In the US, tinnitus affects 20 percent of the total population, and hearing loss is present in 90 percent of those cases.
With such a strong connection between tinnitus and hearing loss, you would assume that people would be much more likely to seek treatment for one or both conditions.
But in fact we find the exact opposite. Among those who skip treatment for hearing loss, 39 percent (9 million people) do so because they believe nothing can be done about their tinnitus.
That’s 9 million people that are suffering needlessly when a treatment plan is available that could both enhance hearing and alleviate tinnitus at the same time.
That treatment is the professional fitting of hearing aids.
In a recent survey of hearing health experts, it was discovered that 60 percent of patients confirmed some measure of tinnitus relief when wearing hearing aids, while 22 percent reported substantial relief.
Based on these figures, if the 9 million who have abandoned tinnitus used hearing aids, 5.4 million would realize some extent of relief and about 2 million would enjoy significant relief.
But how do hearing aids reduce the intensity 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 trigger the perception of sound when no external sound source is present.
It’s this subjective character that makes tinnitus so hard to diagnose and treat, and why prescription drugs or surgical procedures generally have little to no impact. There’s simply no physical tissue to repair or chemistry to modify.
But there is a way to reach the perception of sound, a way to help the brain adapt or reverse its reaction to diminished sound stimulation.
With the help of hearing aids, amplified sound can help readjust the brain to standard levels of sound stimulation and in the process offer a masking effect for the sounds of tinnitus.
For people with hearing loss, tinnitus is more noticeable because the tinnitus is louder compared to the volume of external sound. By turning up the volume on external sound, tinnitus can fade into the background.
In addition, some hearing aids can deliver sound therapy directly to the individual, which can be personalized for each person.
Hearing aids, in combination with sound and behavioral therapy, are currently the best tinnitus options available. Many patients report some amount of relief and many patients report substantial relief.
Are you ready to give hearing aids a try? Schedule an appointment today!