The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over 45 million Americans experience symptoms of tinnitus. This can include ringing, buzzing, whooshing and similar other sounds they can hear when there is no noise actually present. Tinnitus ranges in its severity. For some it may be a burden and for others, it can be debilitating. 

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is an audiological and neurological condition that gives a person the perception of sound when no actual sound is present. Most people refer to tinnitus as ringing in the ears. While tinnitus may start as simple ringing, buzzing or whooshing noises it has the potential to develop into a serious condition. Tinnitus can be both a temporary and chronic condition. 

Tinnitus is a very common health issue in the USA, with 15% of the population dealing with some variation of tinnitus. The head or ear noises the patient hears most likely stems from a neurological or auditory reaction to hearing loss. This can be caused by various factors including:

  • Aging
  • Frequent exposure to loud noises
  • Sudden extremely loud noise
  • Ear injury or trauma
  • Stress
  • Medications

How can hearing aids help with tinnitus?

Hearing aids can provide you with subtle amplifying background sounds that helps your brain re-focus onto sounds that you want to listen to. This can help improve your hearing significantly when in a conversation or watching the TV. By providing your ears with the subtle background noise your brain will be able to focus on who is talking rather than the sounds caused by your tinnitus.   

Modern hearing aids provided to people today play white noise or artificial sounds into your ear which helps decrease the signal-to-noise ratio of your tinnitus. This smart solution helps to re-train your brain allowing it to learn to turn down the volume of your tinnitus symptoms. 

To help reduce the symptoms of your tinnitus, finding the best hearing aid that suits you is necessary. There are many types of hearing aids on the market to choose from depending on the severity of your tinnitus and what suits you. It’s always best to refer to a hearing instrument specialist before making any decision. 

Types of hearing aids for tinnitus 

Before choosing a hearing aid it is important to understand that hearing aids should be used consistently during your waking hours so that you benefit from their full potential. This means you must wear the device at all times for it have any real effect in helping with your tinnitus. Hearing aids have the potential to help most people but they have been found to be most effective for younger people and those with only a short history of tinnitus symptoms. If you have hyperacusis or another form of sound sensitivity, a hearing aid may worsen your condition as it amplifies background noises to uncomfortable levels for you. 

Types of hearing aids

Luckily, there are a number of hearing aid styles available that can be used to treat your tinnitus symptoms. Hearing aids are effective at combatting the sounds of tinnitus when equipped with masking features that help the brain ignore and override the noise. Popular hearing aid styles include:

  • In the ear (ITE): ITE hearing aids fit inside of your ear and can be custom made by an HIS for the best comfort possible. You can buy them in skin tone colors that help camouflage the device while wearing. There are several ITE styles to choose from including 
  • Invisible in canal (IIC): IIC hearing aids sit inside the second bend of your ear canal. They are completely invisible to others. 
  • In the canal (ITC): ITC hearing aids sit in the outer ear bowl, are visible but can be bought in skin tone for camouflage. Due to their larger size than IIC and CIC, these aids have longer battery life. 
  • Behind the ear (BTE): These models sit on the outside of your ear, usually at the top. The cables of the device then run into a tip that sits within your ear canal providing the sounds to help mask the tinnitus. There are thousands of designs to choose from including skin tone. Depending on the size of your BTE device it may have significantly better battery life than the ITE devices above.

Always speak to a professional HIS before selecting any kind of hearing device. 

Come learn more about the Center for Better Hearing and how our hearing instruments specialist can find the perfect solution to your tinnitus. We have a huge range of hearing aids to suit any application. You can call us now at 510-768-7091 to discuss your options.