Learn About Hearing Devices for Tinnitus: How Do They Work?
It can happen to anyone that they keep hearing a buzzing sound or ringing sound in their ears despite having any source of that sound near them. Even though no one else can listen to that sound, they can feel that sound occurring inside their ear. This condition of listening to beeping, buzzing, or ringing sounds constantly or at intervals is regarded as tinnitus. This is a particular hearing problem that can be troublesome and irritating for a person.
These days tinnitus can be widely seen among people. According to the estimations made by the US Centers for Disease Control, around 15% of people in America, which is over 50 million Americans, are suffering from tinnitus of some sort. Moreover, based on the studies of the Hearing Loss Association of America, 90 percent of the people with tinnitus suffer from hearing loss problems too.
What Is Tinnitus?
We have already known that the ringing or buzzing sound a person experiences inside their ear is called tinnitus, despite having a source of that sound nearby. The sound can also be described as clicking, hissing, or beeping sound. The sound a person hears because of tinnitus can be profound, low-pitched, or high-pitched. The type and intensity of the noise can differ from person to person, and they can also change with time.
Whether the sound is constant or occasional, severe or mild, the noise can be distracting and cause massive irritation in a person. It can come and go anytime, anywhere. It can be like you are just talking to someone over the phone, or just spending quality time with a group of people, or just sitting alone in a silent room, and suddenly you start to hear the noise inside your ear.
How and Why Tinnitus Gets Caused
Tinnitus can develop in people of all backgrounds and ages, but older people are more likely to suffer from it than younger ones. Let’s have a look at some causes of tinnitus.
A person can suffer from tinnitus for being exposed to deafening noises such as explosions, gunshots, machinery noises, or even thunderous music.
Tinnitus can occur like other hearing loss problems due to aging due to the nerve fibers getting decreased inside the inner ear.
Some medications can cause this as a side effect. Some other things that can cause tinnitus are:
- Earwax Blockage
- Several Neurological Disorders
- Degeneration of the small bones inside the middle ear
- Ear Injuries, Head or Neck Injuries
- Upper Respiratory Infections
How To Treat Tinnitus
If you are facing tinnitus, you need to visit an audiologist to make sure if there is an underlying cause for it or not. If there is an underlying cause that you can treat, then go for treating those issues instead of tinnitus. Once those issues are solved, you will be relieved from tinnitus. For instance, if you face tinnitus due to your ear getting blocked by earwax, then removing the earwax will help you get rid of the tinnitus.
However, if your tinnitus is caused by permanent reasons like a damage in hearing nerves due to old age or prolonged exposure to loud noise, you won’t be able to treat tinnitus fully. Instead, you will have to reduce its impact by managing tinnitus. For doing that, you’ll have to resort to options like using hearing aids that have tinnitus management options such as sound therapy, tinnitus masking, and auditory stimulation.
Hearing Aids and Tinnitus
Hearing aids are the most effective solution for most hearing loss problems, especially permanent hearing loss problems. Hearing aids amplify sounds for a person with hearing loss to listen better and adequately get on with their everyday lives. Hearing loss problems can profoundly affect a person’s way of life as they fail to properly communicate with others and do everything else that requires their hearing ability. Hearing aids help with all that.
We already know that almost 90% of tinnitus patients also suffer from hearing loss. So, it is a must for most tinnitus patients to use hearing aids to listen better. Apart from that, when it comes to dealing with tinnitus individually, special hearing aids for tinnitus offer features like tinnitus masking and good treatment, which provides a great deal of help in dealing with tinnitus.
With the help of these features, you’ll be able to manage your tinnitus problems by adapting to them. Special hearing aids for tinnitus are the best way to make yourself deal with the buzzing or ringing sound you keep hearing.
How Does Wearing a Hearing Aid Help Tinnitus
Primarily hearing aids will provide you the support you need for your hearing loss problems by amplifying the sound and providing other convenient features. And when it comes to dealing with tinnitus, they provide specific features that you need to deal with tinnitus, like sound therapy.
Let’s see how tinnitus masking and sound therapy can help you with tinnitus:
External sounds are used in sound therapy to mask the troublesome tinnitus noises you keep hearing. The external sound can be any sounds like low-level music, special ear masking noise, white noise, or even your own customized sounds. For a patient, it becomes easier to shift their attention from the buzzing or ringing noises by listening to different types of external sounds.
And the hearing aids with this special feature will carry on the task of providing the external sound so that they can divert their mind from the tinnitus noises and adapt to their situation properly. It will help them to ignore the internal sounds and get on with their everyday life.
This is another feature that special hearing aids for tinnitus provide. This feature helps to provide short-term relief from tinnitus.
Like sound therapy, tinnitus masking also uses external sounds to cover up the disturbing tinnitus noises. But in the case of tinnitus masking, all the tinnitus noises aren’t covered up by external sounds. Instead, some degree of those sounds is masked to provide relief to the patient, while the remaining tinnitus noises are left audible to allow for habituation to happen.
When a patient gets habituated with the tinnitus sound they hear, it becomes easier for them to adapt to the situation and get on with their everyday life despite having the problem. Hearing aids with a tinnitus masking feature can provide you with the partial masking of tinnitus sound to build up the habit of living with the tinnitus noises and get on with your everyday life without any trouble.
Tinnitus can be difficult to deal with, as listening to sounds that don’t can be distracting and troubling at the same time. So, make sure to get a special hearing aid with a tinnitus masker to deal with your tinnitus, and adapt to the problem in a way that it can’t cause any problem in the way of living your normal lifestyle.
American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Accessed 5/24/2021.Earwax (Cerumen Impaction).
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Accessed 5/24/2021.
Horton GA, Simpson MTW, Beyea MM, Beyea JA. . J Prim Care Community Healthr. 2020;11:215013272090418. Accessed 5/24/2021