The use of hearing aids for tinnitus relief seems counterintuitive. Hearing aids, after all, increase the clarity and volume of the environmental sounds possibly resulting in worsening tinnitus. But this isn’t the case, surprisingly so, and here’s why.
Tinnitus as a Symptom
Before you think that you have tinnitus, you should first know what it is and what it isn’t. According to the American Tinnitus Association, tinnitus is a condition wherein the affected person hears sounds inside his ears or head without an external source.
These are phantom sounds that seem real, as well as annoying and frustrating as these adversely impact daily life. These can take the form of hissing, buzzing, ringing and clicking with varying duration and intensity.
If it’s any consolation, tinnitus affects an estimated 50 million Americans albeit in varying degrees and duration. Also, it isn’t a disease or a disorder in itself – instead, it’s a symptom of an underlying health issue. It can be caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises, extreme stress, and head colds, as well as sinus or ear infections and hearing loss.
In fact, people who have hearing loss are more likely to experience tinnitus more frequently. This is because their world, in a manner of speaking, is quieter with little environmental sounds penetrating it.
Hearing Aids for Relief
How then does hearing aids provide relief against tinnitus? Hearing aids amplify and clarify external sounds that, in turn, makes it easier for the wearer to make distinctions between several sounds. When a person with tinnitus wears hearing aids, the amplification of the external sounds will mask the buzzing, clicking or ringing sounds.
The hearing aids allows for better hearing ability of the desired external sounds, such as voices of other people, music and birds chirping. This means the phantom sounds brought by tinnitus are relegated to the background and, thus, become less annoying.
There’s also the matter of brain training. By wearing hearing aids, you’re basically retraining your brain so that it can ignore the phantom sounds in your ear. The longer you wear hearing aids, the better you can manage your tinnitus symptoms.
Of course, the assumption here is that the hearing aids are properly fitted and customized according to your specific hearing issues. You are well-advised to buy customized hearing aids despite their more expensive price because these can be customized. You will be able to hear well while also minimizing the side effects of wearing these devices.
Even if you don’t have hearing loss, hearing aids can be used in the management of tinnitus symptoms. Ask your audiologist about hearing aids that produce white noise and other sounds that provide relief, such as ocean waves. You won’t have to suffer from hearing phantom noises after a while of using them.
If you think your family or you need a hearing aid, make sure to get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.
HK Hearing & Speech Centre
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and Hearing Aid Prescription