In the United States, tinnitus affects 20 percent of the total population, and hearing loss exists in 90 percent of the cases.
With such a strong relationship between hearing loss and tinnitus, you would think people would be more likely to seek out treatment for one or both conditions.
But believe it or not we find the exact opposite. Of those who bypass treatment for hearing loss, 39 percent (9 million people) do so because they feel that nothing can be done about their tinnitus.
That’s 9 million people that are suffering needlessly when a treatment method is available that could both improve hearing and relieve tinnitus concurrently.
That treatment is the professional fitting of hearing aids.
In a recent survey of hearing health specialists, it was found that 60 percent of patients confirmed some measure of tinnitus relief when utilizing hearing aids, while 22 percent reported substantial relief.
Based on these numbers, if the 9 million who have given up on tinnitus utilized hearing aids, 5.4 million would achieve some extent of alleviation and about 2 million would attain significant relief.
But how do hearing aids reduce the intensity of tinnitus?
The scientific consensus is that hearing loss triggers decreased sound stimulation reaching the brain. In response, the brain undergoes maladaptive neurological changes that trigger the perception of sound when no exterior sound source is present.
It’s this personal feature that makes tinnitus so perplexing to diagnose and treat, and why medications or surgical procedures tend to have little effect. There’s simply no physical tissue to repair or chemistry to alter.
But there is a way to reach the perception of sound, a way to help the brain adjust or reverse its reaction to reduced sound stimulation.
With hearing aids, amplified sound can help readjust the brain to regular levels of sound stimulation and concurrently provide a masking effect for the sounds of tinnitus.
For patients with hearing loss, tinnitus is more disturbing because the tinnitus is louder relative 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 tailored for each patient.
Hearing aids, combined with sound and behavioral therapy, are right now the best tinnitus options available. Many patients report some extent of relief and many patients report substantial relief.
Are you ready to give hearing aids a try? Schedule an appointment today!