Will Hearing Aids Help with Ringing in the Ears?
Phantom noises in the ear can be an inconvenience or annoyance at first. However, when left untreated, they can suddenly become a severe burden. Indeed, when you are experiencing a ringing in the ears, you might not be able to take part in conversations or enjoy your work-life easily. And, of course, these noises can be highly distracting.
Some of the side effects of continuous and loud ringing in the ears go from poorer sleep quality to concentration problems. Luckily, this underlying symptom – known as tinnitus – can be addressed with the help of an expert audiologist. And, thanks to hearing aids, sound therapies and adjustments in your lifestyle, you can start to enjoy your life to the fullest again. Here’s how hearing aids can help you with tinnitus.
What is that ringing in the ears?
Tinnitus is a condition that affects over 50 million Americans or 15% of the adult population. While it is not often a condition in itself, it is a symptom of other underlying health issues such as hearing loss, head injuries and severe diseases such as brain tumors. However, more often, tinnitus can happen due to certain lifestyle factors – such as continuous exposure to loud noises – or damage of the hair cells in the ear canal.
Tinnitus refers to the condition of hearing phantom noises in the ear, such as ringing, buzzing or hissing, which are difficult to pinpoint.
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be the consequences of several factors such as:
- Age and gender
- Underlying health conditions such as brain tumor or high blood pressure
- Hearing loss
- Excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco, coffee and sodium.
- Exposure to loud machinery, music or bags in your work environment.
- Ototoxic medications that can damage the ear.
How are hearing loss and tinnitus connected?
While people with perfectly healthy hearing can experience tinnitus, this condition is more common in individuals with hearing loss. When the hair cells in your ear canal become bent or damaged, they will struggle to receive sound waves and transmit the right type of signals to the brain. So, you can start to experience hearing loss – which is usually noise-induced or related to age.
Since most types of hearing loss conditions are gradual, people might start to notice their tinnitus before their hearing loss.
How do hearing aids help with tinnitus?
Hearing aids are devices that sit within the ear bowl or canal or outside the ear. They can help correct a broad range of hearing loss conditions. As we have seen, tinnitus is often related to hearing loss because the sound deprivation that a person might be experiencing can make a ringing noise more apparent.
Hearing aids can help you reduce how noticeable tinnitus is by amplifying the sounds around you. Additionally, if you have been experiencing severe tinnitus, you might also be able to opt for a type of hearing aid with special functions to decrease the tinnitus noise and distract the brain from it.
Thanks to today’s technology, there are also specific hearing aids on the market that you can program to augment external noises to contrast the noise of tinnitus. If your tinnitus is at the same frequency range as your hearing loss, these devices can be particularly effective.
Ultimately, hearing aids not only help you focus on sounds other than the ringing, but they can also reduce the consequences of tinnitus, such as poor sleep quality and lack of concentration.
What hearing aids are best to reduce tinnitus?
Since every hearing loss or tinnitus situation is different, you should always speak to your audiologist to determine what is the best type of hearing aid for your needs.
However, generally, bilateral hearing aids – or paired aids that need to be worn on both years – are more efficient in reducing tinnitus effects.
Additionally, open-fit aids can be the best option to help you regain your hearing while also limiting the effects of tinnitus. This kind of hearing aids uses a think tube that connects the device positioned behind the ear with a speaker located in the ear canal. Unlike other hearing aids, open-fit devices leave enough space in the canal to let low-frequency sounds in. In turn, this can distract the brain from internal sounds such as a ringing in the ear.
Find the ideal hearing aid for you at Gavin Audiology
Tinnitus is an extremely common condition that can impact your life. However, luckily, there is something you can do to minimize the symptoms of tinnitus. Discover the benefits of hearing aids and how they can help with your tinnitus by visiting us at Gavin Audiology and Hearing Aids or contacting us at 914-631-8777.