Tinnitus is often associated with hearing lossl about 70% of people with hearing loss report tinnitus. For these people, tinnitus can often be reduced or eliminated thourgh the use of appropriately fitted hearing aids.
Hearing aids are beneficial to tinnitus sufferers due to a number of reasons:
- With hearing loss, the brain does not receive normal sound stimulation from the ear, and this causes hyperactivity in the brain that can be heard as tinnitus. Hearing aids amplify sounds and restore the sound stimulation of the neural pathways in the brain; this helps to reset the brain activity back to normal so tinnitus is reduced and in some cases eliminated
- Hearing aids also help to reduce the contrast between tinnitus and silence. With hearing aids, you will be able to hear all the normal environmental sounds around you and so you will not be as aware of the tinnitus
- Hearing loss can cause stress and fatigue because of the amount of concentration required to understand what is going on. Stress is known to exacerbate tinnitus. The use of hearing aids can alleviate this stress to help reduce the perception of tinnitus
- Many of today's hearing aids incorporate sound generators such as a tinnitus masking noise (Oticon's Ocean sounds) or fractal tones (Widex's ZEN therapy) to stimulate the neural pathways. We call these combination devices. They work to reduce the hyperactivity in the brain that is associated with tinnitus. The Widex ZEN fractal tones have an added benefit in that they are specifically designed to relax the user and reduce stress levels which in turn can further reduce tinnitus perception.