Tinnitus is a condition that around 10% of the population suffers from. It is not a disease but a symptom. The causes can vary and to treat tinnitus, one needs to isolate the cause and address it. Only then will the tinnitus symptoms go away.
The problem arises when it’s difficult to diagnose the cause. There is such a wide variety of causes that it will definitely take some time to examine the patient?s lifestyle to find out what is causing the tinnitus. It could be blood vessel disorders, benign tumors, TMJ, high-stress levels or a multitude of other things.
This is where we can look at using hearing aids. The hearing aids will provide relief while we look for an answer to end the tinnitus. The hearing aids are just a means to an end and not an end in itself. Wearing hearing aids will not cure your tinnitus. It will just make the symptoms more bearable.
Hearing aids often are the quickest form of relief. An aid will quickly drown out the annoying clicking, buzzing or ringing noises that may be present in the ear. These sounds may seem loud or soft to the patient but whatever the case, the sounds will always be lower than the sounds that actually exist in the external surroundings.
This explains why tinnitus sufferers always say that the sounds in their ears are much worse at night. The silent or quieter surroundings tend to amplify the ringing in their ears. It’s all a matter of perception and that is exactly how hearing devices will work.
These devices aim to create a low external sound that will drown out the inner sounds in their ear. The devices are known as combination devices because not only do they help patients hear better, but they also have masking capabilities. This is very helpful for tinnitus patients.
Most people suffer from subjective tinnitus which means that their tinnitus might be caused by nerve damage.
In order to purchase a hearing aid, one will need to be examined by an audiologist who will examine the frequency and intensity of the tinnitus. They’ll also decide on the minimal masking level and duration of residual inhibition.
Residual inhibition is a phenomenon that occurs when a person using a masking device experiences the masking effect for a while even after the device is turned off. This usually improves sleep and cures insomnia in tinnitus patients when used before bed.
The patient will have to measure the frequency and intensity of his tinnitus by listening to a recording of tinnitus sounds that has been collected by the American Tinnitus Association. He or she will then rate on a scale the similarity of their symptoms to the sound they heard on the recording.
Patients have to match frequency and intensity too. Once that is achieved, an audiological masker is used to gauge the minimum masking level required for the patient and also test the residual inhibition.
Finally, with all these results in hand, a hearing aid is customized for the patient and he or she may use it to reduce the tinnitus symptoms and the stress caused by the incessant ringing in their ears.