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Hearing Aids for Tinnitus

By: Paul Harrison Updated: 22nd November 2019 in: Articles
Hearing Aids for Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a persistent sound in the ear which is not the result of any external sound source. Normally experienced as a ringing in the ears, it can usually only be heard by the individual who is experiencing the symptoms. Currently, about 10% of the UK population suffers from persistent tinnitus, and around 1 in 10 of these find it has a large impact on their quality of life.

In this article we will look at how hearing aids might help your tinnitus, and suggest the best hearing aids for those with both hearing loss and tinnitus symptoms.

What’s the connection between hearing loss and tinnitus?

Approximately 90% of tinnitus cases come with an accompanying loss of hearing, although some individuals with ordinary hearing may have tinnitus as well. Since hearing loss is often a gradual method, many individuals are astonished when a hearing loss is diagnosed alongside their tinnitus complaints.

Can I get tinnitus relief by using hearing aids?

Studies indicate that hearing aids can indeed reduce the impact of tinnitus for a large percentage of individuals. In a 2007 US survey of hearing care professionals, they reported that about 60% of their patients with tinnitus had their symptoms eased through hearing aids, and roughly 22% of their patients had experienced significant relief.

We recommended the use of hearing aids for those with hearing loss and tinnitus. They can be effective either used alone or as part of a wider package of therapy.

How do hearing aids help with tinnitus symptoms?

  • Hearing aids enable wearers to hear the noises they may miss, which can disguise a lot of tinnitus sounds successfully. They make hearing actual physical sounds easier, which makes it easier to ignore irritating internal sounds permanently.
  • Although we don’t know for sure where tinnitus comes from, some scientists speculate it is actually ‘noise’ from the brain created in response to its inability to pick up enough sound signals from the hair cells in the ear. Hearing aids help facilitate improved stimulation between the brain and the auditory pathways, which may help support a reduction in this noise.
  • Many hearing aids have tinnitus management programmes, which are usually external noises brought in to help mask the troubling sounds of tinnitus. This can be in the form of white noise or simulated environmental sounds, and offer a kind of sound therapy to help sufferers ease their symptoms.

Five hearing aids for tinnitus

 1. OPN S

With less effort in loud settings needed than the previous generation of Oticon hearing aids, Oticon Opn S provides even better speech comprehension than ever before. In difficult listening circumstances, their technology helps you to take an active role in conversations, just like individuals with ordinary hearing would.

Oticon hearing aids also come with Tinnitus SoundSupport to assist in controlling your tinnitus by playing a wide range of soothing sounds. You can modify these sounds until they provide you with the relief you need— wherever you need it. Moreover, with the Oticon ON app, alternative tinnitus relief options like your favourite music, audio books, podcasts, or even relaxation guides can be streamed wirelessly.

2. Phonak Marvel

Phonak Marvel doesn’t have any particular tinnitus features, but its renowned sound quality makes it easier to hear external sounds, helping draw attention away from tinnitus symptoms.

This revolutionary Phonak hearing aid family combines outstanding speech understanding and a decrease in listening effort with the capacity to stream all audio material effortlessly from iPhone and Android smartphones or billions of other Bluetooth-enabled devices, in full stereo.

This means you have access to an infinite variety of sounds to help control your tinnitus, by streaming any audio material from a smartphone to your hearing aids. Whether you prefer white noise or the sound of a whirring fan, you can stream whatever sounds you need straight into your hearing aids.

3. Resound Linx Quattro

Resound call this the “first Premium-Plus hearing aid solution”. It offers an enhanced sound experience through its ‘Layers of Sound’ technology, which makes both low and high-pitched sounds fuller and more natural. It also includes a lithium-ion rechargeable battery and access to the ReSound Assist app. This lets your hearing professional adjust your hearing aid from afar, without you having to take the time to visit their hearing practice.

Users of the Linx Quattro also have access to the Resound Relief app, which offers a range of sound therapies, strategies for relaxation and guidance on managing your tinnitus symptoms.

4. Widex Evoke

This is the first hearing aid ever to feature sophisticated technology for real-time machine learning. Because of this new technology, hearing aids can now learn from the input and preferences of its users and even communicate this knowledge with other users around the world.

Almost all contemporary Widex hearing aids have the option of using Zen tones. This is a Widex-owned proprietary function that helps to reduce tinnitus symptoms alongside a wider programme of tinnitus therapies. These fractal tones are produced by the Widex Evoke hearing aid to help you relax and unwind, and are used in conjunction with counselling and relaxation techniques to offer relief as part of a management program for tinnitus sufferers.

5. Signia NX

Hearing aid wearers no longer need to contend with the unnatural sound of their own voice when wearing their hearing device. Signia NX features a patented ‘OVP’ technology which processes own voice signals completely separately from all other sounds, including other voices. This improves the hearing aid wearer’s acceptance of their own voice in 75% of individuals.

Signia NX and other Signia hearing aids are also some of the first to offer a technology called Notch Therapy, which has been scientifically proven to decrease tinnitus annoyance. This technique is particularly useful for individuals who have tonal tinnitus, which is considered the most widespread form.

Notch Therapy manages your tinnitus inaudibly and unobtrusively, unlike the static noise and ocean wave methods that form part of most tinnitus management packages. All you need to do is wear your hearing aids as normal and your symptoms could improve in just a matter of weeks.

Notch Therapy provides the ability to limit your perception of your tinnitus sounds until they are no longer irritating. By consigning the sounds completely into the background over a lengthy period of time, over-stimulation is lowered and your brain gets better at ignoring the sounds, which reduces annoyance. Research by Signia found that the use of Notch Therapy revealed a marked improvement of tinnitus symptoms in 65% of users.

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Paul Harrison
Hearing Aid Advisor
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