Tinnitus & Hearing Loss

Written by the Nano Hearing Aids Team
Reviewed for Accuracy by Lindsay Roberts, AuD.

Lindsay Roberts
Tinnitus & Hearing Loss

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a ringing or buzzing in one or both of your ears. This condition can be present in people with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss, severe hearing loss, or even normal hearing. In fact, there are many potential causes for tinnitus, such as age, stress and/or anxiety, earwax buildup, and more.

Treatment for tinnitus varies depending on the cause. In this article, we’ll share important information about this condition, what to do if you suspect you have it, and how OTC hearing aids could potentially help.

What are the Symptoms of Tinnitus?

The symptoms of tinnitus can include:

Ringing in the ears

Ringing in the ears (or just one ear)

Buzzing or hissing sounds in one or both ears

Buzzing or hissing sounds in one or both ears

Can be continuous or intermittent

Can be continuous or intermittent

Might worsen in quiet environments

Might worsen in quiet environments

Associated with hearing loss, dizziness, or ear discomfort

Associated with hearing loss, dizziness, or ear discomfort

Can impact sleep, concentration, and emotional well-being

Can impact sleep, concentration, and emotional well-being

What Causes Tinnitus?

There are several possible causes of tinnitus, including those below. A visit to a hearing healthcare professional can help determine the cause.

  • Exposure to loud noise: Prolonged exposure to loud noises, such as music concerts or machinery, can damage the delicate hair cells in the inner ear, leading to tinnitus.
  • Age-related hearing loss: As we age, the sensory cells in the inner ear naturally deteriorate, leading to hearing loss and potentially accompanying tinnitus.
  • Earwax buildup: Accumulation of earwax can block the ear canal and interfere with normal hearing, potentially causing tinnitus symptoms.
  • Ear infections or injuries: Infections or injuries to the ear can disrupt the normal functioning of the auditory system, possibly leading to tinnitus.
  • Medications: Certain medications, including some antibiotics, antidepressants, and chemotherapy drugs, might have tinnitus as a side effect.
  • Underlying health conditions: Conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), Meniere's disease (an inner ear disorder), or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can contribute to tinnitus.
  • Stress or anxiety: Emotional stress or anxiety can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms or make them more noticeable. Stress might also contribute to other underlying causes of tinnitus.
How is Tinnitus Diagnosed
How is Tinnitus Diagnosed?

If you experience recurring tinnitus, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional. The condition is typically diagnosed through a combination of a physical examination, a medical history, and hearing tests (including audiograms and, possibly, imaging scans). During your evaluation, your hearing healthcare professional can determine what the next steps are for treatment based on the cause of your tinnitus and the severity of symptoms.

Do I Need Hearing Aids For Tinnitus?

If you have tinnitus alongside more mild to moderate symptoms of hearing loss (such as finding it difficult to hear in loud places or groups), you might benefit from OTC hearing aids. More severe hearing loss symptoms (such as trouble hearing in quiet environments) with tinnitus might require different types of treatment, such as a prescription hearing aid.

However as mentioned, it’s important to schedule a consultation with a hearing healthcare professional if you experience tinnitus. They can determine the cause of the tinnitus and the appropriate next steps for treatment.

What are Other Symptoms of Hearing Loss?

Tinnitus can occur alongside symptoms of both mild to moderate and severe hearing loss.

Symptoms of Perceived Mild To Moderate Hearing Loss

You might have perceived mild to moderate hearing loss if you experience any of the below:

  • Trouble hearing conversations in noisy places and with a lot of background noise or loud sounds
  • Feeling tired from listening
  • Finding it difficult to follow conversations and hear people in group settings
  • Difficulty hearing someone on the phone
  • Needing to turn up the volume on the TV or radio, even if others say that it’s loud

If you experience the above symptoms, you might benefit from OTC hearing aids. They don’t require a prescription or a visit to a hearing healthcare professional. If you are 18 years old or older and have perceived mild to moderate hearing loss, you can purchase OTC hearing aids.

Symptoms of Severe Hearing Loss

You might have severe hearing loss if you have the below symptoms:

  • Difficulty hearing conversations
  • Unable to hear sounds or finding it very difficult to hear sounds, including loud noises (even in quiet environments)
  • You might find yourself reading lips as a result of your hearing loss

If you think you might have severe/profound hearing loss, you should consider scheduling a consultation with a hearing healthcare professional. They can conduct various hearing tests to determine the severity of your hearing loss, causes, and next steps for treatment (such as prescription hearing aids).

What Can Make Tinnitus Worse
What Can Make Tinnitus Worse?

Exposure to loud noises, stress, caffeine, alcohol, smoking, quiet environments, and certain medications can worsen tinnitus symptoms. The condition can also become worse if left untreated, especially if it’s due to an inner ear issue, or underlying disease.

What are the Risks of Leaving Tinnitus Untreated?

Tinnitus could be due to a serious health concern. If left untreated, it could potentially lead to:

  • Increased risk of developing or worsening hearing loss over time
  • Impaired communication abilities, leading to social withdrawal and isolation
  • Interference with concentration, sleep patterns, and overall quality of life
  • Exacerbation of stress, anxiety, and depression due to persistent symptoms
  • Potential for negative impact on cognitive function and mental well-being
Which Factors Cause Hearing Loss?

The potential causes of hearing loss are similar to what can cause tinnitus. Hearing loss can develop at any point in life, impacting one or both ears. Factors such as aging and acquired conditions contribute to its onset. Specific causes include:

  • Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis)
  • Noise-induced hearing loss (from headphones or working at loud jobs, such as construction)
  • Earwax blockage
  • Ear infection
  • Genetics
  • Head injury or trauma
  • Ototoxic medications (drugs that damage hearing)
  • Chronic diseases (such as diabetes or hypertension)
  • Meniere's disease
  • Tumors (acoustic neuroma)
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Malformation of the inner ear
  • Viral or bacterial infections (such as meningitis)
  • Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Ear injuries or perforated eardrum
  • Ear canal obstructions (such as foreign objects)
  • Radiation therapy to the head or neck
  • Neurological conditions (such as multiple sclerosis)

OTC Hearing Aids For Perceived Mild To Moderate Hearing Loss

Many people with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss have found it beneficial to wear hearing aids that are OTC, as they can be a great solution for improving hearing. These FDA-regulated devices don't need a prescription, hearing exam, or doctor's appointment. You can try them in the comfort of your home, and you can adjust the volume to suit your specific needs. With Nano OTC hearing aids, you simply pick the best dome size for your ears, turn them on, and put them in. Keep in mind it might take several days or weeks for your ears and brain to get used to them, which is why Nano OTC Hearing Aids comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee and free 24/7 lifetime support.

Shop Nano OTC Hearing Aids

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