Are you one of the millions of people around the world who suffer from ringing in the ears? This condition, known as tinnitus, is one of the most common health conditions in the world. It is said to affect between 10 and 15% of people globally, and affecting more men than women. You may be wondering about a solution to help alleviate the constant ringing, buzzing or humming sounds. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for tinnitus. However, there are several treatments available that can help manage the symptoms. The question is, can a hearing aid stop tinnitus?
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition characterised by ringing, buzzing, hissing, or humming sounds in the ears that are not caused by any external source. Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of factors, such as exposure to loud noise, ear infections, and age-related hearing loss. There are 2 types of tinnitus:
Subjective tinnitus: This is the most common variety of tinnitus, where only you can hear the noise. The noise may sound like the sounds of crickets, roaring, buzzing, hissing, whistling and high-pitched ringing.
Objective tinnitus: This is a less common form of tinnitus (less than 5%) where the noise may be heard by the doctor as well.
Older people or those who had a significant exposure to loud noises are especially at risk of developing tinnitus. However, it is a condition that can affect people of any age and background. There are a number of reasons why a person may develop tinnitus:
- Exposure to loud noise.
- Taking certain medications that could cause tinnitus as a side effect.
- Suffering from age-related hearing loss.
- Suffering an injury to the ears, neck or head.
- Suffering from neurological disorders.
- Suffering from degeneration of bones in the middle ear.
- Suffering upper respiratory infections or jaw popping joint (TMJ).
Tinnitus Treatment / Management
Normally there is no need to treat tinnitus, but for those who are very bothered by the condition, there are some treatment or management options available, depending on the underlying cause:
Relaxation exercises. These can help you to control muscle groups and circulation throughout the body. The intensity of tinnitus in some individuals may be reduced.
Masking of the noise. This treatment uses a competing sound at a constant low level, such as white noise or some other soothing sounds to make the noise from tinnitus less noticeable.
Medications. Certain medications may improve cochlea blood circulation.
Can A Hearing Aid Stop Tinnitus?
Going back to the question on whether can a hearing aid stop tinnitus, the short answer is no. Tinnitus cannot be cured by a hearing aid. However, a hearing aid can help manage the symptoms of tinnitus.
Hearing aids work by amplifying sounds and making them louder. This helps people with hearing loss hear better and can also help mask the sound of tinnitus. Many modern hearing aids also come with additional features that can help with tinnitus management, such as white noise or other sound therapy programs. However, it’s essential to note that not all hearing aids are created equal. Some basic models of hearing aids may not have access to these advanced programmes that can help reduce tinnitus symptoms, such as sound therapy, which can help manage the symptoms of tinnitus.
Generally, you may wish to make your hearing aid purchasing decisions based on considerations such as the clarity of the amplified sounds and other ease-of-use features, and price. For the majority of people, the availability tinnitus management features in hearing aids might be better seen as a secondary consideration. If tinnitus management is important to you, be sure to specifically ask your audiologist for a recommendation that includes this feature.
Further Reading On Hearing Aids That Might Interest You
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This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.