What is Tinnitus?
Effective Tinnitus Treatment
Fortunately, 80% of patients who have ringing and wear hearing instruments indicate a significant reduction in the sensation while wearing the devices. 15% of patients indicate that the hearing instruments made noticeable reductions to the ringing sensation, while 5% say there was no measurable benefit. So the vast majority of hearing instrument wearers enjoyed the reduced ringing sensation by wearing their hearing aids daily.
In 2012, several manufacturers introduced hearing aids that present sounds a patient cannot hear while wearing the devices that trick the brain not to hear the ringing. These new hearing aids mask over the ringing sensation. After months of wearing the devices, many patients exclaim they do not even notice the ringing sensation when the hearing aids are removed from their ears. It’s a wonderful benefit you may experience from simply wearing hearing aids.
Many people benefit from simply being fitted with a hearing aid, while others with more severe symptoms may require acoustic therapy, such as partial or total masking of tinnitus sounds with an alternative sound. The Binax hearing aid line by Siemens features an effective tinnitus therapy program, complete with many different therapy sounds—each one carefully designed to divert attention from the annoying effects of tinnitus and make it easier to focus on external sounds and avoid strain and fatigue. The Signia Primax is another hearing aid on the market with a sophisticated tinnitus masking program, featuring five static noise types and four ocean wave signals.
What are the symptoms of tinnitus?
Tinnitus is most often described as a ringing in one or both ears, but sounds can also be perceived as static, humming, whistling, buzzing, grinding or hissing. As no one else can hear the sounds (except in very rare cases), tinnitus is a very unique and personal condition to each person experiencing it. It is a symptom, most commonly of hearing loss, rather than a disease—and it is rarely a sign of a serious underlying condition. Some people hear noises that are constant and steady, while for others they may pulsate or be more intermittent. Many of those who experience tinnitus find that it is relatively mild and gradually improves over time. However, severe cases of this condition can sometimes disrupt sleep, concentration, and the enjoyment of everyday activities.
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus is strongly associated with hearing loss, and can develop gradually over time or quite suddenly. Repeated or prolonged exposure to loud noises can cause damage to hair cells in the inner ear and make it difficult or impossible to hear certain sound frequencies. As the brain tries to compensate for this hearing loss, neurons react by creating the illusion of sound to make up for those missing frequencies. Therefore, if hearing loss is in the high-frequency range, a person may hear a high sound such a whistle, and low-frequency hearing loss will result in a lower sound, such as a roar. Tinnitus may also be caused by medications that are toxic to the ear, and discontinuing the use of those medications may bring relief. In some cases, the cause is as simple and treatable as an earwax build-up, which can cause vibrations and pressure in the inner ear.