Hearing Aids for Tinnitus
As an audiologist, the team here at Audiology and Hearing Aid Services handle numerous patients complaining about the same symptoms every day. We get people through our doors who always talk about ringing or whistling in their ears. No one else can hear it, and it’s really starting to annoy them and cause a great deal of stress.
This continuous ringing or whistling is called tinnitus. It’s a widespread hearing condition, and there are plenty of causes for it. Some people get tinnitus from an earwax blockage, others get it from exposure to loud noises, and you could even get it as a side-effect from an ear infection. Generally speaking, it goes away with time as you let your ears heal or get rid of any excess earwax.
However, for many people, tinnitus comes as a sign of hearing loss. When this happens, it won’t go away and is almost amplified as the rest of the world becomes quieter. The good news is, an audiologist can often treat this with hearing aids. These devices don’t just improve your hearing, but they can provide tinnitus relief as well – and here’s how:
Hearing aids and tinnitus
Your average hearing aid can be used to treat this condition without adding any special features or anything fancy. It all stems from the idea that your tinnitus symptoms are severe because your hearing is bad. When you hear any sounds, you assume they have to come from somewhere. But, with tinnitus, the source is inside you. It’s a sound only you can hear as it’s caused within the ear.
Consequently, your hearing can get worse, but this won’t mean that you stop hearing the tinnitus. Instead, you’ll hear it louder than ever as there are fewer external sounds to cover it up. So, this is where hearing aids come into play. By wearing one of these devices, you improve your general hearing ability. All the noises you were missing out on are now back, which helps cover up the tinnitus.
The simple presence of noise will distract your brain from focusing on the constant tinnitus ringing. Therefore, it gets pushed to the back of your mind where you don’t think about it. Plus, there’s even some scientific evidence that suggests using hearing aids can improve the connection between your brain and the auditory pathways. Essentially, this means you can process sound signals much more effectively. In doing so, this is said to cause a further reduction in tinnitus symptoms.
Hearing aid volume controls
Alongside the general benefits of hearing aids, you can also get some joy out of the volume control features. Every hearing device comes with them and you can use them to turn up background noises when you’ve got your hearing aids in. This makes everything seem a lot louder, which further blocks out the ringing from your head.
One word of warning; make sure you don’t go overboard and turn the volume up too high. Just alter it slightly, until you start to forget about the tinnitus and the symptoms are no longer an issue for you.
While the above points have been focused on general hearing aids, you can get some with advanced features to further add to your tinnitus relief. Primarily, you’re looking at something called tinnitus masking technology. With some devices, you can program them to mask tinnitus and provide relief from the troublesome symptoms.
How does this work? Essentially, a frequency is played through the hearing aids that tries to cancel out the presence of your tinnitus. The overall effect is that it’s entirely masked, allowing you to hear the world around you with more clarity. This is often recommended for people who really struggle with tinnitus and find that regular hearing aids don't help. For example, if you already have hearing aids, and start suffering from tinnitus, then this could be the treatment option for you.
There is clear evidence to suggest that hearing aids help with tinnitus. But, the vital thing to remember is that you’re receiving relief, not a cure. You can’t really cure tinnitus, but you can use hearing aids to train your brain to mask the ringing sound and forget about it.
To learn more about tinnitus and hearing aids, feel free to get in touch with us today. Ask any questions regarding this service and we’ll gladly give as many answers as we can. Or, if you want to book an appointment for a tinnitus screening, then call us at (912) 351-3038 and you’ll take one step towards tinnitus relief!