Tinnitus - Hearing aids

Do you hear noises that no one else can hear? It could be that just like 300 million people worldwide, you have tinnitus.

300 million

It could be that just like 300 million people worldwide, you have tinnitus.

Tinnitus can sound like a buzzing, clicking, humming, ringing, hissing, or pulsating sensation in one or both your ears. However, while the sound may be loud and constant, there is no external source to it and you are the only person able to hear it. For some people, tinnitus can come and go while for others it can be a continuous sound that never seems to lessen. While the type of sounds people hear can vary, so too does the volume, intensity and severity.

Some people can continue to enjoy their daily life without tinnitus interfering too much, it’s just an irritation that they have learned to ignore. However, for others, it can be distressing and have a huge impact on their quality of life. Tinnitus can affect their ability to sleep, concentrate and even hear properly.

Causes of tinnitus

Tinnitus can affect anyone at any age, however, you are more prone to experiencing tinnitus symptoms as you get older or if you have been exposed to very loud noises. Some of the causes of tinnitus include:

  • Exposure to loud noise (also linked to noise-induced hearing loss)
  • Some medications
  • Ageing
  • Earwax blockage
  • Ear, head or neck injury
  • Neurological disorders
  • Deterioration of bones in the middle ear
  • Upper respiratory infections

Do hearing aids help tinnitus?

Tinnitus and hearing loss often go hand in hand. Around 80% of people experiencing tinnitus also having hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect the signals sent from the ear to the brain, which can result in unwanted activity in the brain, known as tinnitus. The perceived sound of tinnitus can be acutely distracting and make it hard to concentrate on other sounds. Hearing aids for tinnitus masking enables you to hear everything going on around you, while at the same time providing relief from the internal sounds of tinnitus. This makes hearing aids an effective treatment for both tinnitus and hearing loss.

Hearing aids for tinnitus

Along with amplifying external sounds, the best hearing aids for tinnitus masking also have tinnitus therapy built-in to the device which provides effective sound therapy for tinnitus that can be adjusted to help compensate for your hearing loss. Adding additional sounds to the sounds you are already hearing because of tinnitus may sound counterintuitive but it can be a surprisingly effective method for managing tinnitus. The hearing aids act as a tinnitus masker by bringing in external noises to disguise the troubling tinnitus sounds. This could be in the form of specific ear masking noises, low-level music, white noise, or your own customised sound.

These additional sounds mask the tinnitus so that the sound blends in with the background and is less prominent and doesn’t interfere with your life. While a hearing aid for tinnitus masking provides substantial relief, they may not be able to eliminate all of your tinnitus symptoms. However, allowing some tinnitus to remain audible does mean that you can become more familiar with the sounds and in conjunction with sound therapy, you can better manage your tinnitus symptoms when the masking sounds are shut off.

Best hearing aids for tinnitus

While not all hearing aids have tinnitus maskers and not all tinnitus maskers are hearing aids, the best hearing aids for tinnitus can do both jobs very effectively. Some hearing aids feature a tinnitus masker that produces broadband or narrowband noise at a low level which masks the sound of tinnitus. This type of masking noise is often called white noise. By combining the technology of hearing aids and tinnitus maskers, you can enjoy the benefits of both without having to switch between two devices.

If you are experiencing unusual sounds in your ears or you have any concerns about your hearing, schedule a consultation with a hearing care professional who will be able to assess you, and discuss your options.

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