Hearing Aids and Tinnitus
By Top-Rated Charlotte Audiologist, Dr. Gosu
Tinnitus is a common and often frustrating condition that affects millions of Americans. According to the American Tinnitus Association, more than 50 million people in the United States experience tinnitus to some degree, with as many as 20 million people experiencing it to a degree that affects their daily lives. Tinnitus is a condition in which a person hears ringing, buzzing, or other sounds in their ear when no external sound is present. It can range from a mild nuisance to a severe and debilitating condition, and it can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life.
Symptoms of tinnitus
The most common symptom of tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear. The intensity and pitch of the sound can vary widely from person to person. Some people may only notice their tinnitus occasionally, while others may experience it constantly. In some cases, tinnitus can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as dizziness or difficulty hearing.
Triggers of tinnitus
There are many potential triggers for tinnitus, including:
- Noise exposure: Loud noises, such as those from concerts, sporting events, or construction, can damage the hair cells in the inner ear and lead to tinnitus.
- Medications: Some medications, such as certain antibiotics, antidepressants, and painkillers, can cause tinnitus as a side effect.
- Age-related hearing loss: As we age, our hearing naturally declines, and this can lead to tinnitus.
- Earwax buildup: Excess earwax can block the ear canal and cause tinnitus.
- Head or neck injuries: Trauma to the head or neck can damage the auditory system and cause tinnitus.
Who is more likely to get tinnitus?
Tinnitus can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in older adults. People who have a family history of tinnitus or hearing loss may be more likely to develop the condition. In addition, people who work in noisy environments, such as construction workers or musicians, are at increased risk for tinnitus due to their exposure to loud noises.
There is a strong link between hearing loss and tinnitus. In fact, tinnitus is often one of the first signs of hearing loss. As the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, they may produce a ringing or buzzing sound that is heard in the absence of external sound. In addition, people with hearing loss may strain to hear, which can lead to increased stress and ultimately tinnitus.
How hearing aids help tinnitus
Hearing aids can be an effective treatment for tinnitus, especially when the tinnitus is caused by hearing loss. Here's how they can help:
Sound therapy solutions: Some hearing aids have built-in sound therapy programs that can help mask the tinnitus and make it less noticeable. These programs use a variety of sounds, such as white noise or nature sounds, to distract the brain from the tinnitus.
Auditory stimulation: Hearing aids can provide auditory stimulation to the brain, which can help reduce the severity of tinnitus. By providing a constant stream of sounds, hearing aids can help the brain focus on something other than the tinnitus.
Improved communication: By improving hearing, hearing aids can also help reduce the stress and frustration that often accompany tinnitus. When you can hear better, you can communicate more effectively, which can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
Current solutions for tinnitus
Oticon hearing aids offer a feature called Tinnitus SoundSupport, which is a sound generator that can be integrated into the hearing aids. This feature includes specially designed programs that play various sounds to help individuals distract themselves from their tinnitus. The range of available sounds includes options like ocean-like noises and white noise, and users can choose which sounds to include in their hearing aids with the guidance of their hearing care professional.
User feedback has indicated that natural, dynamic sounds can be particularly soothing for individuals with tinnitus. The volume of the relief sounds can be adjusted directly on the hearing aid or through the Oticon ON App. It is important to note that different approaches work for different people with tinnitus, and the flexibility of Tinnitus SoundSupport allows individuals to find a solution that works for them.
The ReSound Relief app
The ReSound Relief app is a tool that can help individuals manage their tinnitus symptoms. It offers a range of features, including sound therapy, relaxation exercises, meditation, and guidance, to help individuals focus on sounds that are important to them.
In addition, the app allows users to create their own soundscapes by layering up to five sounds from environmental sounds and small pieces of music. These soundscapes can be accessed through a smartphone or tablet using a Bluetooth wireless speaker headset. While tinnitus is a challenging condition, the ReSound Relief app offers a convenient and discreet way to manage symptoms and find relief.
If you're struggling with tinnitus, we understand how overwhelming and frustrating it can be. But there is hope. At the Hearing Solution Center, we believe that everyone deserves to live a life free from the burden of tinnitus. That's why we offer comprehensive hearing tests to help manage tinnitus symptoms and improve your quality of life. Don't let tinnitus dictate how you live your life. Take the first step towards relief and visit us for a hearing test today.