In the US, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) affects 20 percent of the total population, and hearing loss is present in 90 percent of those cases.
With such a deep connection between hearing loss and tinnitus, you would think people would be more inclined to seek treatment for one or both conditions.
But believe it or not we find the opposite. Of those who avoid treatment for hearing loss, 39 percent (9 million people) do so because they are convinced nothing can be done about their tinnitus.
That’s 9 million people that are suffering needlessly when a treatment plan exists that could both improve hearing and relieve tinnitus concurrently.
That treatment method is the professional fitting of hearing aids.
In a recent survey of hearing health experts, it was found that 60 percent of patients reported some measure of tinnitus relief when wearing hearing aids, while 22 percent claimed considerable relief.
Based on these numbers, if the 9 million who have given up on tinnitus used hearing aids, 5.4 million would realize some extent of alleviation and about 2 million would attain significant relief.
But how do hearing aids actually mitigate the severity of tinnitus?
The scientific consensus is that hearing loss results in reduced sound stimulation reaching the brain. In response, the brain goes through maladaptive neurological changes that produce the perception of sound when no external sound is present.
It’s this very subjective character that makes tinnitus so challenging to diagnose and treat, and why medications or surgical procedures tend to have little to no impact. There’s simply no physical structure to repair or chemistry to alter.
But there is a way to reach the perception of sound, a way to help the brain adjust or reverse its reaction to reduced sound stimulation.
With hearing aids, amplified sound can help readjust the brain to regular levels of sound stimulation and concurrently supply a masking effect for the sounds of tinnitus.
For patients with hearing loss, tinnitus is more disturbing because the tinnitus is louder relative to the volume of exterior sound. By turning up the volume on external sound, tinnitus can fade into the background.
Additionally, some hearing aids can furnish sound therapy directly to the user, which can be tailored for each patient.
Hearing aids, in combination with sound and behavioral therapy, are currently the best tinnitus treatment options available. Most patients describe some extent of relief and many patients report significant relief.
Are you ready to give hearing aids a try? Arrange a consultation today!