In the United States, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) affects 20 percent of the total population, and hearing loss is present in 90 percent of those cases.
With such a substantial relationship between tinnitus and hearing loss, you would think people would be much more likely to seek treatment for one or both ailments.
But believe it or not we find the reverse. Of those who bypass treatment for hearing loss, 39 percent (9 million people) do so because they think that nothing can be done about their tinnitus.
That’s 9 million people that are suffering unnecessarily when a treatment exists that could both improve hearing and relieve tinnitus at the same time.
That treatment method is the professional fitting of hearing aids.
In a recent survey of hearing health experts, it was found that 60 percent of patients reported some level of tinnitus relief when wearing hearing aids, while 22 percent reported considerable relief.
Based on these percentages, if the 9 million who have given up on tinnitus utilized hearing aids, 5.4 million would attain some amount of relief and about 2 million would enjoy significant relief.
But how do hearing aids minimize the severity of tinnitus?
The scientific agreement is that hearing loss brings about decreased sound stimulation reaching the brain. In reaction, 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 makes tinnitus so perplexing to diagnose and treat, and why prescription drugs or surgical procedures tend to have little impact. There’s simply no physical tissue 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 decreased sound stimulation.
With the help of hearing aids, amplified sound can help readjust the brain to healthy levels of sound stimulation and simultaneously supply a masking effect for the sounds of tinnitus.
For people with hearing loss, tinnitus is more disturbing because the tinnitus is louder relative to the volume of exterior sound. By turning up the volume on external sound, tinnitus can vanish into the background.
Furthermore, some hearing aids can deliver sound therapy directly to the user, which can be tailored for each patient.
Hearing aids, combined with sound and behavioral therapy, are at this time the best tinnitus treatment options available. Many patients describe some amount of relief and many patients report substantial relief.
Are you ready to give hearing aids a chance? Arrange an appointment today!