Tinnitus can be a debilitating problem for some. In addition to counseling as a treatment option, there is new tinnitus technology to help manage the ringing in your ears.
In addition to counseling, we recommend smart phone applications that are specifically designed for tinnitus treatment. Most of these products are relatively inexpensive and some often assist greatly with tinnitus management. For either Apple or Android systems you can go to the applications store and obtain tinnitus applications. Simply go to the Apple App store, or the Play Store and put in a search for the term “tinnitus” and the various tinnitus applications will come up. Most of these apps are designed to used with the headphones that came with your phone. Follow the directions for the app or set up a counseling session in the clinic and we can assist you through the process. There are also devices that work with tinnitus as well that are available either online or in stores. For example, there is a sound pillow that either generates a soothing noise or relaxing music that can be downloaded. Other products for tinnitus can be obtained to accommodate to the the tinnitus. ReSound has an excellent application for tinnitus that we recommend often and its free!
When there is hearing loss present, which is often the case, hearing aids have been shown to be among the most effective means of reducing the perception of tinnitus. Hearing aids do not eliminate tinnitus, however most patients report a decrease in the loudness or disturbing quality of the tinnitus perception. Clinical evidence shows that the use of hearing aids in tinnitus patients provides two benefits: it makes the patient less aware of the tinnitus and it improves communication by reducing the annoying sensation that sounds and voices are masked by the tinnitus. Hearing loss reduces stimulation from external sounds resulting in increased awareness of tinnitus and deprivation of input may change the function of structures of the auditory pathways. Tinnitus is often caused by expression of neural plasticity evoked by deprivation of auditory input. With hearing aid amplification, external sounds can provide sufficient activation of the auditory nervous system to reduce the tinnitus perception and it may elicit expression of neural plasticity that can reprogram the auditory nervous system and thereby have a long-term beneficial effect on tinnitus by restoring neural function. To obtain the best results, hearing aids should be fitted to both ears, use an open ear aid with the widest amplification band, and disabled noise reducing controls. In some cases a combination device would be preferable. Most manufacturers have now included a tinnitus program in their products as part of the newest generation of hearing devices that simply is there and available if we choose to use it. The conditions required in order to obtain good results include not only the use of devices, but above all, their adaptation to the needs of the single patient, by counseling and customization. Wearing the hearing aid must become second nature to the patient even though it is only one element of the therapy. While most manufacturers have a tinnitus application in their hearing devices, our Audiologists currently like the tinnitus applications from ReSound, and Widex. Click here to listen to the Widex Zen sound
If you or a loved one experiences tinnitus or hyperacusis, contact Audiology Associates today at 970-475-6287.