The average person hears sounds of less than 25 decibels (dB). This means that if you can only hear sounds from 30 dB and above, you may require hearing aids, as they act as amplifiers for ears that cannot hear so well. There are many reasons why you might need hearing aids, a common cause being hearing loss. However, the question is if these aids would also help with the ringing in your ears.

Ringing in the ear – tinnitus

Ringing in the ear is a common symptom of tinnitus. Although not a disease in itself, tinnitus usually indicates an existing problem such as age-related hearing loss, an ear injury or a circulatory system disorder. The ringing in the ear usually comes about due to the damage of the tiny hairs found in the inner ear. These hairs send signals to your brain and control your hearing. Therefore, once they are damaged, these signals change and cause a ringing in your ear. Other symptoms of tinnitus include a hissing, buzzing, humming or clicking sound in the ear. 

Causes of tinnitus

Here are a few reasons why you may be experiencing ringing in the ears:

  • Earwax build-up: Your body produces earwax to protect the ear canal by trapping the dirt that enters the ear and slowing the growth of bacteria. However, an accumulation of earwax becomes hard, and it does not come out naturally. This build-up of earwax can cause hearing loss or irritation of the eardrum and eventually lead to tinnitus.
  • Age-related hearing loss: The older you age, the less great your hearing would be. Many people aged 60 and above experience hearing loss in either one or both ears. This is known as presbycusis and can cause tinnitus.
  • Exposure to loud noises: Heavy-duty equipment, firearms and even listening to music through earphones on a high volume for an extended period can cause a ringing in the ear. Exposure to loud noises for a short while such as a loud concert may cause tinnitus- which usually goes after a time. However, short-term or long-term exposure to loud noises could cause tinnitus. 

Hearing aids and tinnitus

The phantom noises associated with tinnitus can interfere with the daily activities of a patient’s life. When this occurs, the patient may need to find a means in which they can get relief and go about their daily activities in comfort. In a survey conducted by health officials, about 60% of tinnitus patients reported that they had received some relief from using hearing aids, with 22% receiving significant relief.

Hearing aids are small devices that are placed in or behind the ear to help improve the wearer’s hearing. With its three parts, namely: a microphone, amplifier and speaker, these devices increase outside noise and stimulate the sounds received and processed by the auditory system. If you are a patient of tinnitus, hearing aids may offer you the relief you need. There are several reasons why hearing aids are useful for tinnitus patients. Here are a few:

Offers relief through masking

The ringing, humming, buzzing and other phantom noises you may hear in your ear can make it challenging to go about your daily activities. With the help of a hearing aid, the volume of external noises is amplified so much that it creates a mask to cover the noises you may hear from tinnitus. By doing so, it helps your brain focus on the noises around you.

Stimulation of the auditory system

Many of the hearing aids available on the market include features that work alongside your tinnitus. These aids play soft white background noises to help balance the phantom sounds of tinnitus. As a result, it stimulates the brain’s auditory pathways and tones down the tinnitus, making it comfortable for you to go about your activities.

Improves communication

Patients experiencing loud tinnitus may find it challenging to keep up with conversations and other social activities. With the help of hearing aids, you can focus on the sounds from who or what you are listening to instead of the ringing in your ear. This is because the aids increase the external noise around you and drown out the tinnitus. 

Speak to your audiologist

Before going to purchase hearing aids, be sure to contact an audiologist. With their experience and knowledge in identifying, assess and treating issues concerning hearing, your audiologist can find the right types of hearing aids you need to get for the relief you are looking for.

To consult an audiologist and learn more about how hearing aids can help your tinnitus, visit Sommerville Audiology & Hearing Aid Center, or call us at 586-298-3788.