It may sound like a pulsating or buzzing sound, often creating an uncomfortable and distracting problem. What's worse is that it can be impossible to stop it from occurring without some type of intervention. However, research indicates that hearing aids can help. If you have tinnitus or suspect you do, your first step should be to contact an audiologist for a consultation.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be chronic, and when it is, it is likely the result of an injury to the outer, middle, and inner ear, called the peripheral auditory system. It may also be the result of damage to the auditory nerve. Sometimes people suffer from tinnitus because of changes to the hearing center of the brain.
Those who have this condition often have symptoms such as:
· A persistent perception of sound or noise that no one else hears
· Fatigue and sleep difficulty
· Tension and pain often in the neck, shoulders, and head
· Anxiety and depression
· Trouble focusing on tasks and concentrating throughout the day
For those who experience this type of discomfort, getting treatment can offer some relief. Since this condition can cause many people to struggle to enjoy a high quality of life, it goes without saying that seeking help is critical.
What Causes Tinnitus?
In some situations, there is no known cause for tinnitus. Doctors are unable to determine any specific cause in a fraction of people with this condition. However, in others, this problem can occur due to long-term exposure to loud sounds and noises, including work environments, concerts, and other exposures.
There are some situations where tinnitus occurs simply as a result of the natural aging process. Some medications could make a person at a higher risk for developing tinnitus than others as well. In younger people, a serious ear infection could be the cause of the pain and discomfort. For many, nothing seems to help relieve the condition, and that can be frustrating.
How Hearing Aids Help Tinnitus
Research shows that hearing aids can be an effective treatment option for tinnitus. They can provide two specific benefits to those with the condition. First, they often work to make a person less aware that tinnitus is occurring. In addition to this, they can also work to improve communication by reducing the sensation of voices or sounds being masked, which is a common concern with tinnitus.
It is not uncommon for people who have tinnitus to have hearing loss at various degrees. Hearing loss could be the underlying cause of tinnitus symptoms, and improving it could help many people to see an improvement in their overall ability to communicate and accomplish the tasks they want to.
When tinnitus occurs, it can impact the auditory input – the information being fed from the ear to the brain. When this happens, it creates unwanted and unnecessary activity in the brain. In some people, the brain tries to compensate for these changes. This can lead to frustrations with sound quality and being able to understand the world around you.
Tinnitus impacts people in different ways, and hearing aids can work as a tool to correct some of all of the underlying problem with your hearing aid. Often, by simply improving hearing quality, it is possible to see a reduction in tinnitus symptoms.
Tinnitus Features in Hearing Aids
Working with an audiologist, it will be first important to understand what type of hearing loss you have and the cause, if possible. A full hearing screening can offer insight into what’s occurring so the most appropriate treatment plan can be offered. Once a good understanding of your needs is possible, it is then necessary to consider the type of hearing aid that may provide you with improvement.
There are many hearing aids on the market today, and many of them offer a range of tools to help with the improvement of tinnitus. Your audiologist will help to pinpoint specific areas that could help you.
Remember, hearing aids help in more than one way. First, simply by using a hearing aid, it is possible to improve your ability to hear, and if that is the underlying cause of your tinnitus symptoms, this can help to reduce those experiences or eliminate them. Second, many hearing aids have built-in features that work to combat those symptoms. For example, some models have white noise features that help to block out the sound from tinnitus, providing you with relief. Others use soothing tones. Some allow you to even customize the tones to create something that is soothing and comfortable for you. These sounds come from the hearing aids directly, working to mask the tinnitus symptoms.
These features can work to create a shift in the way your brain is working. Instead of focusing heavily on the ringing, the hearing aids help to pull your attention away from that sound, allowing you to focus more readily on the tasks that are important to you rather than what you are hearing. This works without thought – you don’t have to think about the sounds you are hearing any longer.
Aside from masking and distracting, hearing aids for tinnitus can also be beneficial in retraining your brain. They can help your brain to recognize sounds properly, which often is not what occurs over time as tinnitus continues and worsens.
There are other features that may be available from some of the hearing aids designed to provide treatment for tinnitus.
- Hearing aids like this are typically very easy to use. You do not have to worry about a complex method of caring for them or putting them into place.
- You can control them as you need and want to throughout your day. You can adjust the volume setting, sound settings, and other features from your smartphone, which makes it very convenient to update as you go throughout your day.
- Depending on the needs you have, some models can be behind-the-ear hearing aids, or others are fitted into the ear canal. Various options exist to make these hard to see as well.
- Depending on your situation, you may be able to choose a hearing aid that allows you to stream from your phone. This makes it easier for you to hear things like the TV or the person that is talking to you on the phone. For many people, this makes it easier to go through life with better hearing.
- You can enjoy more comfortable conversations with friends and family. Your hearing loss can often be improved by using these hearing aids, and most people find that there is real relief in that.
Hearing aids, in general, improve a person's quality of life. If you don't have hearing loss, the effectiveness of them may be slightly different, but it still tends to be beneficial because it reduces your symptoms of tinnitus so well.
Fine tuning a solution for your needs
One of the best features of tinnitus hearing aids is that they provide patients with a number of ways to significantly improve hearing quality based on their unique needs. A personalized approach like this, then, allows for the best possible results for your needs.
Your audiologist will create a profile of your hearing loss from an assessment. This then allows them to fine tune the hearing aid to help it adjust to your specific needs. This allows for the hearing aid to often work better for you than it would otherwise.
Hearing aids can also be adjusted in various ways, such as the type of sounds, the amount of volume available, and various other settings. This gives you more control over the functionality of your hearing aid and the treatment of your symptoms. Once the initial setting and fitting are done, it is then possible for the hearing aids to be updated over time, such as over each of your appointments, to ensure they offer the best overall results for your needs.
Which Hearing Aid Is Best for Tinnitus?
There are a lot of hearing aids on the market, and many of them can offer benefits for tinnitus symptoms. Yet, there is no one hearing aid that is best for everyone. Most people need to have a hearing aid that's designed to address the underlying cause of their hearing loss, and that often means a device that can address the level of severity of hearing loss you have. There are options available for most people who have this condition, even those who are younger and may not have had any other solutions help them in the past.
If you have any hearing loss or you have tinnitus, take the time now to schedule a consultation with an audiologist. This will provide you with an exceptional opportunity to help you to see an improvement in your overall quality of life by helping you to regain control over tinnitus.