In recognition of February as Tinnitus Awareness Month, I wanted to answer a frequent question we receive in our hearing center. People regularly reach out to us to determine whether hearing aids will stop the ringing in their ears.
The good news is my colleagues, and I have an encouraging answer for anyone living with tinnitus. Although tinnitus doesn’t have a cure, managing the condition with hearing aids may improve your quality of life.
This condition is better known as ringing in the ears. A person with tinnitus hears sounds that don’t exist in the external environment. In other words, the person with the condition is the only one who hears these sounds.
What they hear may sound like ringing, buzzing, whistling, or clicking. It can be quite a frustrating condition accompanied by anxiety, stress, and social isolation.
Everyone does not experience tinnitus in the same way. For some, it’s a temporary condition. However, tinnitus is a chronic nightmare for many. While there are people whose ears ring occasionally, it’s common to have constant ringing in the ears.
Tinnitus and Hearing Loss Tend to Be a Couple
Although someone who doesn’t have trouble hearing can develop tinnitus, most people with the condition also have hearing loss. When we consider the brain’s role in hearing, it’s easy to understand why tinnitus and hearing loss often present together.
Our ears detect sound, but it’s the brain that interprets the sound and makes it meaningful for us. When someone has difficulty hearing, the brain doesn’t receive all the auditory signals that it should.
The resulting changes in the brain’s activity create the annoying illusion of sound in the ear.
Treating Hearing Loss Helps
Using hearing aids to treat hearing loss can also relieve tinnitus symptoms. Untreated hearing loss tends to make you more aware of your tinnitus. Your brain has fewer sounds to process, making you more aware of the ringing in your ears.
When you start using hearing aids, your brain begins relearning to process the sounds in the environment you haven’t been able to hear for a long time.
Eventually, your brain gives more attention to the sounds in the environment that you want to hear. In turn, your brain gives less attention to the ringing in your ears.
Hearing Aids Can Provide Beneficial Sound Therapy
Many of today’s hearing aids have a feature called sound therapy or tinnitus therapy. This feature plays a sound like ocean waves, quiet music, or white noise to take your brain’s attention away from ringing in the ears.
With some devices, the sound therapy feature has multiple options, allowing the audiologist to adjust the feature and provide the patient with a custom treatment.
Getting Relief from Tinnitus Symptoms Is Possible
If you or a loved one suffers from annoying tinnitus symptoms, it’s time to silence the noise. Please don’t wait any longer. Get in touch with our team today to schedule a consultation to see how we can help.