Can Hearing Aids Help Treat Tinnitus?

If you’re on a BART train with nine other people, first of all, congratulations: this clearly isn’t rush hour! Look to your left, and now to your right. According to the law of averages, two of you are experiencing tinnitus, a ringing in the ears. If you wear hearing aids – and as long as we’re playing the odds game, that’s a pretty good likelihood, too – you’ve got a great way to silence your distraction.

The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Woman with steam coming out of her ears

Tinnitus isn’t a disease; it’s actually a symptom of another underlying medical condition. Practically everything that can cause hearing loss might also also cause tinnitus; the most common culprits include aging, noise exposure, and medications whose side effects can lead to hearing damage. Is it any wonder so many individuals with hearing loss also experience tinnitus? As unfair as this seems, the news isn’t all bad – your hearing aids can actually serve a dual purpose. They’ll amplify sounds in the environment to help you hear better and communicate more effectively and can also help you manage tinnitus. Statistics bear this out:

  • 8 percent of hearing aid users report a moderate to substantial reduction in their tinnitus when using hearing aids.
  • Two out of three people find relief from tinnitus when wearing hearing aids most or all of the time, and 29 percent state that using hearing aids relieves their tinnitus all of the time.

Hearing Aids: An Effective Tinnitus Management Tool

Hearing aids can be used to manage tinnitus in several ways:

  • Wearing hearing aids reduces the cognitive burden involved in the listening process. This decreases stress, a factor that can worsen tinnitus symptoms.
  • Turning up the volume on your hearing aids amplifies background noise, helping to cover up the tinnitus. This allows your brain to focus instead on ambient noises. It is particularly beneficial for patients whose tinnitus occurs at the same frequency as their hearing loss.
  • Boosting the volume level on their hearing aids also helps individuals follow conversations, watch TV, and listen to music more easily while drowning out the sounds of tinnitus.

For those with both hearing loss and tinnitus in San Rafael, hearing aids just might be a one-size-fits-both solution. For more information, talk to your Bay Area audiologist today!