Do People With Tinnitus Need Hearing Aids? - Attune
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Do People With Tinnitus Need Hearing Aids?

Tinnitus Need Hearing Aids

Tinnitus isn’t a disease or illness. It is a condition in which people experience noises or ringing in their ears or head when there is no physical sound. Tinnitus is unique to each person, which means the sound or noise they experience will vary. 

Common sounds or noises reported include ringing, buzzing, whistling, roaring and humming. Tinnitus can develop from many causes, not just hearing loss. Often the cause of tinnitus is also unknown. If you or a loved one are experiencing tinnitus and came across our article, you’re likely wondering whether hearing aids can help you adjust to your new normal with the condition. 

What is Tinnitus? 

Tinnitus or ringing sounds are unique to the individual, and this condition is often more common than people realise. Tinnitus is experienced by approximately 17% to 20% of the general population, and this varies in severity from mild to severe. 

The prevalence of tinnitus increases in people over 55 to approximately 30%. In terms of severity, the disturbance of tinnitus experienced by individuals varies. However, most individuals experience a mild form of tinnitus that is temporary though causing mild annoyance.

What Causes Tinnitus?

There are many causes of tinnitus, and it can occur for numerous reasons. Some of the common causes of tinnitus include:

  • Exposure to loud noise such as shooting and listening to loud music extensively
  • Some medications, chemicals, chemotherapy and other ototoxic drugs
  • Ear and/or hearing conditions such as Meniere’s disease, middle ear pathology such as middle ear infections and otosclerosis
  • Stress, anxiety and/or trauma
  • Undiagnosed underlying medical problems
  • In most cases there can be no one identifiable cause 

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

There is a strong association between tinnitus and hearing loss, as it is often impacted by loud noise exposure on the hair cells in the cochlea. Sensorineural hearing loss refers to the permanent damage caused to the hair cells of the cochlea, which allows us to hear. They can be damaged by several factors, including loud noise exposure, ageing, ototoxic drugs and many other factors. 

When the hair cells are damaged, the auditory circuit to the brain does not receive the signals they would normally receive in a healthy system. This can then affect the neurons, where they produce abnormal activity, resulting in a subjective ringing or noise, known as tinnitus. Suppose the tinnitus you experience is a result of hearing loss. In that case, it should be appropriately investigated through a comprehensive audiological assessment to determine the nature and severity of the hearing loss. 

This can help you understand the tinnitus you experience and help alleviate some of the stress and or anxiety that you may be experiencing from the unknown origin of the tinnitus. More importantly, it can provide you with a sense of direction regarding treatment and learning to cope with the condition. 

How is Tinnitus Diagnosed? 

Every individual experiences a different form of tinnitus or ringing. It is important to speak to your medical practitioner and accredited audiologist should you experience any forms of tinnitus or ringing. Given the numerous causes, tinnitus or ringing may have occurred for many reasons, and it’s important to rule out certain conditions to ensure there are no pressing issues.

You may find more than one person close to you with tinnitus and/or hearing loss, and their experience may be vastly different to your own. Hence, it is important to take the necessary steps in addressing and managing your tinnitus and hearing loss. 

First and foremost, it is critical to raise the concern regarding the tinnitus and/or tinnitus you may experience with your medical practitioner and accredited audiologist. They are trained in their fields to help you understand the tinnitus better and/or hearing loss you experience and are there to help you navigate the most appropriate tinnitus treatment out there. 

Like the numerous causes of tinnitus, there are multiple treatment options. Hence, it is important to undergo proper measures to find the right management strategy for you.

Can Hearing Aids Help Tinnitus

Can Hearing Aids Help Tinnitus?

Hearing aids aim to bring back the missing sounds produced by the hearing loss, and as a result, they address the lack of auditory signals received by the auditory circuit to the brain. This means the severity of the tinnitus experienced by the individual can be reduced.

Modern hearing aids can mitigate the effects of tinnitus through features designed to address the perception of tinnitus. These are known as “tinnitus maskers”. Tinnitus maskers produce a low-level white noise that can reduce the subjective perception of tinnitus and, sometimes, residual inhibition. An accredited audiologist can tailor this white noise for you through hearing aids. 

Another feature that can reduce the perception of tinnitus is the direct streaming of music from smartphones and other devices. Some individuals prefer music over low-level white noise. This can be provided as a distraction for your brain to focus on the music rather than the tinnitus.

There are also several apps designed by hearing aid manufacturers who specifically research and develop suitable apps to help those experiencing tinnitus. These can be used in conjunction with hearing aids, especially at night or in quiet listening environments, where the perception of tinnitus may be heightened.

How Attune Hearing Can Help 

Attune Hearing is the leading independent provider of hearing healthcare services in Australia. Attune work to assist with all aspects of tinnitus and hearing loss and work to provide a treatment strategy that works for you. Contact Attune today on 1300 736 702 to book a hearing test or learn more about our services. 

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