Can you hear a buzzing or ringing sound in your ear but there doesn’t seem to be anything around you that could be causing it? It could be that you are one of the 4 in 10 Canadians experiencing tinnitus.

 Tinnitus is when you can hear a ringing, buzzing, clicking, hissing, or a pulsating sensation in one or both of your ears.

The intensity can be a deep, low-pitched, high-pitched, or an even tone that changes. It’s an internal sound that only you can hear, and there doesn’t appear to be any external source to it. The sounds can vary from person to person and they may only occur occasionally or you may experience the sound continuously.

For some people, tinnitus can simply be mildly irritating and it doesn’t interfere too much with their daily lives. However, for others, it can be devastating and affect every aspect of their lives, stopping them from being able to sleep, concentrate, and hearing well.

Causes of tinnitus

Anyone can develop tinnitus, regardless of their age or background. However, people are more prone to experiencing tinnitus as they age or if they’ve been exposed to loud noises. It’s impossible to predict when symptoms will start and it can happen anywhere and at any time. Some of the symptoms of tinnitus include:

  • Exposure to loud noise (also linked with noise-induced hearing loss)
  • Certain medications
  • Aging
  • Earwax blockage
  • Injury to the ears, head or neck
  • Neurological disorders
  • Deterioration of bones in the middle ear
  • Upper respiratory infections

Do hearing aids help tinnitus?

Tinnitus and hearing loss can 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 customized 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 think you have tinnitus schedule a consultation with your hearing care professional who will help you find the best hearing aid to relieve your symptoms so you can get on with enjoying your life.

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