Hearing loss and tinnitus often go hand-in-hand, meaning some people with tinnitus may also have hearing loss. Tinnitus affects all people differently and may range from annoying at best to life-altering at worst. Many sufferers have been looking for treatment since their symptoms began to no avail— could hearing aids be one possible treatment?
This article explains what tinnitus is, what may cause it, and explores whether hearing aids may improve it. For personalized advice, contact our team at Tweak Hearing today.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is often described as background noise, most often a ringing sound. It can also sound like roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing. Regardless of the sound, tinnitus may be quiet or loud and affect one or both ears.
People with tinnitus often report that it interferes with every aspect of their life as it is usually a constant background noise that cannot be turned off, and therefore accompanies them throughout their days.
What Can Cause Tinnitus?
In many cases, tinnitus doesn’t appear to have a single trigger. Possible causes of tinnitus include:
- Excess earwax
- Noise-induced hearing loss
- Medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Ear infections
- Sinus infections
- Hormonal changes
- Thyroid disorders
- Meniere’s disease
How Common Is Tinnitus?
Around 10% of Americans experienced tinnitus at some point in the year to February 2022, making it a fairly common phenomenon. However, while for some people it may occur once or twice throughout their life, for others it is much more frequent or even constant.
People of all ages can experience tinnitus. According to a study conducted between 2005 and 2008, 2.5 million people aged from 12 to 19 years have experienced ringing in the ears. However, tinnitus is especially common in older adults.
Can Hearing Aids Improve Tinnitus?
Hearing aids weren’t developed or designed as a treatment for tinnitus, but they may be able to assist in masking its symptoms. This is likely because hearing aids work to increase background noise, therefore masking the ringing (or other) sound that tinnitus causes.
A group of researchers analyzed 28 articles in 2021 and found that hearing aids improved tinnitus in 68% of people. However, 14% showed no change in symptoms.
How Hearing Aids May Help Tinnitus
Hearing aids may help people with tinnitus as they may:
- Restore Auditory Stimulation To The Brain
Hearing loss can cause certain nerve cells to become hyperactive, which people may interpret as hearing a sound.
- Allow You To Hear Background Noises
As tinnitus doesn’t come from an external source, many people find that covering it with an external source may help. Hearing aids help to restore quiet background noises and increase environmental background sounds that others may not even notice, such as leaves rustling in the wind or a gentle breeze as you walk down the street.
- Help Reduce Stress
Stress is something we’re all familiar with, and it can be caused by so many different facets of our lives: Work, family, relationships, money, and so on. Additionally, not being able to hear and communicate clearly can be stressful on its own. Stress may make tinnitus worse, so in cases where the sound in your ears is causing even more stress in your life, hearing aids may be able to help.
- Contain Useful Features
Many hearing aids today come with additional features such as noise masking abilities. These are typically sounds like white noise such as the sound of a fan, rushing water, or rain. Using a feature like this may help somebody with tinnitus cope with it and possibly even forget about it for a period of time, which in turn may help to reduce stress.
Shop For Hearing Aids Today
While tinnitus doesn’t have a cure, there are ways to limit its interference with your life. One of these ways is through using hearing aids, whether you have other hearing difficulties accompanying it or not. At Tweak Hearing, we offer a wide range of hearing devices to help you live your life the way you’d like to. Visit our online store to browse our range today.