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 strong connection between tinnitus and hearing loss, you would think people would be much more likely to seek out treatment for one or both ailments.
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 believe nothing can be done about their tinnitus.
That’s 9 million people that are suffering unnecessarily when a treatment plan is available that could both enhance hearing and alleviate tinnitus simultaneously.
That treatment method is the professional fitting of hearing aids.
In a recent survey of hearing health experts, it was discovered that 60 percent of patients reported some degree of tinnitus relief when using hearing aids, while 22 percent claimed substantial relief.
Based on these numbers, if the 9 million who have given up on tinnitus used hearing aids, 5.4 million would obtain some degree of relief and about 2 million would enjoy substantial relief.
But how do hearing aids actually mitigate the severity of tinnitus?
The scientific consensus is that hearing loss leads to decreased sound stimulation reaching the brain. In response, the brain goes through maladaptive neurological changes that generate the perception of sound when no exterior sound source is present.
It’s this personal feature that renders tinnitus so hard to diagnose and treat, and why prescription drugs or surgical procedures generally have little impact. There’s simply no physical structure to repair or chemistry to alter.
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 regular levels of sound stimulation and simultaneously supply a masking effect for the sounds of tinnitus.
For people with hearing loss, tinnitus is more noticeable because the tinnitus is louder relative 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 furnish sound therapy directly to the user, which can be customized for each patient.
Hearing aids, coupled with sound and behavioral therapy, are presently the best tinnitus treatment options available. Most patients report some degree of relief and many patients report significant relief.
Are you ready to give hearing aids a try? Arrange an appointment today!