In the United States, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) affects 20 percent of the entire population, and hearing loss is present in 90 percent of those cases.
With such a substantial connection between tinnitus and hearing loss, you would think that people would be more likely to seek treatment for one or both ailments.
But believe it or not we find the opposite. Among those who bypass treatment for hearing loss, 39 percent (9 million people) do so because they believe that nothing can be done about their tinnitus.
That’s 9 million people that are suffering needlessly when a treatment method exists that could both boost hearing and relieve tinnitus at the same time.
That treatment is the professional fitting of hearing aids.
In a recent survey of hearing health professionals, it was discovered that 60 percent of patients confirmed some measure of tinnitus relief when using hearing aids, while 22 percent claimed significant relief.
Based on these numbers, if the 9 million who have abandoned tinnitus used hearing aids, 5.4 million would achieve some extent of alleviation and about 2 million would achieve substantial relief.
But how do hearing aids mitigate the severity of tinnitus?
The scientific consensus is that hearing loss leads to diminished sound stimulation reaching the brain. In response, the brain goes through maladaptive neurological changes that generate the perception of sound when no external sound is present.
It’s this very subjective feature that renders tinnitus so hard to diagnose and treat, and why medications or surgical procedures typically have little effect. There’s simply no physical structure to repair or chemistry to influence.
But there is a way to reach the perception of sound, a way to help the brain adapt or reverse its response to depleted sound stimulation.
With the help of hearing aids, amplified sound can help readjust the brain to normal levels of sound stimulation and concurrently offer a masking effect for the sounds of tinnitus.
For people with hearing loss, tinnitus is more disturbing because the tinnitus is louder compared to the volume of external sound. By turning up the volume on external sound, tinnitus can disappear into the background.
In addition, some hearing aids can furnish sound therapy directly to the user, which can be personalized for each person.
Hearing aids, coupled with sound and behavioral therapy, are presently the best tinnitus options available. Most patients describe some level of relief and many patients report significant relief.
Are you ready to give hearing aids a try? Schedule an appointment today!