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How Hearing Aids Help Tinnitus

Woman with Tinnitus

Audiologists and hearing specialists will sometimes recommend hearing aids to people who are suffering from hearing loss and experiencing tinnitus as a consequence. Today, we’re going to take a look at why your audiologist might prescribe you a hearing aid, and describe how using one of these clever little devices can help you treat those irritating - sometimes debilitating - buzzing, ringing and whooshing noises in your ears. Let’s get started with some of the basics.

Tinnitus and hearing loss

First of all, it’s important to understand that just because you have tinnitus, it doesn’t mean you are losing your hearing. While it’s a relatively common factor, there are plenty of people with normal hearing that also have tinnitus. It is, however, important that if you have regular bouts of tinnitus, you should get things checked out by your audiologist. The truth is that hearing loss rarely happens overnight, and in the vast majority of cases can be a slow and barely noticeable process. With this in mind, you should never assume that your tinnitus is causing you difficulties, and ensure you get your hearing checked.

Tinnitus and hearing aids

So, how do hearing aids help with your tinnitus? Well, when you start to lose your hearing, tinnitus can sometimes be caused by a deprivation of sound. Over gradual hearing loss, you will find you hear less background noise, which exacerbates the volume of the ringing or buzzing feeling in your ears. Ultimately, wearing a hearing aid amplifies those background noises, which in turn mean you can focus on those sounds rather than the ones produced by your tinnitus condition.

The science of tinnitus and hearing aids

There have been many scientific studies done on the effects of hearing aids on people with hearing loss and tinnitus. Research suggests that using a hearing aid to reduce tinnitus-associated noises can have a significant - and positive - impact on the quality of your everyday life. Studies have also found that wearing bilateral hearing aids - one in each ear - works better than just using a single aid in one ear. Finally, a major study that looked at people with normal hearing found that almost 95 percent of them experienced tinnitus when they were in a particularly quiet environment. So, if you have hearing that isn’t able to amplify noises properly, it will clearly make it more likely you will be a lot more aware of your tinnitus.

Hearing aids and noise production

Finally, a lot of modern hearing aids can actually play white noise or artificial sounds, that have the effect of ‘turning down’ your tinnitus symptoms. It’s worth talking to your audiologist about some of these new hearing aids, some of which can even connect to your smartphone with special apps that provide you with a sound-rich environment whenever you need it. You can also get separate noise generating devices to be used in conjunction with your hearing aid. If you think you might be in need of a hearing aid, why not make an appointment with an audiologist? Combined with counseling, support groups and education programs, your tinnitus does not have to to be the debilitating problem it is right now.