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Posted on Monday, October 01, 2012

Manage Tinnitus with a Hearing Aid

A hearing aid like this one can help mask tinnitus symptoms.

The buzzing, clicking, and whining sounds associated with tinnitus may be related to hearing loss and a reintroduction of sound through a hearing aid is just one of the ways a hearing aid can help to manage symptoms.

Tinnitus isn't the same for everyone. It has been described by people as a nagging buzzing, whistling, whining, or screeching noise in head or ears. The "loudness" of this noise, which has no actual sound source, can be high or low, constant or it can come and go. Some tinnitus sufferers describe the noise as being as piercing and sharp as the signal used in the emergency broadcast system.

The notion of using hearing aids to combat tinnitus is widely accepted.

There is currently no cure for tinnitus, but using a hearing aid has been shown to help. The reintroduction of sound through a hearing aid helps to masks the annoying noises of tinnitus, as well as making it easier for people to hear. Hearing aids cover the phantom noise of tinnitus, so patients tend to notice it less. Today there are many discreet styles of hearing aids that can help with managing tinnitus, but there are also hearing aids that have been designed specifically with settings to help relieve tinnitus.

Some of today's hearing aids are designed with features specifically focused on helping to mask symptoms of tinnitus.

Not only do hearing aids increase an ability to hear which distracts from tinnitus, but some hearing aids even have built in programs for dealing with the annoying noises of tinnitus. Widex's Menu is equipped with Relax ZEN a patented fractal based technology that generates soothing sounds to aid in relaxation and relief from tinnitus. Widex makes other hearing aids with this helpful program including Mind, available in various styles and price ranges. The presence of sound seems to distract from the sound of tinnitus, but it has also been suggested that it can help to heal tinnitus.

Some research suggests that tinnitus comes from the brain misfiring due to hearing loss, so delivering sound through a hearing aid to overcome the phantom noise of tinnitus can also help retrain the brain.

Tinnitus might be the result of the brain misfiring due to hearing loss

A study reported on in an article on Medical Hear-it states, “tinnitus is not only the effect of obstruction or damage in the ear, but the result of the brain unsuccessfully trying to repair itself.” The theory that is beginning to emerge is that replacing the false sound with real sound retrains the brain and brings relief. It is thought stimulating auditory regions stops misfires that result in phantom noise.

Prior studies have shown hearing aids can reinvigorating parts of the brain and can help relieve stress by making it easier to communicate, but tinnitus isn't only the result of hearing loss. Tinnitus can also come from ototoxicity, poor nutrition, and can be a symptom of Meniere’s disease or Acoustic Neuroma, so it’s important to visit an audiologist to uncover the cause of tinnitus and get the best personalized treatment.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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