February 5, 2012

Can hearing aids help with tinnitus

The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) website is a fantastic resource.

The following extract is reproduced from an article which appeared in Quiet magazine in 2010 which is published by BTA. It also appears on their website and was written by Dr Sheena Ruparelia, BSc, MSc, CCC, AuD, Audiological Scientist at Hillingdon Hospital.

Studies have shown robust evidence promoting hearing aid fitting as an effective treatment option of tinnitus control. The provision of hearing aids decreased the severity of tinnitus in 69% of bilaterally aided patients and 67% of unilateral aided patients.

Similarly, research undertaken by Del Bo et al, (2006) showed successful results for 22 patients fitted with open-fit hearing aids in alleviating symptomatic tinnitus perception. The participants in this study had a mild-moderate hearing loss predominately in the 2-6 kHz frequency range. The pitch of tinnitus is often detected in the 3-8 kHz range. In conjunction with hearing aid fitting, all patients had tinnitus retraining therapy, which proved to be effective at habituating sound perception, allowing the patient to ignore the presence of tinnitus over a period of six months.

How can hearing aids help?

If you have a hearing loss, a hearing aid can help with managing tinnitus by offering sound therapy in the following ways:

* increase the information available to the brain by amplifying background sounds making the tinnitus seem less audible.

* improve communication with others, therefore reducing stress levels.
helping to compensate for your hearing loss.

* help you to habituate to tinnitus sounds.