearing aids are less likely to provide relief for your tinnitus.
Who is most likely to benefit from using a hearing aid for tinnitus?
Hearing aids are most helpful for younger individuals who experience tinnitus as a result of hearing loss. The use of hearing aids is also more effective for people who have not had tinnitus for a long time as their auditory system has not become accustomed to the reduced external stimulation.
Even if you do not fall into the groups of people who benefit the most from hearing aids for managing tinnitus, the use of hearing aids are still often worth a try. If you use the hearing aid consistently every day over a longer period of time, the relief from your tinnitus will be easier to detect.
To get the most impact from the use of hearing aids for tinnitus, visiting a hearing professional would help. Not only would they be able to determine the pitch or intensity of your tinnitus, but they could also help you select and program a hearing aid that best meets your needs.
For the expert services of an audiologist or hearing professional to determine if they can help you manage your tinnitus, the team at NexGen Hearing is here to support you.