Recognizing the hearing-tinnitus connection

The hearing-tinnitus connection and positive implications for patients.

Several times in a typical week patients will say during the course of an office visit, “I don’t really hear my tinnitus when I have my hearing aids on”. These patients are among the majority of tinnitus patients who have significant hearing loss. These comments often elicit a response from us such as “I wish I could record you saying this, so others who need help could hear it from you.” It is well-established that hearing loss is underdiagnosed. Only 14% of people with hearing loss wear hearing aids, according to research. This statistic has been consistent. Tinnitus (TINN-itus or tin-EYE-tus) is also under-treated, mostly due to the fact patients are unaware of treatment options. Many are told there is nothing that can be done. They must “live with it.”

A previous blog entry highlighted the value of improved hearing for good balance function. Hearings aids allow the wearer to better experience his surrounding environment. Orientation in space is improved, particularly if vision is less than perfect. Increased hearing is also its own reward, of course. Conversation becomes easier, and safety concerns lessen. Now we are also seeing the value of increased hearing on improving tinnitus symptoms. This comes from research as well as reports from patients. Two symptoms are improved with one treatment plan.

These benefits will not happen, of course, if the instruments are not programmed properly by a well-trained professional. But if selected and handled properly the benefits of hearing aids far exceed mere amplification of sound. A diagnostic evaluation is the first step. Many patients have benefitted in ways they did not expect. Allow us to help put you and keep you on a clear path to good hearing and ear health.