How Do Hearing Aids Help Tinnitus?

by | Jan 24, 2023 | Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss, Patient Resources, Tinnitus

The CDC indicates that over 50 million Americans experience tinnitus in some form. Moreover, approximately 20 million people experience chronic cases, while two million experience extreme cases.

Indeed, tinnitus can interfere with everyday life if it’s not managed properly. This article seeks to shed more light on how hearing aids can help with tinnitus.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus refers to the perception of sound when no external sound is present. It is described as a ringing in the ears, although it can manifest as buzzing, clicking, hissing, swooshing, clicking, or whistling. Some reported cases reveal that people have heard music. Two main types of tinnitus exist: objective and subjective tinnitus.

Subjective tinnitus describes ear or head noises that only the person can hear and is usually caused by neurological and auditory responses to hearing loss. The American Tinnitus Association revealed that 99% of tinnitus cases are subjective.

On the other hand, objective tinnitus refers to ear or head noises that can be perceived by the patient and others. Muscular-skeletal movements and blood flow often produce these sounds. However, objective tinnitus represents less than 1% of all tinnitus cases. Tinnitus is usually caused by:

  • Hearing loss
  • Middle ear obstruction
  • Neck and head trauma
  • Sinus pressure
  • Other diseases and medical conditions

How Can Hearing Aids Relieve Tinnitus?

People with tinnitus may find relief by using hearing aids. Hearing aids are small electronic devices worn in or behind the ear that use speakers, microphones, and amplifiers to boost the volume of external sounds and increase the level of sound stimuli processed by the auditory system.
A 2015 study indicated that participants recorded a significant reduction in tinnitus symptoms when using hearing aids. Therefore, people with tinnitus can visit their hearing health professionals to get fitted for hearing aids in order to lessen their symptoms. However, how do these devices provide relief for tinnitus? Here are some ways to consider:

Auditory Stimulation:

An increase in external noise volume also boosts the auditory stimulation received by the brain. Fortunately, hearing aids perform this function, as they are known to sufficiently alter the acoustic environment to trigger changes in the auditory system. Moreover, the American Tinnitus Association states that it’s beneficial to stimulate the brain’s auditory pathway with soft background noises.

Masking and Additional Effects:

Modern hearing aids have masking properties, making them suitable for people with tinnitus. They can easily be programmed to contrast the tinnitus sounds. They work by augmenting external sound, making it difficult to pay attention to internal sounds. This helps the brain to focus on external noises. The effects of hearing aids’ masking properties are strongly felt by people whose hearing loss is on the same frequency as their tinnitus.

Improved Communication:

People with loud tinnitus can find it challenging to engage in social and communicative activities like speaking on the phone, listening to the radio, and having conversations with loved ones. This can cause them to isolate themselves, leading to frustration and even depression. Thankfully, hearing aids can improve communication with their sound-masking properties, leading patients to live their regular lives without interference.

Understanding tinnitus and finding ways to manage it are crucial steps toward improving the quality of life for those affected by this condition. With over 50 million Americans experiencing tinnitus, the need for effective solutions has never been more critical. If you or someone you know is struggling with tinnitus, it’s time to explore how hearing aids can make a difference.

At our clinic, we are dedicated to helping individuals understand their hearing health better and providing personalized solutions to manage tinnitus effectively. Don’t let tinnitus take over your life. Reach out to us today to learn more about how hearing aids can offer you relief and help you regain control over your hearing health.

Together, we can navigate the challenges of tinnitus and move toward a more comfortable and fulfilling life.

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Dario Coletta

Dario Coletta M.Sc., Au.D., Reg. CASLPO Doctor of Audiology is the head Audiologist of Port Credit Audiology & Hearing Aid Clinic. Dario obtained his Doctor of Audiology from A.T. Still University and Master of Science in Audiology from the University of British Columbia following his Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. He currently holds lecturer status at the University of Toronto in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Dario continues to work part-time at the Toronto General Hospital and has knowledge in advanced diagnostics, bespoke hearing aid fittings, and cerumen management. Dario also has a special interest in managing and counselling patients with tinnitus. He brings knowledge and efficiency in prescribing and fitting the newest hearing aid technology, and is committed to helping patients find an individualized solution for their hearing healthcare concerns.