Hearing Aids for Tinnitus: How Do Hearing Aids Help to Reduce Tinnitus?Published On: 21st March 2019
Last Updated On: 22nd March 2019
As we get older there’s a lot of stuff that starts to change, hearing is one just one of those things. Tinnitus affects a lot of people, the CDC estimates around 15 percent of people suffer from it.
The older you get the more likely you are to have it, once you turn 65 that percentage goes up to 27 percent. This is because tinnitus tends to be connected to hearing loss.
It’s different for everyone, it’s important when trying to reduce the symptoms of tinnitus you figure out what is triggering yours. There’s technically still no cure for it but hearing aids for tinnitus have been proven to help.
You can actually find hearing aids that are specifically made to help deal with your tinnitus. As you can imagine, since they are specially made for people with tinnitus they help get rid of the ringing or buzzing better than regular hearing aids. Keep reading to learn more about hearing aid for tinnitus.
What Exactly Causes Tinnitus?
While we’re still not sure the exact cause of tinnitus, researchers have narrowed it down to a few different causes. One thing the people who have it can attest to is that tinnitus is a constant source of annoyment and it can really affect their quality of life.
For most people, it manifests as a buzzing, ringing, whistling or high pitched noise in their ears. The persistent noise can be annoying and affect how you interact with the world.
In reality, his noise isn’t really a noise at all. The theory is that the sensation of noise comes from nerves that are overactive and your brain perceives this them as one or more of the noises mentioned above.
This phantom noise is also thought to come from your ears losing the ability to hear certain frequencies as you get older.
You can hear this noise in one or both ears. Researchers think this happens because tinnitus is directly linked to hearing loss. Since most people lose hearing at a different rate in each ear, sometimes the ringing will be more persistent in one ear.
We should also mention that it’s not always one or the other that some people hear it differently on different days. Tinnitus can also be caused by a blockage in your ear, for instance from a big wax build up or by injury to your eardrums and stress. Which might explain why the way the symptoms appear can change.
The common thread between all of these known causes is that there is something wrong that the brain can’t fix by itself. This is where hearing aids for tinnitus come in handy.
If you leave your Tinnitus unchecked, it can cause other issues such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. It might start to feel like it’s better to isolate yourself instead of struggling to explain what’s wrong. It doesn’t have to be that way.
While we still don’t understand the exact cause and correlation of tinnitus, science has gotten closer to finding ways to treat and reduce the symptoms.
The working theory is that we can lessen the impact of tinnitus by replacing the sound with something else. To figure out if this is an option for you, you should speak with an audiologist and see if hearing loss is present.
Make Your Background Noise Louder
Since the cause of the ringing or buzzing noises is linked to hearing loss, one of the most obvious ways hearing aids work for tinnitus is by adding noise.
The hearing aids help to amplify the noise in the background of your day to day activities and, in theory, will drown out the perceived noise.
In some cases doing this won’t actually make the noise go away, but it will still give you relief by making it less noticeable. This is why, even if the hearing aid isn’t specifically for tinnitus, it can still help lessen the symptoms of it.
Making the background noise can be more helpful for those people who have tinnitus simply due to a lack of sound. These cases are the ones that aren’t due to damage, here it’s due to just hearing loss. This happens because sometimes your brain creates the noise to balance out the lack of ambient noises.
Stop Tinnitus From Interfering with Life
One thing people find the most bothersome is that tinnitus interferes with having a regular life. It’s hard to focus on anything when you have this persistent buzzing in your ear. If you can’t focus them a lot of everyday things become harder to do.
Just having a conversation with a loved one can feel tedious. You can’t really focus on the conversation while there seems to be a noise blocking out part of it. Using a hearing aid for tinnitus can help give you those pieces of your life back.
Studies show that the amplification of background noise, music, and voices can help wake up parts of your brain. It does that while also relieving some of the stress and anxiety caused by not being able to hear the people in your life.
For some people, just giving them the ability to clearly hear something else other than the buzzing is a huge relief. If the hearing aids help the other noises drown out the buzzing, you will be able to focus more on what’s going on.
Instead of the buzzing being at the forefront of your thoughts, it could be your grandkids stories, or your music while you relax alone. Giving your brain something else to focus on can help retrain it to ignore the perceived noise.
