Will hearing aids help my tinnitus (ringing in the ears)?
“Can you hear that ringing?”
You’re not imagining things and you are definitely not alone! Up to 20% of Australians experience tinnitus, a sensation of internal noise when no external sound is present. It is most often described as a ringing, humming, buzzing or whistling. While tinnitus is not a disorder itself, it is an indication of something amiss in the hearing system – somewhere between the ears and brain something is not right.
For most people, tinnitus does not greatly affect their lives in any physical way, but can have extensive psychological effects. Annoyance or irritation at constant noise can increase stress levels, trouble falling asleep from intrusive noise can lead to sleep disturbances and the noise can be a distraction from tasks, especially where it is a new phenomenon.
When tinnitus is a new symptom, it’s a good idea to be assessed by a qualified independent audiologist to rule out any significant medical causes. Sometimes it will be temporary – such as a build-up of wax or following exposure to extremely loud noises (concerts are a common culprit!) – but sometimes it will be permanent or associated with another medical condition, such as Meniere’s disease.
If the tinnitus is likely to be permanent, the focus will be on managing the condition, rather than any specific treatment. Your audiologist may advise you to avoid excessive noise, cease certain medications (only under medical supervision, of course) or stimulants (coffee can worsen tinnitus in some people), or practice stress management techniques that focus on diverting attention away from the tinnitus.
Where simple management techniques are not enough, you may need more assistance. One way is through the use of hearing aids that have a special program designed to mask or balance the internal sounds you perceive. A properly fine-tuned hearing aid will reduce the strain of trying to listen over the sound of internal ringing and can amplify external sounds that compete with the internal noise.
While tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, this is not always the case. An experienced audiologist will be able to assess your hearing and discuss the impact that tinnitus is having in your life. A simple hearing aid can make a tremendous difference in reducing the negative impact of tinnitus, regardless of whether you have any hearing loss at all.
About Sounds of Life
Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist. We offer affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands including Siemens, Signia, Phonak, Starkey, Unitron, Resound, Bernafon, Oticon and Sonic Innovations.
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