Can Hearing Aids Help Alleviate Tinnitus?
In the United States, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) affects 20 percent of the entire population, and hearing loss is present in 90 percent of those cases.
With such a deep relationship between hearing loss and tinnitus, you would think that people would be much more likely to seek treatment for one or both conditions.
But believe it or not we find the exact opposite. Of those who pass up treatment for hearing loss, 39 percent (9 million people) do so because they think that nothing can be done about their tinnitus.
That’s 9 million people that are suffering needlessly when a treatment method exists that could both augment hearing and relieve tinnitus at the same time.
That treatment method is the professional fitting of hearing aids.
In a recent survey of hearing health specialists, it was discovered that 60 percent of patients confirmed some measure of tinnitus relief when utilizing hearing aids, while 22 percent confirmed significant relief.
Based on these numbers, if the 9 million who have given up on tinnitus used hearing aids, 5.4 million would realize some measure of relief and about 2 million would achieve significant relief.
But how do hearing aids reduce the intensity of tinnitus?
The scientific agreement is that hearing loss triggers diminished sound stimulation reaching the brain. In reaction, the brain goes through maladaptive neurological changes that result in the perception of sound when no external sound is present.
It’s this very subjective nature that makes tinnitus so hard to diagnose and treat, and why prescription drugs or surgical procedures typically have little to no impact. There’s simply no physical tissue to repair or chemistry to modify.
But there is a way to reach the perception of sound, a way to help the brain adjust or reverse its response to reduced sound stimulation.
With hearing aids, amplified sound can help readjust the brain to healthy levels of sound stimulation and in the process offer a masking effect for the sounds of tinnitus.
For people with hearing loss, tinnitus is more bothersome because the tinnitus is louder relative to the volume of external sound. By turning up the volume on external sound, tinnitus can disappear into the background.
Furthermore, some hearing aids can deliver sound therapy directly to the individual, which can be tailored for each person.
Hearing aids, coupled with sound and behavioral therapy, are at present the best tinnitus options available. The majority of patients report some extent of relief and many patients report significant relief.
Are you ready to give hearing aids a chance? Arrange a consultation today!