Hearing Aids for Tinnitus use White Noise
There is a tread of thought that if we stimulate the auditory parts of the brain that the misinterpretations will stop happening. This is considered sound therapy.
This is normally one of the first things that doctors will try when combatting tinnitus. It’s still unclear if sound therapy just masks the symptoms or if it actually helps to heal the damage that’s been done to your ear. It’s still relatively new, but regardless of how, we know that it does help those who have tinnitus.
There are hearing aids that are specifically made to help with sound therapy. These hearing aids have programs that play low levels of white noise to help counter the noises caused by tinnitus.
By playing the white noise the hearing aids add in a frequency which helps combat or stop the noise from the misfirings.
Even people with perfect hearing tend to hear the same noises attributed to tinnitus in complete silence. The white noise helps to mimic the soft tones that surround us in everyday life that we don’t even notice when our hearing is working the way it should be.
While sound therapy is greatly attributed to distraction, its also thought to help retain your brain. This is why sound therapy is often used in conjunction with other treatments, such as medications and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Although, if you choose to just get hearing aids for tinnitus it should still reduce your symptoms without added treatments.
The more advanced technology gets the better the hearing aids get as well. A more recent development is hearing aids that connect to smartphones. While not everyone who needs hearing aids is comfortable operating the app store, it can be an effective tool for those who do know how.
In the apps, you can play around with the levels of white noise that the hearing aids permit. That way you can adjust it to be perfect for you and change the volume based on the different social settings you are in. If you are in a noisier environment you might need less white noise than you would if you were home just watching tv.
Other Things That Can Help Tinnitus
Most professionals will say that sound therapy is the best thing you can do to help your tinnitus, but there are other things that you can do to give yourself more of a boost. By cutting out some harmful habits you can aid your sound theory.
You want to limit anything that restricts your blood flow, smoking is a big cause of this. Whether it’s cigarettes, hooka or other substances that contain tobacco, you’re going to want to cut it out of your daily routine.
Anything that stimulates your system will also make your systems worse. Tobacco also falls into the category. So does coffee, energy drinks and anything with caffeine.
While it’s not always realistic to completely cut caffeine out of your diet, you want to limit your intake as much a possible. So, instead of two cups of coffee while you read the paper, maybe try one regular and one decaf. The more caffeine you can cut out the better.
Poor diet has also been linked to making tinnitus worse. If you have the ability to see a nutritionist then you should. Although, if you can’t that does not mean you’re out of luck. You just to make an effort to make better food choices. Try to eat well-rounded meals and stay away from trans fats.
Things to Add to Your Routine
Yes, there are a lot of things that you need to stay away from to help your symptoms, but there are a few things you can add to your day to day as well.
Alleviating stress can help a lot. While being able to hear your loved ones and your surroundings should help a lot there are other methods to try too.
A lot of people have found that meditation or yoga can work well along with sound therapy. This isn’t advised without sound therapy because they both revolve around quite atmospheres, which can cause more misfires without the white noise from the hearing aids to balance it out.
Exercising can also help to relieve stress. whether that’s a fast walk, jog or water aerobics it can help reduce stress and put you in a better mood.
For simple causes of tinnitus, like the ones caused by a build-up of was in your ear. Something like ear candles can help get rid of stubborn ear wax that regular q-tips can’t get to.
Get Your Hearing Aids
There are a lot of benefits from getting hearing aids made for people with tinnitus, we’ve only gone over a few of those here.
Since tinnitus is linked to loss of hearing, just getting hearing aids can help ease your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
No one likes being cut off from their friends and family, imagine sitting at the next holiday gathering and being able to hear the conversation at the table and the grandkids laughing in the background. Now combine that with the relief of not hearing the buzzing in your ears.
Tinnitus is different for everyone, whether its loss of hearing or damage to your eardrum you don’t have to live with the constant noise.
Regardless of if the sound therapy works to distract you and retrains your brain, or actually heals the damage, it can help you live a better life. As the technology advances so will the hearing aids.
You might have a pair right now that don’t necessarily help with your tinnitus, but a newer pair can. You can look through our reviews to get a better idea of what is out there.
You might be surprised by what a difference a hearing aid for tinnitus can make in your life.